What happened

Shares of biopharma outfit Inovio Pharmaceuticals (INO -1.14%) are up on the order of 5% in Tuesday's late trading following confirmation from the company that trails of its COVID-19 vaccine are being allowed to proceed into phase 3 testing.

So what

It may be late to the party, but better late than never. On Tuesday, Inovio Pharmaceuticals announced its COVID-19 vaccine candidate INO-4800 has been given the Food and Drug Administration's (FDA) authorization to begin phase 3 trials. The FDA had postponed this trial in order to gather more information about the therapy. This authorization is not an outright approval of the drug in the U.S., but it does bode well for its ultimate eventual approval. A handful of other countries have already given Inovio the green light to proceed with testing that could eventually mean INO-4800 is administered in those countries.

Rising bar chart plotted on a chalkboard.

Image source: Getty Images.

While the need for another option at this late stage of the pandemic is questionable, should COVID-19 linger or rekindle its spread due to a mutation, INO-4800 has an advantage on most of the current alternatives. Not only can it be stored at room temperature for over a month, but it also has an expected shelf life of three to five years when near frozen.

It's also effective. The company reports that 100% of phase 1 trail participants saw some sort of immunological response, resulting in neutralizing antibodies.

Now what

It's clearly a win for the company, and the world in general; there can never be too many options in the war against disease. Inovio Pharmaceuticals is also still developing a portfolio of products other than a COVID-19 response, and the data gathered during the development of INO-4800 can surely be leveraged to identify and make other treatments. These are all bullish developments, and after falling roughly 80% from last June's high, today's higher volume surge is something of a hint that a prolonged rebound effort is a possibility.

Even so, this risky name is still something best left to speculators who can keep close tabs on it, and the COVID-19 rhetoric pushing it higher and lower. It requires daily monitoring, in fact, as similar surges haven't produced any real follow-through. Indeed, given the news, the modest response from the stock says the market isn't nearly as ready to drive the sustained buying effort many fans and followers (and current owners) of Inovio shares are hoping for.