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San Diego Companies Pioneer ‘DNA Vaccines’

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Aired 9/23/09

Two San Diego companies are getting a lot of attention from the world of medicine and from investors. They're doing it with a new kind of vaccine.

— Two San Diego companies are getting a lot of attention from the world of medicine and from investors. They're doing it with a new kind of vaccine.

The conventional vaccine for swine flu should arrive next month and doctors expect it to be a good match for the H1N1 virus. Even so, two San Diego companies making alternative flu vaccines have seen their stock prices increase dramatically. The companies, Vical and Inovio, have shown good results in animal testing .

DNA vaccines use genetic sequencing to create a harmless, mock virus that gets an immune response. Joseph Kim, CEO of Inovio, said the conventional swine flu vaccines might work fine. But not if the virus mutates.

"That's where we come in," he said. "Our vaccine is specifically designed to work against a changing strain of virus."

Neither company has FDA approval. But they say making DNA vaccines is faster, safer and the way of the future.

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