Inovio Pharmaceuticals, Inc. (INO) recently announced encouraging data from a phase I study on its influenza vaccine candidate, SynCon. SynCon is being developed as a universal H1N1 vaccine to protect against several prevalent H1N1 influenza strains.
The phase I study, which enrolled 100 healthy volunteers, evaluated SynCon in multiple dosages and constructs. It was found that 60% of the volunteers who received the highest dose (1.8 mg) of SynCon at least twice showed similar response rates to that of a currently approved seasonal influenza vaccine against a currently circulating H1N1 A/California/07/09 strain.
SynCon has demonstrated encouraging efficacy against several vaccine strains prevalent in the last 100 years including H1N1 A/South Carolina/1/18 strain (so-called 1918 Spanish flu) as well as all the H1N1 strains that were part of the seasonal trivalent inactivated flu vaccines (TVLYQ) since 1986, including, A/Taiwan/1/86, A/Texas/36/91, A/Bayern/07/95, A/Beijing/262/95, A/New Caledonia/20/99, A/Solomon Islands/03/06, A/Brisbane/59/07, and A/California/07/09.
We believe if successfully developed and eventually approved SynCon will revolutionize the influenza vaccine market. Currently approved influenza vaccines include AstraZeneca’s (AZN) FluMist Quadrivalent and GlaxoSmithKline’s (GSK) Fluarix Quadrivalent. The currently approved quadrivalent vaccines protect from two strains of influenza A and influenza B each.
Inovio Pharma is also developing vaccines targeting the lucrative pandemic influenza subtypes, H5N1 and H7N9. These vaccines are primarily sold to government buyers.
Inovio Pharma, a biopharmaceutical company, carries a Zacks Rank #1 (Strong Buy). Biopharma stocks like UCB (UCBJF) appear to be equally attractive. UCB also carries a Zacks Rank #1.
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