What happened

Sometimes in the biotech world, if a company pulls the plug on one of its research programs, investors respond with relief. That was the case on Friday with Inovio Pharmaceuticals (INO 0.36%), following its announcement of the cessation of an experimental coronavirus booster effort.

So what

After market hours on Thursday, Inovio revealed that it has discontinued its self-funded development of INO-4800 as a heterologous booster vaccine aimed at blocking the coronavirus. This followed a "comprehensive" review of various factors connected to the program and the state of the company, including its portfolio and current market conditions.

Almost certainly, the biotech company's decision was swayed by the fact that coronavirus cases, hospitalizations, and deaths have been on the decline in many parts of the world lately. While those declines have slowed notably in recent days, those metrics are still landing in negative territory.

In its press release announcing the cancellation, Inovio's CEO Jacqueline Shea provided more details about the company's move.

She said that "Our assessment of the current global demand for COVID-19 vaccines, changes in regulatory timelines and requirements, diminishing government financial support, and the overall growing uncertainty related to opportunities for heterologous booster vaccines have resulted in our decision."

Now what

Even if Inovio had continued down the path of developing INO-4800 as a booster, it's likely the company wouldn't have met with great success.

Boosters produced by the two highest-profile coronavirus jab developers -- the team of Pfizer and BioNTech, and rival Moderna -- have already been on the market for some time, and have proved to be popular with those willing to get the latest shots.