Shares of Inovio Pharmaceuticals (NASDAQ:INO) were soaring 13.4% higher as of 3:10 p.m. EDT on Friday. The big jump came after Inovio reported positive interim results on Thursday from a phase 2 clinical study evaluating experimental drug VGX-3100 in treating patients with anal dysplasia, a precancerous condition caused by human papillomavirus (HPV).
Positive clinical results nearly always boost biotech stocks, especially for companies like Inovio that don't have approved products yet. And the phase 2 results for VGX-3100 were definitely encouraging. Half of the 20 patients in the study showed clearance of precancerous lesions associated with HPV types 16/18. Fifteen patients (75%) had an overall decrease in the number of lesions six months after beginning treatment with VGX-3100.
Investors also no doubt view the results for VGX-3100 in the phase 2 study for anal dysplasia as boding well for the drug's chances in a late-stage study targeting cervical dysplasia. These results are also potentially promising for another phase 2 study of the drug in treating HPV-related vulvar dysplasia.
It's important to keep in mind that the results Inovio announced on Thursday were only interim results. The phase 2 study is still under way and won't wrap up until next year.
There are a couple of other key developments to watch, though. Inovio expects to report top-line data from its Reveal 1 late-stage study evaluating VGX-3100 in treating cervical dysplasia by the fourth quarter of 2020. The biotech is also developing an experimental vaccine for protecting against novel coronavirus disease COVID-19. Inovio hopes to begin clinical testing of the vaccine in April.