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Why Inovio Pharmaceuticals Stock Bolted Higher Today

By George Budwell - Jan 23, 2020 at 12:34PM

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Inovio was awarded a $9 million grant to develop a vaccine against the emerging coronavirus threat.

What happened

Shares of Inovio Pharmaceuticals (INO 5.29%), a developmental-stage vaccine company, are heating up today. Specifically, the biotech's stock is up by a noteworthy 10.32% as of 11:30 a.m. EST. 

What's behind this double-digit rally? Inovio's shares are responding positively to the news that the Coalition for Epidemic Preparedness Innovations (CEPI) awarded the biotech a grant worth up to $9 million to develop a vaccine for the deadly coronavirus strain spreading across Asia at the moment. 

Chalkboard chart showing a positive trend tend with money signs drawn underneath it.

Image Source: Getty Images.

So what

While it's always a positive when a pre-revenue biotech secures a source of funding that won't dilute shareholders, investors should probably temper their enthusiasm over this grant news. This coronavirus threat is likely to be gone well before Inovio -- or any vaccine company for that matter -- develops a safe and effective vaccine against this particular strain of the virus. Stated bluntly, this news doesn't really move the needle for the biotech in the grand scheme of things.  

Now what

What is important from a value creation standpoint is Inovio's promising late-stage pipeline. At the Biotech Showcase 2020 in San Francisco earlier this month, Inovio updated investors on the progress of its various clinical programs. Most importantly, the biotech noted that it's on track to announce top-line data for the experimental cervical dysplasia candidate, VGX-3100, in the fourth quarter of this year. These data could form the basis for the company's first-ever regulatory filing -- that is, if they turn out to be positive. That's the main material event investors will want to focus on over the course of this calendar year.  

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