What happened

Shares of Inovio Pharmaceuticals (INO 3.51%), a highly volatile "coronavirus stock," surged as much as 36% in early trading on Friday. Shares were up about 25% as of 11:33 a.m. EST. 

So what

There doesn't appear to have been any company-specific news to justify the huge rally. However, President Trump did sign an $8.3 billion emergency bill to fund efforts to combat the coronavirus Friday morning.

Scientists working in lab

Image source: Getty Images.

Traders appear to be bidding up Inovio's stock based on the theory that some of that emergency funding will find its way into the company's coffers. 

Now what

Inovio has been in the news a lot recently. Earlier this week, it announced that it has accelerated the timeline for the development of its experimental SARS-CoV-2 vaccine. Human trials are expected to begin in the U.S., China, and South Korea in April, and if the vaccine is found to be effective, the company has committed to producing 1 million doses of it before the end of the year.

That update caused the share price to spike 70% in a single day

With the coronavirus making headlines daily, there's no telling where Inovio Pharmaceuticals' stock could head next. It's possible that the biotech could earn a financial windfall from its efforts to stem the spread of COVID-19, but it's also possible that one of its many competitors could beat it to the punch with a working vaccine. Given the amount of uncertainty involved, I'm content to watch these biotechnology companies duke it out from the sidelines.