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Inovio's HPV Candidate Shows Efficacy in Pilot Study, Stock Up

Zacks Equity Research

Inovio Pharmaceuticals, Inc. INO announced that its novel therapy, INO-3106, demonstrated the clinical efficacy in a pilot study. The evaluation was conducted on a couple of patients with recurrent respiratory papillomatosis (RRP), a human papilloma virus (HPV)-associated disease.

RRP is a rare HPV-associated disease, indicated by persistent noncancerous tumor growth in the airways, primarily caused by two strains of HPV, HPV 6 and 11.

To date, the surgery usually conducted multiple times a year, was the only option available for patients with this incurable respiratory disease. Tumor recurrence is a common phenomenon and the operation was not considered a long-term solution for the given patient population as it only temporarily restored the airway.

The two patients with RRP needed surgery approximately every six months to clear tumor growths.

However, data from the pivotal study showed that treatment with a dose of INO-3106 helped the two patients stay surgery-free due to lack of tumor recurrence. One patient was surgery-free for more than two years while the other did not require a surgical procedure for over a year. The results were presented at the annual meeting of American Association for Cancer Research.

Shares of Inovio were up 4.3% following this news on Wednesday. However, the stock has lost 3.5% so far this year against the industry’s rally of 13.8%.

Following encouraging results from the study on this novel HPV therapy, Inovio can now provide an effective treatment to patients with RRP and rapidly advance INO-3106 as a non-surgical cure for this rare orphan disease. The company also plans to further develop INO-3106 as a novel non-invasive immunotherapy for treating RRP in both adult and pediatric subjects.

Notably, Inovio has several promising candidates in its pipeline under early-to-mid-stage development. The company has collaborations with big pharma companies like Roche RHHBY, Regeneron REGN and AstraZeneca AZN, which helps it capitalize on their expertise for further growth.

Earlier this week, Inovio completed enrolling patients in the phase I/II study on its immuno-oncology combo of INO-5401 plus INO-9012 in combination with Regeneron/Sanofi’s PD-1 inhibitor, Libtayo (cemiplimab), for treating the newly-diagnosed patients with glioblastoma (GBM). The company closed the patient enrollment three months ahead of its scheduled time.

Zacks Rank

Inovio currently carries a Zacks Rank #3 (Hold). You can see the complete list of today’s Zacks #1 Rank (Strong Buy) stocks here.

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