The key to our patented core DNA delivery technology is that muscle tissues can take up DNA directly and express the encoded proteins for periods ranging from weeks to more than a year. We typically insert the gene encoding a protein of interest into a plasmid, or closed loop of DNA, which can be manufactured using uniform methods of fermentation and purification, resulting in faster development and production times than technologies that require product-specific manufacturing processes and product-dedicated facilities.
Our researchers have steadily improved the design of our plasmids and improved function by developing related formulations, adjuvants, and delivery technologies. We own broad patent rights in the United States and in key foreign markets to our core DNA delivery technologies.
Compared with conventional vaccines that use pathogens to produce an immune response, DNA vaccines offer less risk, more efficient manufacturing, as well as convenient storage and handling. More importantly, this technology allows accelerated production and nonclinical evaluation of new vaccines. Now that genetic coding of target disease pathogens is rapid and economical, our technology can provide new vaccines in weeks instead of months or years - without ever having to handle the pathogen directly - a critical factor in addressing emerging global pandemics.
We demonstrated this speed during the outbreak of H1N1 pandemic influenza in 2009, when we downloaded the gene sequence posted online by the CDC and became the first company to produce and initiate animal testing of a vaccine against H1N1 influenza. This speed was a reason that the U.S. Navy is partnering with Vical on the further development of a pandemic influenza vaccine, with the goal of establishing a DNA vaccine platform approach for future infectious disease outbreaks.
Additional advantages of our DNA delivery technology include:
- Broad Applicability, for infectious disease vaccines, novel therapies for cancer, and therapeutic protein delivery.
- Convenience, typically with simple outpatient administration and no pre- or post-treatment requirements.
- Safety, with no infectious components and an excellent record in clinical testing.
- Repeat Administration, with no undesired immune reactions against the delivery vector.
- Ease of Manufacturing, using uniform fermentation and purification procedures.
- Cost-Effectiveness, combining lower production costs and reduced need to treat side effects.