Today, Inovio Pharmaceuticals, Inc. (NYSE:INO) announced a new partnership with the world’s largest biotech company, Roche Holding Ltd. (ADR) (OTCMKTS:RHHBY). They’ve agreed to enter an exclusive worldwide license agreement that supports continuous research, development and commercialization of Inovio Pharmaceuticals, Inc. (NYSE:INO)’s SynCon® vaccines.
Roche Holding Ltd. (ADR) (OTCMKTS:RHHBY) will make an advanced payment of $10 million, and give preclinical research and development support. Also, it will provide payments for near-term regulatory discoveries, and upon the achievement of certain development and commercial milestones.
Inovio’s DNA-based vaccicines
Inovio Pharmaceuticals, Inc. (NYSE:INO) is a biomedical company that focuses on the development of next-generation vaccines to prevent or treat cancers and chronic infectious diseases. Their DNA-based vaccines place a fragment of DNA in the body, which is expected to produce one or more targeted antigens, instead of creating an immunogen that, once placed in the body, should to induce a determined immune response. Once in the body’s cells, this “piece of DNA” gives instructions for them to produce the desired antigen. Thus, this type of vaccine induces strong, multi-faceted immune responses -similar to the response a body would have to actual pathogens- to provide future protection or eliminate infected cells.
These types of vaccines are administered by electroporation technology, meant to defeat cells´ natural resistance to the entry of foreign material. By creating temporary pores in the cell membrane with the use of controlled electrical pulses, electroporation allows the cellular uptake of the synthetic DNA vaccine previously injected into the body. This partnership now provides Roche Holding Ltd. (ADR) (OTCMKTS:RHHBY) with access to electroporation too.
In addition to the use of this technology, Roche Holding Ltd. (ADR)(OTCMKTS:RHHBY) has purchased an exclusive license for Inovio Pharmaceuticals, Inc. (NYSE: INO)’s vaccines that target prostate cancer -the third and most common deadly type of cancer- and hepatitis B -an extremely infectious liver disease. Also, the Swiss company has acquired an option to license additional vaccine opportunities, in connection to the collaboration to further develop a research program in oncology.
Through this agreement Inovio Pharmaceuticals, Inc. (NYSE:INO) is entitled to receive up to two digits tiered royalties upon its product sales.
After a 15% stock price upsurge this Tuesday, it is likely that not much more will be heard about this partnership for a while. Despite electroporation has been proven viable, its place in the medicine of the future still relies on pending government regulatory approvals and licenses. Hence, although Roche Holding Ltd. (ADR)(OTCMKTS:RHHBY)’s bet generates confidence in the firm, it will take some time before we can know for sure if Inovio Pharmaceuticals, Inc. (NYSE:INO)’s products can be fully developed and manufactured.
Disclosure: Pamela Gaviño holds no position in any stocks mentioned