Dr. Joseph Kim leads the battle against the flu

The Inovio Biomedical products CEO — who has led pioneering efforts to develop groundbreaking vaccines to battle the flu, HIV and cancer — will present today at the OneMedForum investor conference in The City. Before joining Inovio Biomedical, Kim led efforts in manufacturing and process development of several FDA-approved products and developmental therapeutics at Merck & Co.

What’s the coolest near-term innovation you’re working on? The coolest innovation is our universal flu vaccine, [which protects against both] seasonal and potential unknown pandemic flare-ups. If we’re successful, you don’t have to take it every year.

What’s the difference between the flu vaccine you’re developing and those currently on the market? The conventional technologies we use today are older than both of us, probably. They were developed in the ’40s, ’50s and ’60s. So what we’re doing is using … DNA vaccine technology. Instead of growing viruses and using them as vaccines, we actually deliver engineered genetic blueprints of vaccines.

Could it battle the H1N1 virus? We’ve been generating very potent pandemic H1N1 responses … using a vaccine we developed in 2006.

What else can the technology be used for? [We are studying] this technology in cervical cancer patients. We’re seeing very powerful immune responses. We have been able to see very strong immune responses against prostate cancer [and HIV].

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