Inovio Pharmaceuticals, Inc. INO announced that it has licensed a veterinary vaccine for the treatment of foot and mouth disease (FMD) to a South Korean animal health company, Plumbline Life Sciences.
Inovio will get milestone payments as well as royalties from Plumbline on product sales of the FMD synthetic vaccine in Asia, excluding Japan. Plumbline will also fund all development activities related to the vaccine.
Per Inovio’s press release, FMD is one of the most infectious diseases affecting farm animals including cattle, swine, sheep and goats, and is therefore a serious threat to global food safety. Considering that the disease can spread rapidly and beyond regional boundaries, there is urgent need to develop vaccines that can simultaneously target different regional serotypes of FMD in a single vaccine.
Inovio’s FMD DNA vaccine has demonstrated potential to prevent the virus from infecting livestock animals in previous studies and thus may be a global solution. Moreover, Inovio's SynCon technology will allow rapid development of vaccines that can cover multiple serotypes simultaneously with a single formulation.
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We note that this is Inovio’s second license agreement with Plumbline for the development of animal health products and market opportunities. In 2014, Inovio had sold other animal health assets to Plumbline for cash and a significant equity position in the company.
We are positive on the latest development. It will not only help Inovio monetize non-core assets but will also allow the company to focus on human immunotherapies to help fight cancers and infectious diseases.
Inovio currently has a Zacks Rank #4 (Sell). Some better-ranked stocks in the health care sector include Geron Corporation GERN, Anika Therapeutics Inc. ANIK and ANI Pharmaceuticals, Inc. ANIP. All three stocks sport a Zacks Rank #1 (Strong Buy).
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