Coronavirus Vaccine Test Sends INO Stock Crumbling

Inovio Pharmaceuticals (INO) said Tuesday its coronavirus vaccine stoked an immune response in 94% of participants. But INO stock crumbled on vague antibody data.




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The biotech company tested its experimental coronavirus vaccine in 36 healthy participants. At week six, following two doses, 34 patients showed an immune response.

Researchers measured that immune response by the number of binding and neutralizing antibodies and the number of T cells — a type of immune cell — that responded. But in vaccines, antibodies are key. Inovio didn’t provide specific data regarding antibody response.

RBC Capital Markets analyst Gregory Renza remained cautious on the experimental coronavirus vaccine. He has a sector perform rating on INO stock.

“Net-net, we are cautiously optimistic about the interim top-line (results) which showed a high rate of immune responses from the study (though details on levels of responses are lacking) and encouraged by preclinical challenge developments,” he said in a report to clients.

INO Stock Dives On Coronavirus Vaccine Test

In morning trading on the stock market today, INO stock sank 7% near 29.50. Shares of INO stock have a best-possible Relative Strength Rating of 99. This puts INO stock in the top 1% of all stocks in terms of key growth metrics.

Initially, the Phase 1 study enrolled 40 healthy adult volunteers ages 18-50 years old. Researchers excluded one person in the low-dose test and two in the high-dose group from the analysis after they tested positive for prior exposure to Covid-19 at the beginning of the study.

A patient in the high-dose group dropped out for “reasons unrelated to safety or tolerability,” Inovio said in a news release. An independent data safety monitoring board deemed the potential coronavirus vaccine to be generally safe and tolerable.

Further, Inovio said the coronavirus vaccine passed muster in a challenge study using mice. This study vaccinated the mice and then exposed them to SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes Covid-19. The vaccine repelled viral replication in the mice.

Now, Inovio is planning a Phase 2 and Phase 3 study of its coronavirus vaccine this summer.

Follow Allison Gatlin on Twitter at @IBD_AGatlin.

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