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Inovio’s Early/Mid-Stage Vaccine Pipeline Exhibits Growth


On Sep 7, we issued an updated research report on Inovio Pharmaceuticals, Inc. INO.

Inovio’s most advanced candidate, VGX-3100 vaccine, has been progressing well along with other promising pipeline candidates in its portfolio.

VGX-3100, a human papillomavirus (HPV) immunotherapy, is currently being evaluated in a phase III REVEAL study for treatment of cervical dysplasia caused by HPV. The company is also conducting a phase II study to examine the efficacy of VGX-3100 on women with HPV-related vulvar neoplasia.

In May, Inovio initiated a phase II trial to evaluate the efficacy of VGX-3100 in adult men and women with HPV-related anal dysplasia. This will be the third indication that VGX-3100 is being evaluated for. Last month, Inovio signed a partnership deal with AIDS Malignancy Consortium to fund VGX-3100’s phase II analysis for high-grade anal dysplasia on HIV-positive adult patients.

In the past six months, shares of Inovio have surged 30.2% against the industry’s decrease of 5.1%.

Apart from VGX-3100, Inovio has several candidates in its pipeline under early-to-mid-stage development.

Inovio’s INO-4700 vaccine is being co-developed by GeneOne Life Science Inc for MERS (Middle East Respiratory Syndrome). Last week, Inovio dosed the first patient in a phase I/IIa trial on INO-4700 to prevent infection from the deadly MERS virus. Depending on results from this study, the company expects to begin a phase II program on MERS vaccine in the Middle East during 2019. Inovio and GeneOne Life Science also dosed the first patient in a phase I study on its hepatitis C vaccine, GLS-6150, to boost immunity in patients.

Earlier this August, Inovio announced that it dosed the first patient in a phase I/II study, evaluating its HIV vaccine, Pennvax-GP’s. The vaccine targets all major HIV strains with potential capacity to improve the human immune system and control HIV without antiretroviral therapy.

In the same month, Inovio further stated that it dosed the first patient in a phase I/IIa study on INO-5401 and INO-9012 for the treatment of metastatic bladder cancer. The study will evaluate immunogenicity and efficacy of Inovio’s novel cancer immunotherapy, INO-5401, and T cell activator, INO-9012, in combination with PD-1 inhibitor, atezolizumab, developed by Genentech, a subsidiary of Roche RHHBY. Inovio expects to report interim clinical results from this study in 2019.

In June, Inovio began a phase I/II study to appraise the safety, immunogenicity and preliminary efficacy of INO-5401 combined with Regeneron’s REGN cemiplimabin on patients with newly diagnosed glioblastoma.

However, Inovio has no approved product in its portfolio. Hence, excessive dependence on its partners for funding the development of its pipeline candidates is a matter of concern for the company.

Zacks Rank & Other Stocks to Consider

Inovio currently carries a Zacks Rank #2 (Buy). Another top-ranked stock in the healthcare sector is Gilead Sciences, Inc. GILD, which sports a Zacks Rank #1 (Strong Buy). You can see the complete list of today’s Zacks #1 Rank stocks here.

Gilead Sciences’ earnings estimates have moved 7.5% north for 2018 and 1.9% for 2019 over the past 60 days. The stock has inched up 0.8% year to date.

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