DNA Medicines Technology


INOVIO uses proprietary technology to design DNA plasmids — small circular DNA molecules that work like software that the body’s cells can download to produce specific proteins to target and fight disease. Our proprietary investigational CELLECTRA® delivery devices help ensure our DNA medicines enter the body’s cells for optimal effect.


INOVIO’s SynCon® technology uses a proprietary computer algorithm to help engineer precisely designed DNA plasmids that work like software your body’s cells can download to learn how to produce a target protein. Our versatile platform can design DNA medicine candidates intended to prevent or treat a variety of disease targets.


Nucleic acid-based medicines need a pathway into the cell to work effectively. INOVIO uses proprietary delivery technology to help ensure our DNA medicines get where they need to be for optimal impact – inside the cell, providing instructions to produce proteins to fight disease. After injecting the DNA medicine into either skin or muscle tissue, CELLECTRA uses electroporation (brief electrical pulses) to momentarily open small pores in the cell membrane to help the DNA plasmids enter.


We can design our plasmids to teach the body’s cells to produce a wide range of proteins, including antigens to elicit a specific immune response, monoclonal antibodies to fight a specific pathogen, or therapeutic proteins to replace defective or missing proteins in the body.  DNA medicines can generate antigen-targeted humoral and cellular immune responses, including antigen-specific cytotoxic or killer T cell responses that are important for fighting cancer and viral infections.


Over 15,000 doses of DNA medicines have been administered using our proprietary CELLECTRA devices to more than 5,000 patients in various clinical trials, and the data is compelling: a growing body of research indicates that DNA medicines offer many potential advantages and are generally well-tolerated, versatile, immunogenic and scalable.


  • Favorable safety profile tested over decades of research
  • No chemical adjuvants
  • Ability to be re-dosed and sustain immune responses
  • Highly localized protein expression 


  • Can design plasmids to produce antigen-specific cytotoxic or killer T cell responses, monoclonal antibodies or replacement proteins
  • Can target virtually any antigen, combine multiple antigens in a single vial
  • Potential use as a primary vaccine or booster 


  • When targeting HPV or cancer: can elicit antigen-specific cytotoxic T-cells to treat disease
  • When targeting infectious disease: can elicit binding & neutralizing antibodies and T cell responses to prevent  disease or monoclonal antibodies to prevent or treat disease


  • Allows for rapid plasmid design and manufacture
  • No frozen storage or shipping required


INOVIO is pioneering the next generation of DNA medicines with research in cutting-edge technologies and delivery systems, including:

  • DNA-encoded Monoclonal Antibodies (dMAbs) – Monoclonal antibodies (mAbs) are designed to enhance the immune system’s ability to regulate cell functions. Using our core DNA medicines platform, we’re pushing this technology further, encoding the DNA sequence for a specific mAb in a DNA plasmid. We deliver the plasmid directly into the body’s cells using our investigational CELLECTRA device, enabling these cells to manufacture the mAbs in vivo – unlike conventional mAb technology that requires manufacture outside of the body. This offers some potential advantages over conventional mAbs, including a less frequent need for administration and lower manufacturing costs, that may enable greater access to mAb-based technology for more people and a wider range of diseases. We believe dMAbs could be a transformative approach for the prevention and treatment of infectious diseases and cancer.
  • DNA-launched Nanoparticles (dLNPs) – This approach brings together the high immunogenicity benefits of nanoparticle technology-based vaccines with the in vivo protein production abilities of our core DNA medicines technology. Plasmids are designed to encode a specific antigen and self-assembling nanoparticle elements, and can provide instructions to the body’s cells to make antigenic nanoparticles, which in turn stimulate the immune system to elicit robust binding and neutralizing antibody and T cell responses.
  • Innovative DNA Medicine Delivery Techniques – Our device engineering team is working on novel approaches to DNA medicine delivery that build on our decades of delivery device research.