Ichor Medical Systems, Inc. announced today that its clinical stage TriGrid® Delivery System (TriGrid) is being utilized for delivery of a DNA vaccine targeting the spike protein of SARS-CoV-2, the virus which causes coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19), into non-human primates as part of a prime-boost vaccination strategy being developed by the Naval Medical Research Center (NMRC). This collaboration builds on Ichor’s long-standing relationship with the Department of Defense (DoD) exploring the potential of electroporation-based delivery to increase the potency of a number of biodefense- and pandemic-related DNA vaccines.
DNA vaccines are a promising vaccine platform that are able to promote the generation of antigen-specific antibodies and T cells. However, the efficacy of DNA vaccines delivered by conventional injection has been hindered by poor delivery efficiency, resulting in suboptimal immune responses in clinical trials. Electroporation is a potent delivery method that uses brief electrical pulses to transiently alter cell membranes, facilitating entry of DNA vaccines into cells leading to robust immune responses.
Ichor’s proprietary TriGrid is an integrated and fully automated system for electroporation-mediated in vivo DNA administration, enabling total control of the site of injection, placement of electrodes, rate of agent administration, and timing of electroporation delivery. TriGrid has been tested in more than 30 human studies on four continents. Clinical trials results have indicated that TriGrid delivery of DNA vaccines drives immune responses in recipients, and randomized comparative studies have further demonstrated that the TriGrid device significantly enhances immune responses to DNA vaccines compared to conventional injection.
“DNA vaccines represent a robust platform for rapid and cost-effective COVID-19 vaccine development because they are relatively straightforward to design and manufacture and compatible with long-term storage,” said Bob Bernard, President and CEO of Ichor. “Because of its superior ability to enhance the potency of DNA vaccines, Ichor’s TriGrid is uniquely positioned to enable multiple partners developing DNA vaccines not only for COVID-19 but for a broad spectrum of infectious disease and cancer targets relevant to public health.”
The effort is in support of Research and Development of Protective Vaccines and Other Countermeasures Against Infectious Disease Agents of Military Importance Award, sponsored by the Department of the Navy, Naval Medical Logistics Command under NMLC Award #N626451920002. The Award was issued as a Cooperative Agreement between The Henry M. Jackson Foundation for the Advancement of Military Medicine, Inc. (HJF) and the Infectious Diseases Directorate, Naval Medical Research Center (IDD-NMRC). HJF is collaborating with IDD-NMRC to develop and implement scientific research efforts in an effort to develop protective vaccines and other countermeasures targeting the causative agents of malaria, travelers’ diarrhea, rickettsia pathogens, multi-drug resistant bacteria, and emerging viral diseases. HJF engaged Ichor Medical Systems, Inc. to assist in meeting the research and development needs.