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Although we don't believe in timing the market or panicking over market movements, we do like to keep an eye on big changes -- just in case they're material to our investing thesis.
What: Shares of biotechnology company Inovio Pharmaceuticals (NASDAQ: INO ) jumped 10% today after the company announced that its investigational hTERT DNA cancer vaccine showed potential to reduce tumors and prevent tumor recurrence.
So what: In a preclinical study with two animal models, hTERT broke the immune system's tolerance to its self-antigens, induced T-cells with a tumor-killing function, and increased the rate of survival, reinforcing optimism over the drug's potential to be a "universal" cancer therapeutic. Management also said that vaccination elicited multiple epitopes in both mice and monkeys, suggesting that the immune response is a broad one.
Now what: Following the strong data, management said that it intends to move hTERT into clinical trials in 2014.
"We plan to develop INO-1400 to treat breast and lung cancers and then expand to other cancer types," said CEO Dr. J. Joseph Kim in a statement. "This hTERT therapy adds to a growing Inovio oncology franchise."
So while the stock is just too hot and speculative for average investors, biotech experts might want to follow Inovio more closely.
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