Inovio Pharmaceuticals (NASDAQ:INO)
On Thursday January 28, 2016 shares of Inovio closed the day up approximately 8% after the company announced it would start to recruit for a MERS vaccine trial. MERS stands for Middle Eastern Respiratory Syndrome. This trial is being collaborated between Inovio and Gene One Life Sciences. MERS is a respiratory illness that is highly contagious and hosts a multitude of symptoms. Such symptoms MERS has are:
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- Shortness of Breath
- Other symptoms
What makes this trial special is that it will be the first MERS vaccine trial to ever be tested in humans. Whether it is successful or not remains to be seen, but it is a great step forward for Inovio who is revolutionizing the way vaccines work against diseases. A treatment is highly needed, because there are currently no FDA approved products used to treat MERS. Inovio uses synthetic DNA Vaccines, produced by a computer of genetic codes, along with an electoporation device.
The electroporation device gives a pulse along with the vaccine injection to help treat diseases. The electric pulse is responsible for opening the pores of T-cells, and allowing the vaccine — genetic code — to enter the T-cells. This gives the T-cells the information they need to go out and target the genetic sequences of the diseases in question.
Shares of Inovio have been on a huge upswing recently, and it has been due too a new virus known as the Zika Virus. The company explained that it would begin a phase 1 trial sometime in the 4th quarter of 2016. It will be awhile before the trial begins, but that hasn’t stopped the excitement of Inovio for investors. Matter of fact, the share price of Inovio climbed more than 32% last week. The Zika Virus has been spreading rapidly, and many investors believe that Inovio may have the ability to use its unique technology platform to eradicate it.
Incyte Corporation (NASDAQ:INCY)
On Wednesday January 27, 2016 Incyte announced that it had suspended a phase 2 trial for patients with colorectal cancer. The reason for the company suspending the trial was because of an interim analysis that was not favorable. The interim analysis concluded that even if the trial went to completion there would be no efficacy observed. This terminated phase 2 trial was known as the INCB 18424-267 study.
The subsection of the study was stopped as the drug in the trial failed to improve upon the symptoms of these patients. The drug used in the trial was Ruxolitinib, which is marketed under the name Jakafi for two other indications. The Ruxolitinib drug was combined together with regorafenib — a placebo compound. The sub study failed to produce statistically significant results in colorectal patients in the high-CRP group.
Jakafi is already an FDA approved product for Polycythemia and Myelofibrosis. Incyte has retained all rights to sell Jakafi in the United states, but Novartis (NYSE:NVS) has rights to sell Jakafi to the rest of the other territories outside the United States. Investors were quite disappointed with this news as the stock fell in after-hours trading by 13% that very day. The terrible market condition that left many biotechnology stocks sinking this past month didn’t help either.
Incyte had tanked approximately 30% in the month of January losing investors a great deal of value. The failure of this phase 2 trial didn’t help the situation, and many investors could continue to exit. For now, we must await to see where the stock will head next but the company must find a way to regain shareholder value.
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