VGX Innovio Cover Image // VGX Inovio DNA Vaccine dispenser on table

DNA vaccine delivery automation innovation to increase effectiveness and meet stringent regulatory requirements. ​

What We Did

RKS worked with VGX on an NIH funded innovation program to develop a DNA Vaccine delivery device that leveraged electroporation technology to increase the uptake and effectiveness of the vaccine into the body’s cell structure. The drug is delivered intramuscularly and intradermally with five needles that are hidden by a shroud so that patients aren’t frightened by the experience. The team conducted research utilizing our Psycho-Aesthetics Methodology to evaluate the technology, workflows, user scenarios around the system to simplify and automate the process. RKS prototyped, designed, and engineered the Inovio system and consumable offering to create an FDA approved device that provided patients with DNA Vaccines to support health and wellness.


Product design is more than just winning awards; it’s about creating emotional connections between the product and the user. Our human-centered approach, Psycho-Aesthetics, helps us understand and quantify these connections. Our design firm uses it to create innovative products, technologies, services, brands, and more. We aim to create solutions that are relevant and impactful, using our approach to grow our clients’ businesses. With Psycho-Aesthetics as our foundation, we work with clients to establish a common language that can be used throughout our relationship. We found that the opportunity zone for VGX Inovio was in the enriched quadrant providing higher levels of interactivity and self-actualization than the competitive set. We wanted to provide clinicians with a tool that was usable and enabled them to administer vaccines to patients in a non-threatening, inviting way.

Inovio was meticulously crafted to be as user-friendly as possible, featuring a one-button operation and an ambidextrous design. Safety was paramount, with a disposable component ensuring the well-being of both the practitioner and the patient. Our design approach focused on creating a soothing environment with ergonomic shapes and friendly colors, turning a potentially tense situation into a comfortable and effortless experience.

Operating on the principle of electroporation, utilizing applied voltages to encourage cells to open up and accept the vaccine, thus enhancing its uptake. When our client approached us with a working prototype, we were faced with a challenge. The device, with its five needles penetrating the muscle and an intimidating electric current, appeared terrifying. Our task was to make it consumer-friendly, hiding its potential scariness while prioritizing the comfort of both clinicians and patients.

Our mission was clear: how do we transform every touchpoint of this experience into something easy, comfortable, and even joyful? To achieve this, we embarked on a meticulous process, envisioning an experience that is effortless and pleasant. We aimed for simplicity and ease, yet striking the delicate balance of not making it too easy. With limited existing references, we delved into uncharted territory, discovering the exciting potential of a new technology and its ability to help people.

We strived to humanize the device, maximizing its potential for the best possible experience. This project presented both challenges and rewards, as we dedicated countless months to bring Inovio to life. The journey of evolution and refinement has led us to this proud moment, where we can showcase the culmination of our efforts. We thrive on tackling unconventional and complex tasks, constantly pushing boundaries to create transformative solutions.

RKS Project Spotlight