Inovio Prepares for Growth & Commercialization With Leadership Appointments

  • Prominent immunologist joins Scientific Advisory Board
  • R&D leader appointed Chief Scientific Officer
  • Industry veteran appointed Vice President, Commercial

PLYMOUTH MEETING, Pa., Nov. 15, 2018 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) — Inovio Pharmaceuticals, Inc. (NASDAQ: INO) made strategic leadership appointments in preparation for the commercialization of its lead asset and further development of its pipeline of immunotherapies and vaccines for cancer and challenging infectious diseases.

Inovio appointed to its Scientific Advisory Board leading-edge cancer and viral immunologist, Professor Rafi Ahmed, Director of the Emory Vaccine Center at Emory University School of Medicine; Dr. Laurent Humeau, Inovio’s Senior Vice President R&D, expands his role as Chief Scientific Officer; and, Inovio appointed Mark Twyman Vice President, Commercial.

Dr. J. Joseph Kim, President and CEO, said, “These appointments will support Inovio as we develop and commercialize our novel DNA-based immunotherapies.  The counsel from Dr. Ahmed a highly-respected, highly-connected opinion and research leader, will be invaluable to Inovio.  As the chief scientist at Inovio, Dr. Humeau’s scientific expertise and track record of executing our strategic plan make him well-deserving of this expanded role.  And, Mark Twyman’s industry experience and contributions to date at Inovio position him well for success in his new role.  His leadership will be vital as we ready the organization to fully leverage the commercial opportunities ahead.”

Dr. Rafi Ahmed’s work has advanced the field of immunological memory — the ability of the immune system to “remember” a particular antigen and quickly respond and mount an immune response when this antigen is again encountered.  He and his colleagues have made significant discoveries about how immune memory cells are created and how long they survive since understanding these mechanisms is crucial to the development of vaccines for HIV and other infectious agents.  Dr. Ahmed’s findings are also applied to research into therapies for the treatment of cancer and the prevention of organ rejection.  He is also an internationally recognized expert on viral persistence and the immune response to viruses.  Dr. Ahmed will provide his insights into viral persistence and “memory cells” which will bolster Inovio’s industry-leading DNA vaccine development and the company’s cancer immunotherapy pipeline.  His advice will fortify Inovio’s strong applied DNA-based science.

Dr. Humeau, Chief Scientific Officer, who joined Inovio in 2014, serves an integral role in advancing Inovio’s portfolio of immunotherapies and vaccines covering multiple therapeutic cancers and infections, supporting clinical study opportunities, and fostering collaborations with academic partners.  He provides the technical and strategic leadership for Inovio’s highly productive R&D group whose activities include: preclinical development of immunotherapy and vaccine candidates, immunology and immune monitoring approaches, method development, product characterization, and analytical development.  Under Dr. Humeau’s leadership, Inovio’s R&D group along with its collaborators published more than 100 peer-reviewed preclinical and clinical publications and dozens of new patent filings as well as receiving over $150 million in non-dilutive grants and contracts from CEPI, DARPA, NIH, and the Gates Foundation in support of Inovio’s platform and vaccine development.

Mark Twyman joined Inovio in 2017 and brings more than 20 years’ experience commercializing healthcare products including key leadership roles at Merck, as VP Marketing–Pediatric Vaccine; at MedImmune, as VP and GM Vaccines; and Genzyme as SVP and GM, Biosurgery.  Mr. Twyman will have responsibility for leading Inovio’s strategic and tactical commercial effort across the HPV, Infectious Disease and Oncology portfolios and will assume an expanded leadership role in the organization.  Mr. Twyman earned an M.B.A. from The Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania and a Bachelor of Arts degree from Dickinson College.

About Inovio Pharmaceuticals, Inc.

Inovio is a late-stage biotechnology company focused on the discovery, development, and commercialization of DNA immunotherapies that transform the treatment of cancer and infectious diseases. Inovio’s proprietary platform technology applies next-generation antigen sequencing and DNA delivery to activate potent immune responses to targeted diseases.  The technology functions exclusively in vivo, and has been demonstrated to consistently activate robust and fully functional T cell and antibody responses against targeted cancers and pathogens.  Inovio is the only immunotherapy company that has reported generating T cells whose killing capacity correlates with relevant clinical outcomes.  Inovio’s most advanced clinical program, VGX-3100, is in Phase 3 for the treatment of HPV-related cervical pre-cancer.  Also in development are Phase 2 immuno-oncology programs targeting head and neck cancer, bladder cancer, and glioblastoma, as well as platform development programs in hepatitis B, Zika, Ebola, MERS, and HIV.  Partners and collaborators include MedImmune, Regeneron, Roche/Genentech, ApolloBio Corporation, The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, The Wistar Institute, University of Pennsylvania, Parker Institute for Cancer Immunotherapy, CEPI, DARPA, GeneOne Life Science, Plumbline Life Sciences, Drexel University, NIH, HIV Vaccines Trial Network, National Cancer Institute, U.S. Military HIV Research Program, and Laval University.  For more information, visit

This press release contains certain forward-looking statements relating to our business, including our plans to develop electroporation-based drug and gene delivery technologies and DNA vaccines, our expectations regarding our research and development programs, including the planned initiation and conduct of clinical trials and the availability and timing of data from those trials.  Actual events or results may differ from the expectations set forth herein as a result of a number of factors, including uncertainties inherent in pre-clinical studies, clinical trials and product development programs, the availability of funding to support continuing research and studies in an effort to prove safety and efficacy of electroporation technology as a delivery mechanism or develop viable DNA vaccines, our ability to support our pipeline of SynCon® active immunotherapy and vaccine products, the ability of our collaborators to attain development and commercial milestones for products we license and product sales that will enable us to receive future payments and royalties, the adequacy of our capital resources, the availability or potential availability of alternative therapies or treatments for the conditions targeted by us or our collaborators, including alternatives that may be more efficacious or cost effective than any therapy or treatment that we and our collaborators hope to develop, issues involving product liability, issues involving patents and whether they or licenses to them will provide us with meaningful protection from others using the covered technologies, whether such proprietary rights are enforceable or defensible or infringe or allegedly infringe on rights of others or can withstand claims of invalidity and whether we can finance or devote other significant resources that may be necessary to prosecute, protect or defend them, the level of corporate expenditures, assessments of our technology by potential corporate or other partners or collaborators, capital market conditions, the impact of government healthcare proposals and other factors set forth in our Annual Report on Form 10-K for the year ended December 31, 2017, our Quarterly Report on Form 10-Q for the quarter ended September 30, 2018 and other regulatory filings we make from time to time.  There can be no assurance that any product candidate in our pipeline will be successfully developed, manufactured or commercialized, that final results of clinical trials will be supportive of regulatory approvals required to market licensed products, or that any of the forward-looking information provided herein will be proven accurate.  Forward-looking statements speak only as of the date of this release, and we undertake no obligation to update or revise these statements, except as may be required by law.

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