What happened

Shares of Inovio Pharmaceuticals (NASDAQ:INO), a clinical-stage biopharmaceutical, jumped on Monday after the company initiated a clinical trial with an experimental COVID-19 vaccine. Hopeful investors drove the stock 9.2% higher as of 3:07 p.m. EST on Monday.

So what 

Today, the Food and Drug Administration accepted Inovio's application to run clinical trials with INO-4800, an experimental DNA vaccine designed to prevent transmission of SARS-CoV-2, the virus responsible for COVID-19. The green light from the agency allows Inovio to begin a phase 1 clinical trial that will enroll up to 40 healthy volunteers.

Stethoscope and a rising stock chart.

Image source: Getty Images.

Investors were impressed with Inovio's ability to rapidly get a vaccine ready for clinical-stage testing, a process that generally takes more than a year. The genetic sequence of the virus, which informed the initial development of INO-4800, didn't become available until early this January.

Now what

Beginning today, trial volunteers will begin receiving their first dose of INO-4800 to be followed by a second and final dose four weeks later. That means initial immune responses and safety data could be ready by late summer.

Inovio is one of the best companies in biotech at quickly advancing experimental vaccines into early clinical-stage testing. Unfortunately, the company doesn't have an encouraging track record past this point along the drug development timeline. Inovio has been developing medicines since 1983 but still doesn't have a single product to sell.