Before you start thinking of buying read this from Motley FOOL:
Fairytale endings work great in the movies, but you rarely see them come to fruition in the real world. Small-cap biopharmaceutical Inovio Pharmaceuticals (NYSEMKT: INO ) has seen shares nearly triple since April on the heels of multiple intriguing studies, but will the glass slipper fit over the long term?
Earlier this week, Inovio released data from a study of its universal H7N9 vaccine that demonstrated 100% protection in vaccinated animals. Also, just yesterday, Inovio released the results of a study involving its Cellectra electroporation delivery technology, which improved response rates for its next-generation HIV vaccine to 52% from 7% in terms of CD8 T-cell response rates.
I'm not planning to take a thing away from Inovio here, as these are important and solid results. Shareholders, though, are doing themselves a disservice by ignoring other aspects that I feel make Inovio much more of a risk than these results might indicate.
To begin with, having a vaccine that works in animals is no guarantee it'll be safe and effective in humans. To that end, even getting a vaccine approved for H7N9 doesn't mean it'll be profitable, as governments around the globe would need to buy a lot of the product to make it worthwhile. With a better understanding of how to quarantine infectious diseases nowadays, an H7N9 vaccine may not be a big moneymaker for Inovio. It's also not the only fish in the pond researching for a vaccine, either.
The other aspect to consider here is Inovio's history. Despite being founded 30 years ago, there isn't a whole lot to show for it other than an accumulated deficit of $238.6 million as of its latest quarter. To add to that, it's funded its business with countless dilutive share offerings and warrants, which have increased the number of outstanding shares from approximately 13 million in 2003 to a whopping 156 million as of the first quarter of 2
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