Inovio Pharmaceuticals (NASDAQ:INO) stock jumped more than 70% in the space of a week due to the company’s involvement in the development of a potential vaccine for the novel coronavirus.
Previously burdened by debt and a lack of profitability, the latest update from the Pennsylvania-based pharmaceutical firm turned around the downtrend of its stock. As Inovio moves forward with clinical trials, shares of the biotech company edged higher.
News of The Food and Drug Administration accepting Inovio’s application mean the company will proceed with phase 1 clinical trials for its coronavirus vaccine. This is the second company to receive approval for human-based trials after Johnson & Johnson, who earlier this month announced a 1$ billion government deal for research and manufacturing of its coronavirus vaccine. While J&J is not expected to begin tests on human subjects until September, Inovio’s study is set to test two doses of its vaccine, code-named INO-4800, in 40 healthy volunteers at the Kansas City research lab and the University of Pennsylvania in the coming days.
Investors reacted positively to this development, which may produce significant gains for them in the long-term. Data regarding the effectiveness and safety of Inovio’s vaccine will be available as early as this summer but in the meantime, Inovio’s shares are marked as a strong ‘buy’.
Amid the uncertain economic climate, Inovio’s coronavirus vaccine is a welcomed addition to the firm’s pipeline. While it is still too early to discuss pricing for the developed vaccine, for comparison sake Merck’s MMR/Varicella vaccine costs upwards of $200. If just a quarter of the 327 million people in the US were to use Inovio’s vaccine, that’s 81 million syringes at $200 each— an addressable market worth $16.2 billion in the US alone. However, the main focus lies on the necessity for containing the growing health crisis – one that billionaire philanthropists like Melinda Gates have stressed need to ‘remain affordable’.
The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation donated 125$ million towards research into a coronavirus vaccine.
“We have to make sure that the vaccine is very low priced and that there’s a fund for buying it for everyone, whether you’re in a low, middle, or a high-income country,” Melinda Gatessaid. “And that’s doable.”