Remember Inovio (INO), the small biotech punching above its weight and mingling with pharma giants in the early attempts to stamp out the Covid-19 pandemic?
The company was one of the frontrunners in the race to bring a Covid vaccine to market, but that was eons ago in stock market terms with the stock only trending in one direction (down) since mid-2020’s improbable peaks.
Inovio has struggled to get its Covid-19 DNA vaccine INO-4800 beyond the mid-stage of testing (at least in the US), and in fact, for the past 14 months the FDA had put the brakes on its development as the regulatory body wanted to gather more info on the vaccine and the proprietary delivery device via which it is administered.
However, after a long review period, the FDA has finally given its blessing for the Phase 3 study to commence, making the US the 7th country to approve the late-stage trial.
But with various vaccines available and the pandemic already on the backfoot domestically, is it too late to make a meaningful impact? Not according to Oppenheimer’s Hartaj Singh.
“The lifting of the US FDA partial clinical hold is important, for regulatory and future commercial purposes,” the 5-star analyst said. “With the pandemic potentially receding in the US (COVID-19 infections falling), the company still expects to recruit less than 10% of its INNOVATE patients from the US. However, the gravitas of an FDA imprimatur and the potential of future US approval are important.”
There have been other recent positive developments. India has also signed up for the trial, and INO and the Colombia Ministry of Health and Social Protection have signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) to develop Covid-19 and possibly other vaccines. Additionally, realizing INO-4800’s inherent advantages – the vaccine can be kept at room temperature for more than a year – the WHO has jumped on board and initiated a global Phase 3 trial. Singh anticipates interim readouts from the global Phase 3 INNOVATE study “as early as 1H22.”
All in all, Singh rates INO an Outperform (i.e., Buy) along with a $35 price target. This figure puts the upside potential at a whopping 376%. (To watch Singh’s track record, click here)
The Street’s average target is a more modest $17.25, yet the shares could still gain 135% should the objective be met over the coming months. Rating wise, the outlook is more subdued; Based on 2 Buys, 2 Holds and 1 Sell, the consensus view is that INO stock is a Hold. (See Inovio stock analysis on TipRanks)
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Disclaimer: The opinions expressed in this article are solely those of the featured analyst. The content is intended to be used for informational purposes only. It is very important to do your own analysis before making any investment.