Inovio, VGX ink hep B and C vaccine deal

Blue Bell, PA-based Inovio Pharmaceuticals and VGX International will collaborate on the development of Inovio's synthetic vaccines for hepatitis B and hepatitis C. Financial details of the deal were not disclosed.

Inovio's SynCon vaccine technology synthetically defines antigens and gene sequences in various viral sub-types of certain diseases, such as HIV, hepatitis and HPV, the company notes on its website. The company hopes that technology will eventually translate into vaccines that can adjust for the variations that occur in these diseases, offering better protection than traditional vaccines.

VGX gains marketing rights for Inovio's two vaccines in Asia, excluding Japan. In return the developer will bankroll Phase I and II development of Inovio's vaccines. Inovio will earn milestones based on clinical development and retains marketing rights to the drug outside of Asia. The hepatitis C will be the first vaccine to enter the clinic in late 2012.

"As a development leader of synthetic vaccines, we are pleased to collaborate with our affiliate VGX International to advance our global, multi-antigen HCV vaccine into the clinic," said CEO Joseph Kim in a statement. "This latest development is an integral part of Inovio's multi-pronged approach to develop our therapeutic hepatitis vaccine pipeline."

- here's Inovio's release on the deal