Inovio Pharmaceuticals Inc INO stock is on a volatile up-and-down ride as investors appear uncertain about its claims regarding a breakthrough in the effort to stop the coronavirus.
Several law firms said in press releases that the company may have committed securities fraud. At least five law firms put out press releases seeking shareholders for a lawsuit against the firm in connection with its claims about a potential vaccine.
But Inovio stock shot higher during the day on Thursday, closing up 13.5% and likely reacting to news that the company received a $5-million grant from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation for testing and ramping up its vaccine candidate.
But the stock gave back those gains and was falling by 26.21% at the time of publication Friday.
A Common Practice
Lawyers and firms have long made a practice of jumping on news about potentially questionable activity by publicly traded companies by announcing they're seeking shareholders to sue the company.
The degree of success for such lawsuits isn't immediately clear, but often they either aren't filed or don't result in a big win for shareholders.
What Inovio Said
The law firms all said they were looking into an early March press release from Inovio in which its President and CEO Joseph Kim, said "we designed our DNA vaccine INO-4800 in three hours after the publication of the genetic sequence of the novel coronavirus that causes COVID-19."
The company also said it can develop a vaccine by the end of the year.
Inovio did not respond to a request from comment from Benzinga.
Citron Research later posted a tweet saying regulators should investigate the "ludicrous and dangerous claim that they designed a vaccine in 3 hours." The Citron Research tweet sent the stock lower, giving rise to possible grounds for a lawsuit by investors who lost money, multiple law firms said.
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