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Inovio's Manufacturing, Scalability Concerns Of Coronavirus Vaccine Keeps This Analyst On The Sidelines

June 30, 2020 8:37 pm
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Inovio's Manufacturing, Scalability Concerns Of Coronavirus Vaccine Keeps This Analyst On The Sidelines

Inovio Pharmaceuticals Inc (NASDAQ:INO) reported Tuesday interim Phase 1 readout for INO-4800, its DNA vaccine candidate against the novel coronavirus.

The Inovio Analyst: Piper Sandler analyst Christopher Raymond maintained a Neutral rating and $8 price target for Inovio.

The Inovio Thesis: There wasn't a ton of detail at this point from the readout except that 94% or 34 of the 36 patients, demonstrating an "overall immunological" response at week 6, with a benign safety profile, Raymond said in a note. This appeared consistent with preclinical data published in May.

Raymond, however, said he would like to see data on neutralizing antibody production and T cell response generation separately and broken out by dose before drawing too many conclusions.

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The analyst expressed satisfaction with the safety data reported by Inovio.

"While initial human immunogenicity data is a necessary first step toward a viable COVID-19 vaccine, at this stage it's difficult (if not impossible) to determine which development candidate(s) will fare best in large-scale clinical trials," Raymond wrote in the note.

An equally important consideration is scalability.

The analyst is concerned over Inovio's dispute with its longtime manufacturing partner VGXI.

Investor hopes for INO-4800 to emerge as a viable vaccine candidate to address the current COVID-19 pandemic could prove unrealistic, barring clarity on the manufacturing scalability front, the analyst said.

Inovio Price Action: Inovio shares tumbled 14.9% to $26.95.

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