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Navy Partners with Ichor Medical Systems to Develop a Vaccine for Anthrax and Plague

Navy Partners with Ichor Medical Systems to Develop a Vaccine for Anthrax and Plague


SAN DIEGO--(BUSINESS WIRE)--Ichor Medical Systems, whose advanced electroporation system is being used worldwide to increase the effectiveness of DNA drug and vaccine delivery, has been awarded a two-year contract valued at over $2.3 million by the Defense Threat Reduction Agency (DTRA). Ichor will assist the Biological Defense Research Directorate (BDRD) of the Naval Medical Research Center (NMRC) in Rockville, Maryland in the development of a DNA vaccine for anthrax and plague.

The new contract builds on Ichor’s ongoing collaboration with the Department of Defense (DoD), exploring the potential of electroporation-based delivery to increase the effectiveness of a number of biodefense-related DNA vaccine candidates. In March, the company announced that it had been awarded a $900,000 contract by DoD to assist the U.S. Army in the development of a DNA vaccine for equine encephalitis.

Ichor will collaborate with Dr. Stanley Goldman, Department Head of the Vaccine Group at BDRD, in the assessment of a collection of DNA vaccine candidates for anthrax and plague developed by the Navy and administered using Ichor’s proprietary TriGrid™ Delivery System.

“Ichor’s TriGrid represents a promising platform technology for the rapid deployment of vaccines against anthrax, plague, and other biothreat agents,” said Dr. Alain Luxembourg, Director of Infectious Disease Programs at Ichor. “We are excited by the possibility to assess Ichor’s technology for the delivery of advanced DNA vaccine designs conceived by the Navy.”

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention classifies Bacillus anthracis, the originating agent of anthrax, and Yersinia pestis, the originating agent of plague, as category A pathogens and potential biothreat weapons. According to Ichor CEO Bob Bernard, the ability to achieve protection against multiple category A pathogens in a single vaccine platform may have important implications for protecting military as well as civilian populations against bioterror threats.

“DNA vaccines represent an appealing immunization modality for such applications because they are relatively straightforward to design and manufacture and compatible with long-term storage,” said Bernard. “Because of its superior ability to enhance the potency of DNA vaccines, Ichor’s TriGrid is uniquely positioned to enable consistent, robust responses to such vaccines in humans.”

This collaboration with the Navy expands Ichor’s long-standing, productive interaction with government agencies. Ichor has received substantial support from the National Institute for Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID) in addition to the DoD, to help advance the development of TriGrid-based DNA vaccination for biodefense.

The official title of the Ichor project is “Electroporation for the Delivery of a Genetic Vaccine for Anthrax and Plague.” The contract was finalized on July 12, 2007.

About Ichor Medical Systems:

Ichor Medical Systems, a privately-held biotech company based in San Diego, CA, has developed the first and only integrated and fully automated system for electroporation-mediated DNA administration. The TriGrid™ Delivery System enables safe, effective, and reproducible clinical application of electroporation in a manner capable of supporting development and commercialization of DNA-based products. Ichor is developing a number of these DNA-based products as well as collaborating with partners on three continents in a wide range of pre-clinical and clinical studies exploring the potential treatment of diseases such as Cancer, Viral Hepatitis, Multiple Sclerosis, Diabetes, and Cardiovascular disease. The technology is also being used to develop vaccines for the prevention/treatment of HIV/AIDS, influenza, hospital acquired infections, and a number of infectious agents that are considered to be high priorities for biodefense.

Ichor’s current research partners include Aaron Diamond AIDS Research Center, Bayhill Therapeutics, Genexine, the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health, the Pasteur Institute, Pharmexa-Epimmune, Rockefeller University, The Scripps Research Institute, the U.S. Army Medical Research Institute of Infectious Diseases (USAMRIID), and the Vaccine and Infectious Disease Organization (VIDO). For further information, visit www.ichorms.com.

The information contained in this press release does not necessarily reflect the position or the policy of the Government and no official endorsement should be inferred.