If You Invested $1,000 In Inovio Stock One Year Ago, Here's How Much You'd Have Now


Investors who have owned stocks in the last year have generally experienced some big gains. In fact, the SPDR S&P 500 SPY total return over the last 12 months is 29.2%. But there is no question some big-name stocks performed better than others along the way.

Inovio’s Bumpy Road: One company that has been a disappointing investment in the last year has been biotech stock Inovio Pharmaceuticals Inc INO.

Almost all the headlines about Inovio in the past year have been about the company’s COVID-19 vaccine. Investors had high hopes for Inovio’s vaccine candidate in 2020, when several companies were racing to be among the first to produce effective vaccinations against COVID-19.

Unfortunately, Inovio investors were thrown a curveball in September 2020 when the U.S. Food and Drug Administration placed a partial hold on the company’s phase 2 and 3 trials of Inovio’s INO-4800 vaccine candidate. At the time, the FDA had concerns about the trial and the device used to administer the vaccine to patients. The hold on the phase 2 trial was lifted after about six weeks, but the hold on the phase 3 trial lasted more than a year.

Finally, the FDA lifted the hold on the phase 3 study in November 2021, nearly a year after Moderna Inc MRNA, Pfizer Inc. PFE and Johnson & Johnson JNJ received the first batch of FDA approvals for COVID-19 vaccines.

It may seem at this point that Inovio has missed the boat with its INO-4800 candidate, but the key for the company may lie with the omicron variant. Inovio has said INO-4800 triggers a T cell immune response, which is less vulnerable to viral mutations. If the phase 3 testing confirms this thesis, Inovio could soon have the next COVID-19 vaccine for treating the omicron variant and subsequent COVID-19 mutations.

In 2019, prior to the pandemic, Inovio reported a net loss of $119.3 million on revenue of just $4.1 million. In 2020, that net loss widened to $166.4 million during the vaccine development stage.

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At the beginning of 2020, Inovio shares were trading at around $3.39. By the beginning of March, the stock was trading at $4.40 as news of the coronavirus spreading in China prompted concerns about a global pandemic.

When the market crashed during the U.S. COVID outbreak in March, Inovio shares understandably soared, along with a handful of other companies that began working on developing vaccines to fight COVID-19. In fact, Inovio shares hit a 52-week high of $19.36 in March before pulling back below $10 to finish out the month.

By June, Inovio shares hit their pandemic high of $33.79 on vaccine optimism and positive initial research developments. However, the stock stalled there while Inovio and other competitors raced to win the vaccine testing and approval race.

Inovio shares pulled all the way back to under $10 again to finish 2020 after the FDA paused its vaccine trials.


Inovio In 2021, Beyond: Inovio bounced in late January during the frenzy of meme stock trading aimed at heavily shorted stocks. In February, Inovio shares peaked at $19 before resuming its downward trend.

Unfortunately, even after the FDA gave the phase 3 trials the green light in November 2021, Inovio shares failed to catch a bid, dropping to a new 52-week low of $5.59 in December and finishing the year near $5.80.

Inovio investors who bought one year ago and held on have generated a disappointing return on their investment. In fact, $1,000 in Inovio stock bought on Dec. 27, 2020, would be worth about $593 today.

Looking ahead, analysts are expecting Inovio to bounce once again in the next 12 months. The average price target among the eight analysts covering the stock is $10, suggesting 72.4% upside from current levels.

Posted In: EducationSmall CapMoversTrading IdeasGeneralCovid-19INO-4800Omicron