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Inovio Pharma slips on hepatitis C study data

NEW YORK (AP) -- Shares of Inovio Pharmaceuticals Inc. skidded Tuesday after the company reported negative data from a clinical trial of an experimental hepatitis C vaccine.

The vaccine was developed by ChronTech AB of Sweden, and the companies are using a device made by Inovio to help get the vaccine into cells at a greater rate and bring about a greater immune system response in patients. The companies said Tuesday that patients treated with the ChronVac-C vaccine did about the same as patients treated with two standard hepatitis C drugs, interferon and ribavirin.

The results are based on 12 weeks of treatment for 29 patients. ChronTech said the patients' immune responses are still being analyzed. The patients in the study were given fewer doses of the vaccine than in previous trials.

Inovio shares lost 6 cents, or 10.6 percent, to 51 cents in morning trading. The stock has traded between 38 cents and 83 cents over the last year.

Inovio is a development-stage company studying DNA-based therapies for cancer and infectious diseases. The Blue Bell, Pa., company says its vaccines are delivered through devices that use electroporation technology, meaning they use quick electrical pulses to create temporary openings in cell membranes. That allows the vaccines to get into the cell and produce proteins associated with the disease that is being treated. Inovio said that creates a stronger immune response.