Inovio Pharmaceuticals Inc (NASDAQ: INO)
Inovio Pharmaceuticals is spiking at the market open, up 6% after news was released that INO’s DNA based vaccine has induced a robust immune responses in the first ever in-human studies to combat the Zika virus. Our friends at Trade Ideas provided us a real-time alert to the news, causing the CNA Finance team to check the facts.
INO Produces Robust Immune Responses
INO, in its release, announced that its DNA-based Zika vaccine, GLS-5700, generated robust antigen specific antibody responses in a first-in-man, multi-center phase I trial. INO demonstrated that patients not currently infected with the Zika virus demonstrated intended antigen responses in either the low- or high-dose treatment after only one or two vaccinations. Additionally, there were no severe or adverse safety effects associated to the vaccine. The trial included 40 subjects and results were monitored for 14 weeks from the initiation of dosing.
The INO phase I open-label study of GLS-5700 was introduced into healthy adult volunteers and was designed to evaluate safety, tolerability, and the induction and persistence of Zika specific antibody and T-cell responses out to 60 weeks. INO had previously demonstrated in animal studies that the vaccine had protected subjects that were exposed to the virus from infection, brain damage, and death.
INO Leads The Field In Zika Race
While the typical news cycle in the U.S. has moved on to other news, it would be a naive thought to consider the Zika virus as fading history. In fact, most experts agree that once the seasons change, bringing back to life the mosquito population, the virus will likely rear its ugly head again, this time potentially bearing a more aggressive front.
Dr. J. Joseph Kim, Inovio’s President and CEO said, “These early clinical results show that Inovio is on track to rapidly develop Zika countermeasures for this disease that has no currently existing vaccine or treatment. Our synthetic vaccine technology allows rapid development of new products, leading Inovio to be the first to create a Zika vaccine, the first to generate preclinical data, the first to initiate human testing, and now first to report positive clinical data.”
As is typical for INO, the stock price is not receiving the credit it deserves. Compared to other stocks that have produced lesser results, the share price remains depressed, and a 6% gain is pittance to what should be realized.
Zika is being projected to have an infection rate that could be 25% in Puerto Rico alone (estimate provided by the CDC). With INO’s results in hand, the FDA may be swayed to allow the vaccine to be provided expedited approval and allow patients to be treated prior to the next virus outbreak.
INO plans to complete its second phase I study, a 160 subject study, prior to year end, and INO is expecting to provide results that indicate exploratory signals of efficacy. INO, however, plans to meet with regulators early in hopes of mapping out the most efficient path to bring the vaccine to patients and to help mitigate the widespread outbreak of the virus.
INO Going Forward
The results of the Zika study, although early, further validate the DNA-based vaccine technology being developed by INO. INO has repeatedly produced stellar results for a host of diseases and illnesses, with preliminary data to treat MERS and the Ebola virus also producing the antigens intended.
Even though the stock has only moved a paltry 6% on the news (9:36), investors may expect that INO will eventually gain the traction it deserves and climb higher to a value more reflective of their clinical success.
INO is well-funded and maintains a strong balance sheet. Boosted by a $6.1 million dollar grant from the Wistar Institute to continue its development of DNA-based monoclonal antibody vaccines, INO is set to demonstrate that its DNA based approach can provide fast-acting protection against Zika.
Disclosure: This article was written by Kenny Soulstring, and it reflects my own opinions and unique articulation. This article is not intended to offer investing advice, guarantee 100% accurate predictions, or to be interpreted as providing a personal recommendation. What I can guarantee, though, is accurate research, thoughtful analysis, and an enthusiasm about any stock that I cover.
While I seek to uncover emerging companies that I feel have true value and potential, it’s important that investors assign an appropriate time horizon to each of their investments, understanding that emerging companies need time to mature.
I wrote this article myself and it includes my own research and expresses my own opinions. I am not receiving compensation for it (other than from CNA Finance). I have no business relationship with any company whose stock is mentioned in this article.
Additional Disclosure: I am long INO and may purchase additional shares within the next 72 hours.
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