INOVIO (NASDAQ:INO) today announced it has appointed two experienced senior executives to lead its growth in the Asia market and to advance the clinical development of its DNA vaccine INO-4800 to combat the COVID-19 pandemic.
-- Gene Kim joins the company as President of INOVIO Asia, LLC, a wholly-owned subsidiary of INOVIO based in Seoul, Korea. Mr. Kim served as chief financial officer of several publicly traded Korean companies listed on the KOSDAQ exchange and successfully led a company through the initial public offering (IPO) process to the Korean exchange. Mr. Kim will report to Dr. J. Joseph Kim, INOVIO's CEO.
-- Mammen (Anza) Mammen, M.D., FACP, FIDSA joins INOVIO as Senior Vice President, Clinical Development. The former U.S. military vaccine and pandemic expert will oversee the clinical development of INO-4800, INOVIO's DNA vaccine targeting the coronavirus that causes COVID-19. Dr. Mammen will report to Dr. Laurent Humeau, INOVIO's CSO.
Dr. J. Joseph Kim, INOVIO's President and CEO, said, "These two leaders bring the precise expertise that will further advance INOVIO as a leader in developing and commercializing DNA medicines and vaccines. Gene Kim has financial and M&A experience in Asia that will enhance our growth across the Asian market and, specifically, will lead INOVIO's corporate development functions in South Korea and other Asian countries. Dr. Mammen's product development experience and military infectious disease background will be invaluable as we move INO-4800 into late-stage efficacy trials and licensure. He also brings a strong biotechnology company track record to support INOVIO's commercial portfolio of vaccines."
Mr. Gene Kim, who holds an MBA from The Wharton School at The University of Pennsylvania, was formerly Chief Financial Officer of VGX Pharmaceuticals and helped to lead its merger with Inovio Biomedical in 2009 to form INOVIO Pharmaceuticals. He most recently served as chief financial officer of the Korean high-tech companies AfreecaTV, Co., Ltd, and WeMade Entertainment Co., Ltd., both listed on KOSDAQ. He also held positions of increasing responsibility at Yodlee and Deutsche Bank.
Dr. Mammen served as the Chief of the Pandemic Warning Team for the U.S. Department of Defense (DoD) at Fort Detrick, MD, where his interagency team monitored for early indicators of global pandemics. He managed vaccine programs for the U.S. Army Medical Research and Materiel Command at Fort Detrick, MD, served as Chief, Department of Virology at the Armed Forces Research Institute of Medical Sciences (AFRIMS) in Bangkok, Thailand, and served as an infectious disease officer at the Walter Reed Army Institute of Research (WRAIR) in Silver Spring, MD. Dr. Mammen retired from the U.S. Army with a rank of Colonel and was awarded the Legion of Merit medal for exceptional service. Most recently, Dr. Mammen led clinical development at Vical Inc., a San Diego-based DNA vaccine developer. Dr. Mammen earned his bachelor's degree from Williams College and his medical degree from the Pennsylvania State University College of Medicine; he completed his clinical training at Walter Reed Army Medical Center. He is board-certified in infectious diseases and is a fellow of the Infectious Disease Society of America (IDSA) and of the American College of Physicians (ACP).
INO-4800 is INOVIO's DNA vaccine candidate being developed to protect against the novel coronavirus SARS-CoV-2, which causes COVID-19. INO-4800 was designed rapidly using INOVIO's proprietary DNA medicine platform after the publication of the genetic sequence of the coronavirus that causes COVID-19. INOVIO has extensive experience working with coronaviruses and is the only company with a Phase 2 vaccine for a related coronavirus that causes Middle East Respiratory Syndrome (MERS).
INO-4800 is the only nucleic-acid based vaccine that is stable at room temperature for more than a year and does not require to be frozen in transport or storage, which are important factors when implementing mass immunizations.
About INOVIO's DNA Medicines Platform
INOVIO has 15 DNA medicine clinical programs currently in development focused on HPV-associated diseases, cancer, and infectious diseases, including coronaviruses associated with MERS and COVID-19 diseases being developed under grants from the Coalition for Epidemic Preparedness Innovations (CEPI) and the DoD. DNA medicines are composed of optimized DNA plasmids, which are small circles of double-stranded DNA that are synthesized or reorganized by a computer sequencing technology and designed to produce a specific immune response in the body.
INOVIO's DNA medicines deliver optimized plasmids directly into cells intradermally or intramuscularly using INOVIO's proprietary hand-held smart device called CELLECTRA(R). The CELLECTRA device uses a brief electrical pulse to reversibly open small pores in the cell to allow the plasmids to enter, overcoming a key limitation of other DNA and other nucleic acid approaches, such as mRNA. Once inside the cell, the DNA plasmids enable the cell to produce the targeted antigen. The antigen is processed naturally in the cell and triggers the desired T cell and antibody-mediated immune responses. Administration with the CELLECTRA device is designed to ensure that the DNA medicine is efficiently delivered directly into the body's cells, where it can go to work to drive an immune response. INOVIO's DNA medicines do not interfere with or change in any way an individual's own DNA. The advantages of INOVIO's DNA medicine platform are how fast DNA medicines can be designed and manufactured, the stability of the products which do not require freezing in storage and transport, and the robust immune response, safety profile, and tolerability that have been demonstrated in clinical trials.
With more than 2,000 patients receiving INOVIO investigational DNA medicines in more than 7,000 applications across a range of clinical trials, INOVIO has a strong track record of rapidly generating DNA medicine candidates with potential to meet urgent global health needs.
INOVIO is a biotechnology company focused on rapidly bringing to market precisely designed DNA medicines to treat and protect people from infectious diseases, cancer, and diseases associated with HPV. INOVIO is the first and only company to have clinically demonstrated that a DNA medicine can be delivered directly into cells in the body via a proprietary smart device to produce a robust and tolerable immune response. Specifically, INOVIO's lead candidate VGX-3100, currently in Phase 3 trials for precancerous cervical dysplasia, destroyed and cleared high-risk HPV 16 and 18 in a Phase 2b clinical trial. High-risk HPV is responsible for 70% of cervical cancer, 91% of anal cancer, and 69% of vulvar cancer. Also in development are programs targeting HPV-related cancers and a rare HPV-related disease, recurrent respiratory papillomatosis (RRP); non-HPV-related cancers glioblastoma multiforme (GBM) and prostate cancer; as well as externally funded infectious disease DNA vaccine development programs in Zika, Lassa fever, Ebola, HIV, and coronaviruses associated with MERS and COVID-19 diseases. Partners and collaborators include Advaccine, ApolloBio Corporation, AstraZeneca, The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, Coalition for Epidemic Preparedness Innovations (CEPI), Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA)/Department of Defense (DOD), GeneOne Life Science/VGXI, HIV Vaccines Trial Network, International Vaccine Institute (IVI), Medical CBRN Defense Consortium (MCDC), National Cancer Institute, National Institutes of Health, National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, Ology Bioservices, the Parker Institute for Cancer Immunotherapy, Plumbline Life Sciences, Regeneron, Richter-Helm BioLogics, Roche/Genentech, University of Pennsylvania, Walter Reed Army Institute of Research, and The Wistar Institute. INOVIO also is a proud recipient of 2020 Women on Boards "W" designation recognizing companies with more than 20% women on their board of directors. For more information, visit www.inovio.com.
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This press release contains certain forward-looking statements relating to our business, including our plans to develop DNA medicines, our expectations regarding our research and development programs, including the availability and timing of data from the company's ongoing Phase 1 clinical trial of INO-4800 and the company's plans and ability to outsource manufacturing of its delivery devices to contract manufacturers. Actual events or results may differ from the expectations set forth herein as a result of a number of factors, including uncertainties inherent in pre-clinical studies, clinical trials, product development programs and commercialization activities and outcomes, the availability of funding to support continuing research and studies in an effort to prove safety and efficacy of electroporation technology as a delivery mechanism or develop viable DNA medicines, our ability to support our pipeline of DNA medicine products, the ability of our collaborators to attain development and commercial milestones for products we license and product sales that will enable us to receive future payments and royalties, our ability to secure adequate third-party manufacturing resources for the production of our product candidates, including the transfer of necessary processes, the adequacy of our capital resources, the availability or potential availability of alternative therapies or treatments for the conditions targeted by us or our collaborators, including alternatives that may be more efficacious or cost effective than any therapy or treatment that we and our collaborators hope to develop, issues involving product liability, issues involving patents and whether they or licenses to them will provide us with meaningful protection from others using the covered technologies, whether such proprietary rights are enforceable or defensible or infringe or allegedly infringe on rights of others or can withstand claims of invalidity and whether we can finance or devote other significant resources that may be necessary to prosecute, protect or defend them, the level of corporate expenditures, assessments of our technology by potential corporate or other partners or collaborators, capital market conditions, the impact of government healthcare proposals and other factors set forth in our Annual Report on Form 10-K for the year ended December 31, 2019, our Quarterly Report on Form 10-Q for the quarter ended March 31, 2020 and other filings we make from time to time with the Securities and Exchange Commission. There can be no assurance that any product candidate in our pipeline will be successfully developed, manufactured or commercialized, that final results of clinical trials will be supportive of regulatory approvals required to market products, or that any of the forward-looking information provided herein will be proven accurate. Forward-looking statements speak only as of the date of this release, and we undertake no obligation to update or revise these statements, except as may be required by law.
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SOURCE INOVIO Pharmaceuticals, Inc.