Shares Boom on Vaccine Trial News from Inovio Pharmaceuticals Inc (NASDAQ:INO)

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Inovio Pharmaceuticals Inc (NASDAQ:INO)

Five weeks ago shares of Inovio Pharmaceuticals Inc (NASDAQ:INO) hit a low of $5.00, but today the shares hit an inter-day high of $9.86 on massive volumes. INO closed Tuesday at $7.13, then this morning the company released news on its HIC vaccine and volumes exploded while the price went straight up. The 30-day, daily average volume for INO shares is just over 768,000 but by lunchtime over 22 million shares had traded hands and the price of INO shares was up 25%. Still, investors note that INO shares are still below their 52-week high of $11.61.

The news that sent Inovio Pharmaceuticals Inc (NASDAQ:INO) shares higher surrounds the company’s release of preliminary results from a study that was conducted in collaboration with the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID) – part of the National Institute of Health (NIH). The study’s subject matter was the efficacy of Inovio’s HIV vaccine candidate Pennvax-GP. Inovio is claiming that the vaccine recorded some of the highest levels of immune response rates ever recorded in a human trial of an HIV vaccine candidate.

The study by Inovio Pharmaceuticals Inc (NASDAQ:INO) assessed a four-dose regimen of Pennvax-GP DNA vaccine. The doses were administered intradermally or intramuscularly along with a DNA-encoded immune activator, IL-12 (INO-9012). Overall, 71 of 76 (93%) evaluable vaccinated participants showed a CD4+ or CD8+ cellular immune response to at least one of the vaccine antigens.

At the same time, 62 of 66 (94%) evaluated participants demonstrated an env specific antibody response. Importantly, none of the recipients of a placebo regimen exhibited either a cellular or an antibody response in the study. Notably, among the participants receiving the vaccine and IL-12 with intradermal immunization, 27 of 28 participants demonstrated a cellular response and 27 of 28 demonstrated an HIV env specific antibody response.

Dr. J. Joseph Kim, President & CEO of Inovio Pharmaceuticals Inc (NASDAQ:INO) said, “These results are among the highest ever responses we’ve seen with an HIV vaccine, and they are remarkably consistent with our recent data reported from our Ebola, Zika and MERS clinical trials in terms of demonstrating nearly 100% vaccine response rates with very favorable safety profile. Furthermore, our newer and more tolerable intradermal vaccine delivery device showed that we can elicit very high immune responses at a much lower dose. We look forward to advancing PENNVAX-GP into later-stage clinical development with our partners and collaborators.”

Four investment firms follow Inovio Pharmaceuticals Inc (NASDAQ:INO). Three of them rate INO shares as a “Strong Buy” while one rates them a “Hold”. The recent price action is likely welcomed by exasperated shareholders as Inovio has a history of dilution to fund the biotech’s operations and R&D. In 2012, there were 34.13 million shares outstanding but by 2016 that number ballooned to 73.22 million. Since 2012 the company has reported an EPS loss every year with 2016’s figure being (-$1.01) per share.

I have no positions in any stocks mentioned, and no plans to initiate any positions within the next 72 hours. All information, or data, is provided with no guarantees of accuracy.

About the author: Steve Clark is a 23-year Wall St professional with stints in M&A, risk management, and algorithm trading.

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Steve Clark is a 23-year Wall St professional with stints in M&A, risk management, and algorithm trading. Steve keeps his head in the game by looking for, and writing about, small companies that often get overlooked by the big investment firms.

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