Use of existing electroporation devices is limited by poor portability. Redesigning the product to be cordless and hand-held should broaden is applicability, making it suitable for inoculating large populations against infectious diseases such as influenza, dengue fever and malaria.
The redesign was conducted using input from stakeholders, such as academics, clinicians and nurses, and product development partners and collaborators, a company spokesperson told in-PharmaTechnologist.
These partners will soon begin using the redesigned device. Inovio and its partners are conducting a number of early stage studies using electroporation and these trials will begin using the redesigned product in Phase II and beyond, according to the spokesperson.
Using the product in clinical trials will give additional feedback about its design and usability. Inovio plans to use this input to continue to improve the device to make it easier to operate.
The current device incorporates the pulse generator, previously the size of a large laptop, into a hand-held, cordless, rechargeable device. Inovio claims the device can vaccinate several hundred subjects before it needs recharging.
Furthermore, the disposable electrode arrays can be replaced “quickly and efficiently”, according to the spokesperson, to meet the requirements of the particular vaccine and tissue for delivery.
The electroporation device works by applying controlled, millisecond electrical pulses to increase the permeability of the cell membrane. Using the device Inovio claims to have increased levels of gene expression of ‘naked’ DNA vaccines by 100-fold compared to conventional injection.
Studies on animals, notably ferrets and primates, generated robust immune responses using influenza, smallpox and HIV vaccines. This protected the animals from death and illness when they were exposed to the respective pathogens.
Inovio has also used electroporation in clinical trials of its cancer vaccine and claims this generated potent antigen-specific immune responses.