November 17, 2014
Ichor Medical Systems (Ichor) of San Diego announced today that they have received a contract through the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) and supported by the U.S. Army Research Office for up to $20.2 million of funding over five years, including a base period award of $8.6M and follow-on option years. The program will fund the development and clinical assessment of Ichor’s TriGrid™ electroporation system as a DNA-based antibody delivery platform to produce protective antibodies for passive immunoprophylaxis.
The award is part of a DARPA program called ADEPT: PROTECT (Autonomous Diagnostics to Enable Prevention and Therapeutics: Prophylactic Options to Environmental and Contagious Threats) aimed at developing new platform technologies that could be safely and rapidly deployed to the U.S. population and military personnel to provide immediate protection in the event of an infectious outbreak or biological weapons attack. While active immunization with traditional vaccines is effective at stimulating the immune system to generate protective antibodies, such responses are not immediate and may require multiple doses of the vaccine. In contrast, the TriGrid technology could be used to bypass the immune system to directly deliver DNA sequences encoding protective antibodies into an infected or exposed individual. This approach would result in rapid production of antibodies by the individual providing immediate protection against the pathogen.
Bob Bernard, Ichor CEO, commented, “We are excited for this new opportunity with the Department of Defense to apply the TriGrid technology to another area of high priority for national security. Whether to address unknown bioterrorist threats or pandemic disease, success of this approach would revamp traditional vaccine processes and position the TriGrid favorably for use in other broad spectrum biodefense and pandemic applications.”
About Ichor Medical Systems
Ichor Medical Systems’ TriGrid™ Delivery System (TriGrid) is the first integrated and fully automated device for electroporation-mediated DNA administration in humans. Ichor, a privately-held biotech company based in San Diego, CA, is collaborating with partners to provide its enabling TriGrid platform as a means for delivery of DNA drugs and vaccines in disease indications such as melanoma, malaria, hepatitis infection, human papilloma virus, human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) infection, ebola, as well as for multiple biodefense agents. For further information, visithttp://www.ichorms.com.