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Inovio Analysts Bullish On Prospects For Coronavirus Vaccine, Biotech's Pipeline

Shanthi Rexaline

A day after short seller Citron Research slammed Inovio Pharmaceuticals Inc (NASDAQ: INO), sell-side analysts lined up behind the company. 

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The Inovio Analysts

Benchmark analyst Aydin Huseynov initiated shares of Inovio with a Buy rating and $28 price target. 

H.C. Wainwright analyst Raghuram Selvaraju reiterated a Buy rating and $17 price target.

Inovio Shares To Benefit From Likelihood of Financing For COVID Vaccine, Benchmark Says

Inovio's SARS-CoV-2 vaccine candidate INO-4800 has a meaningful chance of progressing to Phase 2/3 in the July-August timeframe and securing the necessary financing from the government or nonprofits, Benchmark analyst Huseynov said in a note.

Noting that Inovio has a pipeline of vaccine candidates for various infectious diseases such as HIV, Ebola, MERS and Zika, the analyst said the company will get sufficient financial support for every promising vaccine candidate, including INO-4800.

"Also, Inovio's DNA plasmid platform has commercially and clinically attractive HPV-targeting and immuno-oncology drug candidates that may drive INO's shareholder value longer term." 

The higher probability of Inovio securing external non-dilutive financing to move INO-4800 further into the clinic is likely to help its share price, Huseynov said.

The analyst also noted that the company has promising late-stage oncology assets, VGX-3100 and INO-5401, with potential launches in 2023 and combined risk-unadjusted peak 2035 sales of $1.4 billion.

See also: AstraZeneca Receives Over B In BARDA Funding For Coronavirus Vaccine

Preclinical Data Bode Well For Phase 1 Data Due In June, HC Wainwright Says

Preclinical studies showed that vaccination with INO-4800 generated binding and neutralizing antibodies as well as T cell responses in mice and guinea pigs, H.C. Wainwright analyst Selvaraju said.

The fact that researchers were able to demonstrate neutralizing activity of the vaccine using three separate neutralization assays is remarkable, the analyst said. 

Additionally, these antibodies were detected in the lungs of the vaccinated animals, and high levels of Spike-specific T cell responses were observed, he said. 

"In our view, these animal data bode well for the upcoming data from multiple animal challenge studies and data readout from the ongoing Phase 1 study in June." 

INO Price Action

Inovio shares were trading down 9.86% at $14.23 at the time of publication Thursday.

Related Link: The Daily Biotech Pulse: Mixed Filgotinib Readout For Gilead-Galapagos, Akorn To File For Chapter 11, D-Day For Aquestive

Latest Ratings for INO

Date Firm Action From To
May 2020 Benchmark Initiates Coverage On Buy
Apr 2020 Stifel Maintains Buy
Apr 2020 HC Wainwright & Co. Reiterates Buy

View More Analyst Ratings for INO
View the Latest Analyst Ratings

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