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Electroporation delivery system wins bio-threat contract

US-based drug delivery company, Ichor Medical Systems, has been awarded a USD 2.3m contract to develop an electroporation DNA vaccine delivery system for anthrax and plague to counter bioterrorism

US-based drug delivery company, Ichor Medical Systems, has been awarded a USD 2.3m contract to develop an electroporation DNA vaccine delivery system for anthrax and plague to counter bioterrorism.

The two-year contract, which was awarded by the US Department of Defense's Defense Threat Reduction Agency (DTRA), will investigate the potential of electroporation-based drug delivery systems to increase the effectiveness of bio defence-related DNA vaccine candidates.
The administration of the vaccines would use Ichor's proprietary TriGrid electroporation delivery system, where a brief electrical pulse creates temporary openings in cell membranes through which medicines can enter the cell.

In preclinical studies, electroporation has been seen to increase the uptake of DNA-encoding vaccines and other gene-based therapies by up to as much as a 1,000 times compared with other delivery technologies.

Ichor's allows the delivery of DNA encoding vaccines and other gene-based therapies in one step to endogenously produce protein from the patient's own muscle. Other systems in use must inject the DNA first and then electrode needles are implanted manually into the tissue for activation. Ichor's TriGrid system combines the syringe needle and four electrodes in the same device.

The small hand-held device works by being held against the patient's upper arm. When a button is pushed the device deploys the needle and electrodes at a fixed depth and location and delivers the DNA drug and the electrical field to each patient in a consistent manner.

Ichor is involved in a number of pre-clinical and clinical studies exploring the potential treatment of diseases including atherosclerosis, avian flu, hepatitis B, HIV, melanoma, and multiple sclerosis.

In March 2007, Ichor was awarded a USD 900,000 contract by the US Department of Defense to assist the US Army in the development of a DNA vaccine for equine encephalitis.

9th August 2007

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