Ichor Medical Systems has signed a collaboration and research license agreement with AstraZeneca for the development and clinical assessment of plasmid DNA constructs.


Image: Ichor collaborates with AstraZeneca for TriGrid Delivery System. Photo: Courtesy of quimono/Pixabay.

Under the agreement, the AstraZeneca will develop the plasmids that encode monoclonal antibodies and are delivered using Ichor’s TriGrid Delivery System, for which Ichor would receive annual payments in advance along with development milestones.

Ichor said that the process of development and optimization of in vivo expression of DNA-encoded antibodies delivered by the TriGrid is a significant product strategy in the recombinant monoclonal antibody market.

The TriGrid platform is designed to deliver the DNA-encoding monoclonal antibodies directly into a person, which enables the person’s own cells to manufacture the antibodies.

Ichor CEO Bob Bernard said: “We are very excited to be working alongside AstraZeneca in this burgeoning field. Our goal is ultimately to increase access to antibody therapies for a wide range of disease indications affecting diverse global populations, thereby expanding new patient markets.”

Ichor’s patented TriGrid system that works on electroporation, an effective delivery method that involves application of brief electrical pulses on a target tissue to insert plasmid DNA into the cells to achieve high expression of genes encoded on the plasmid.

The company claims that its TriGrid system has been used in numerous clinical studies of prophylactic and therapeutic DNA vaccines and showed improved vaccine potency compared to conventional injection, induction of antibody and T cell responses.

In August 2018, Ichor has announced that its investigational TriGrid delivery system has been selected for a clinical study to evaluate Genexine’s GX-188E vaccine in combination with checkpoint inhibitor to treat cervical cancer.

The company said that its TriGrid delivery system is used in a phase 1b/2 clinical trial to administer GX-188E, an investigational therapeutic HPV DNA vaccine. The clinical trial is done in patients with human papilloma virus (HPV)-induced advanced non-resectable cervical cancer, in combination with an anti-PD-1 therapy.

The company claims that its delivery system forms the first integrated and fully automated device for electroporation-mediated nucleic acid administration in humans.