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Why Inovio Pharmaceuticals Stock Is Headed Higher Today

By George Budwell – Sep 15, 2020 at 5:31AM

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Inovio's shares are on the mend today.

What happened

Shares of the clinical-stage biotech Inovio Pharmaceuticals (INO -5.07%) are up by a healthy 20.3%, on abnormally high volume, as of 10:40 a.m. EDT Tuesday. Today's double-digit rally appears to be carryover from CEO Dr. Joseph Kim's presentation yesterday at the H.C. Wainwright 22nd Annual Global Investment Conference. 

While Kim's presentation didn't exactly include any earth-shaking updates, he did note that a peer-reviewed paper should be forthcoming discussing the phase 1 trial results for the company's closely watched COVID-19 vaccine candidate, INO-4800. This first human trial included 40 healthy volunteers aged 18 to 50. Previously, Inovio announced that the vaccine produced either neutralizing antibodies or T-cell responses in all study participants. 

Close up image of the novel coronavirus.

Image source: Getty Images.

So what

Inovio's shares have been under immense pressure for the past three months. In fact, the drugmaker's stock has fallen by nearly 60% relative to its 52-week high posted back in June. Investors have backed away from Inovio's stock largely because the company has fallen behind the leaders in the hotly contested race to develop a safe and effective COVID-19 vaccine.

At yesterday's conference, however, Kim said that INO-4800's planned phase 2/3 trial should get clearance from the Food and Drug Administration soon. He also noted that he felt "very confident" this pivotal trial would receive external funding -- perhaps foreshadowing a large award from Operation Warp Speed in the near future. 

Now what

Should investors buy into this latest rally? Inovio is a risky biotech stock to be sure. But there's a decent chance that the biotech could indeed land a sizable award for its COVID-19 vaccine. So, if you're the risk-tolerant type, it might be worthwhile to buy a few shares ahead of this potential catalyst. 

George Budwell has no position in any of the stocks mentioned. The Motley Fool has no position in any of the stocks mentioned. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy.

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