DNA vaccines have tremendous potential for rapid deployment in pandemic applications, wherein a new antigen is "plugged" into a validated vector, and rapidly produced in a validated, fermentation-purification process. For this application, it is essential that the vector and fermentation process function with a variety of different antigen genes. However, many antigen genes are unpredictably "toxic" or otherwise low yielding in standard fermentation processes. We report cell bank and fermentation process unit operation innovations that reduce plasmid-mediated metabolic burden, enabling successful production of previously known toxic influenza hemagglutinin antigen genes. These processes, combined with vector backbone modifications, doubled fermentation productivity compared to existing high copy vectors, such as pVAX1 and gWiz, resulting in high plasmid yields (up to 2,220 mg/L, 5% of total dry cell weight) even with previously identified toxic or poor producing inserts.