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Inovio gets NIH grant to develop HIV immunotherapy

National Institutes of Health's National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases awarded a multiyear $7 million grant to Inovio Pharmaceuticals Inc. and its academic and industry collaborators for the development of a single or combination therapy using PENNVAX-GP with the goal of attaining long-term HIV remission in the absence of antiviral drugs.

The proof-of-concept clinical program will be a two-step clinical study testing the PENNVAX-GP and an immune activator alone and later on combined with a PD-1 checkpoint inhibitor. The study aims to examine whether enhancing anti-HIV specific CD8 killer T-cell immune responses alone or in combination with other products can influence the size of the viral reservoir pool, potentially resulting in reducing or eradicating the virus.

Inovio's PENNVAX-GP immunotherapy is undergoing a phase 1 trial evaluating its potential as a preventive vaccine.