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Inovio Pharmaceuticals Inc (NASDAQ: INO) shares were trading higher Thursday after the company released positive Phase 1 data on to its COVID-19 DNA vaccine candidate.
What Happened: On Wednesday, Inovio published a paper including Phase 1 data on INO-4800, which was found to have been immunogenic in all test subjects.
In addition, Phase 1 testing generated no serious adverse safety events and only six Grade I adverse events, which were mostly minor injection site reactions.
Why It’s Important: Inovio’s INO-4800 coronavirus vaccine candidate didn’t come close to winning the race to market given that vaccines from Pfizer Inc. (NYSE: PFE) and Moderna Inc (NASDAQ: MRNA) are already authorized by the FDA.
Yet Moderna’s vaccine must be stored and transported at temperatures of negative 20 Celsius, and Pfizer’s vaccine must be stored and transported at temperatures of negative 70 Celsius, colder than winter temperatures in Antarctica.
INO-4800, on the other hand, is stable at room temperature for more than one year. It also doesn’t need to be frozen during transporter storage, potentially making it faster and more cost-effective to distribute.
Inovio shares are up 205% year-to-date but have declined 53.3% in the last six months as competing vaccine candidates seemingly pulled ahead in the race to combat the pandemic.
Benzinga’s Take: Assuming it is as effective and safe as competing vaccines, Inovio’s candidate could ultimately end up being the standard-bearer for COVID-19 and future coronavirus vaccine variants.
Analysts have estimated the global COVID-19 vaccine market could be worth $10 billion annually, so it’s understandable why Inovio investors are excited given the company’s $1.7-billion market cap.
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