It's no secret that I am an avid and excited investor in Inovio Pharmaceuticals (INO), especially after my recent article detailing the company's pipeline, staff, and potential. Over the last few weeks, two key news releases have been fueling the engines in what could be a significant take off for this biotech. Both of these releases revolve around the potential that DNA vaccination is showing and, best of all, both are showing that big number investors like to see: 100%.
As a member of the healthcare field, one of the most exciting aspects of this company to me has been the potential of this new vaccination technology. It boasts an extremely safe and extremely effective profile, and works by taking a section of DNA that has been genetically engineered to produce an immunity to a disease, which is then injected into the cells of the bod where the host's body reads this DNA and uses it as a blueprint to create an immunity. This DNA vaccination technology has been proven and approved for veterinary use with a high success rate, and so far Phase I/II human trials have shown great results. Inovio, however, has had two amazing breakthroughs in the last two months alone.
News Release No. 1 -- May 14
On May 14, Inovio announced the following:
In a preclinical study of Inovio's SynCon® DNA vaccine against Ebola and Marburg filoviruses, labeled 'Category A' bioterrorism agents by the U.S. government, the vaccine induced strong and broad immune responses and demonstrated 100% protection against death following a challenge with multiple variants of the pathogen in two animal models.
Inovio has been partnered with the U.S. Department of Defense for for some time now, and this is a rather large breakthrough as there are currently no approved vaccines or therapy available against these pathogens. These have been known to kill upwards of 90% of those they infect and can be easily transmitted, putting them in the category of potentially having a major public health impact. With a demonstration of efficacy as stated above, government agencies will have a careful eye on Inovio.
News Release No. 2 -- June 14
Just one month after the Ebola/Marburg results, it was released this morning that "Inovio's universal H7N9 DNA vaccine generated [the] first protective antibody responses against virulent H7N9 virus in 100% of vaccinated animals." This quick creation in response to the outbreak shows that DNA vaccinations are just as capable as reactionary measures, but more importantly it adds another notch to the Syncon Universal vaccine belt.
Syncon is Inovio's universal vaccine for influenza strains, and is a key development as current vaccinations can only target single strains. So far, Syncon has shown to protect against all six unmatched H5N1 strains tested and all nine unmatched H1N1 strains tested. Soon, H7N9 will be added to this growing list.
Inovio has been on a steady rise over the last several months, moving from a low of $0.49 after a common stock offering up to $0.74 after the Marburg/Ebola news release. The stock was recently trading around $0.65, and it will undoubtedly climb on the H7N9 news.
INO appears to be a great short-term play with the next expected results coming out of its Pennvax-B HIV Vaccine in July, but I'm in this one for the long haul. The DNA vaccination technology has been proven and approved for veterinary use with a high success rate, and the latest news has shown amazing results. Combine these results with an incredibly safe profile, especially when compared to traditional vaccines, and Inovio's total of $0 debt due to third-party funding for trials, and you have a lot of potential for a stock that's trading around $0.65.