Dhillon's Genetronics acquires Inovio

By siliconindia staff writer   |   Friday, 28 January 2005, 08:00 Hrs
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SAN DIEGO/OSLO: Genetronics Biomedical Corp, a late stage developer of oncology and other therapies using electroporation to deliver drugs and nucleic acids, announced today the acquisition of Oslo-based Inovio AS, a leader in patented gene delivery technology for the most efficient, nonviral method for gene transfer to skeletal muscles.

Inovio’s use of electroporation for gene therapy and DNA vaccines is a complement to Genetronics’ existing electroporation therapy program. The acquisition expands Genetronics’ intellectual property in electroporation, expands the number of agreements with major pharmaceutical companies, and provides for the near-term initiation of a Phase I/II DNA vaccine clinical trial.

The deal includes cash in Inovio’s treasury of approximately $775,000 and approximately $2.0M in current and anticipated appropriations for biodefense research from the US Army and other committed grants. The share purchase agreement consists of $3M in cash, $7M in Genetronics stock, and potential additional share payments given the achievement of certain revenue milestones. In addition, Iacob Mathiesen, Ph.D., Inovio’s CEO, will serve as Executive Director, Gene Delivery of Genetronics.

“This is a perfect strategic fit as we increase our licensing activities in the area of DNA therapies involving intramuscular electroporation for application to vaccines and immunotherapy,” said Avtar Dhillon, M.D., Genetronics’ President and CEO. “Together with Dr. Mathiesen and his team, we will promote and advance gene-based collaborations with existing and new partners. We anticipate that license revenue from our DNA delivery technology will be increasingly important in creating additional value for our shareholders.”

“I am delighted to bring our technology and products to Genetronics, the market leader in electroporation-based therapies,” noted Iacob Mathiesen, Ph.D., Inovio’s CEO. “Genetronics is in an enviable position to enable the advancement of DNA vaccinations and gene therapy, and I am certain that the company will play a prominent role in this promising and rapidly growing area.”

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