Inovio Pharmaceuticals erwartet top line results

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08.07.13 11:36

21271 Postings, 4768 Tage Chalifmann3Inovio Pharmaceuticals erwartet top line results

Early-stage positive clinical trial results contribute incremental value to anxious shareholders of biotech companies by validating drugs in their pipelines. These gains are especially magnified when the trials are designed to deal with difficult to treat diseases such as lung cancer or human papillomavirus (HPV), in which there are vast needs for treatment. Earlier this month, shareholders of Clovis Oncology (CLVS) saw their holdings double in a single day when the company reported strong safety data at the 2013 American Society of Clinical Oncology (ASCO) meeting. This surge in Clovis's price had me wondering if Inovio (INO) longs would share the same success with the company's upcoming catalyst that resembles similar features to those of CLVS.

Clovis Success Story

Clovis's lung cancer drug, CO-1686, blew past the most optimistic expectations with its early June drug results. For several years, the oncology community had seen failures with the treatment of epidermal growth factor receptor (EGFR) mutations which occur in non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC) cases. In other words, there were no clear expectations for the CLVS drug to be developed as a treatment to NSCLC. However, CLVS reported notable traits in its Phase I findings with CO-1686 by displaying effective patient responses and strong safety data, a matchless combination that was welcomed by the lung cancer community and investors of Clovis.

To add, the demonstrated efficacy in Phase I was exhibited without reaching the maximum tolerated dose. A more concentrated dose in future Phase II trials could potentially further raise efficacy. There are currently no approved treatments for lung cancer patients with the T790M mutation, which reverses the effect of the standard treatments of advanced NSCLC after failure of chemotherapy.

It's not hard to see why the price of CLVS has surged 130% in the last three months. The company saw a slight run up to the data release date on June 3rd and jumped more than two fold following the encouraging data. Its promising early stage success and the vast need for an approved treatment of NSCLC could fast track Clovis's drug with FDA Breakthrough Status, providing investors with additional value.

Inovio's shot to validate synthetic DNA vaccines

Inovio Pharmaceuticals is a development stage company that focuses on providing universal protection against cancers and various diseases through its synthetic vaccine technology and delivery process. Recent successful preclinical study announcements against viruses Ebola, Marburg and H7N9 validated its Syncon universal vaccine for influenza strains. With these vaccines and others in its pipeline, Inovio hopes to satisfy the vast need for a synthetic vaccine technology and, in turn, become the modern conventional preventive and therapeutic treatment of various diseases.

Current protection against influenza has shown weaknesses in the ability to react to rapidly changing strains, as the protective vaccine may not be the same as the common virus affecting people. Instead of guessing the target, INO combines DNA sequences from existing virus strains into a single dose to protest against multiple influenza strains. With the delivery of the company's proprietary electroporation system, the DNA vaccine assists the immune system by creating antibodies to protect against broad virus strains. INO is looking to build on its rolling momentum with upcoming catalysts that concentrate on other disease fields to expand the pipeline and add incremental shareholder value.

HIV vaccine PENNVAX-B data

With July approaching, investors are patiently waiting for the publication of PENNVAX-B data to validate what the company reported in Phase I trials back in early 2012.

As a therapeutic vaccine for HIV-positive volunteers, the vaccine generated significant (75%) antigen-specific T-cell responses paramount in clearing chronic viral infections. To compare, other DNA vaccines that were delivered without electroporation yielded poor overall T-cell immune responses.
In a preventive setting with uninfected patients, PENNVAX-B demonstrated best in class results with 89% of subjects generating T-cell response.
If the upcoming publication reaffirms PENNVAX-B with a best in class distinction, the stock price of INO will gain traction as results would validate the potency of the company's synthetic vaccine technology platform. This event could bring a similar intraday price increase that CLVS experienced with its data announcement. However, in the less likely case that results are not as promising, investors will be faced with an opportunity to add to their position at pulled back prices. Nonetheless, Inovio should be seeing an increase in coverage and exposure from the approaching publication date and participation at the 2013 OneMedForum investor conference. Publicity for such small-cap biotechs is always a plus.

VGX-3100: The therapeutic vaccine to treat cervical dysplasias and cancers?

Market Outlook

20 million Americans are currently infected with human papillomavirus (HPV), valuing the global HPV therapeutics market at a forecasted $4.2 billion by 2017 (CAGR of 6%), according to GlobalData estimates. This moderate growth rate is primarily attributed to a weak pipeline landscape as most drugs are in early stage clinical development, so they are going to make an impact after 2017. The HPV market is mainly dominated by preventive vaccines, such as FDA-approved Gardasil and Cervarix, which are only meant for immunity against HPV infection in non-infected individuals. Once a person has been diagnosed with the HPV infection, these vaccines are not able to prevent the development of cervical dysplasia and cancer. This presents the need for a novel first-in-class therapeutic vaccine to treat cervical dysplasia and cancer caused by HPV.

VGX-3100 Trials

VGX-3100 is a therapeutic DNA vaccine designed to treat cervical intraepithelial neoplasias (CIN) that are caused by human papillomavirus types 16 and 18. Inovio is in the process of enrolling females internationally for the Phase II clinical trial which is expected to have data ready by Q1 2014. The primary endpoint of this internally funded Phase II study is to assess the regression of cervical lesions and clearance of HPV 16 or 18. In other words, the company wants to further evaluate the efficacy and safety of the vaccine against the placebo in its attempt to treat cervical dysplasia and cancer patients.

Phase I results indicated that VGX-3100 has the potential to drive robust immune responses to antigens from high risk types of HPV infection as well as produce killer T-cells that destroy cervical dysplasia cells. The positive outcomes of the Phase I study achieved best-in-class immune responses which lay a strong foundation for the company to continue ongoing trials.

Although the Phase II data for VGX-3100 is still several months away, the cervical dysplasia vaccine is the most advanced independent therapeutic treatment in Inovio's pipeline. If all goes as planned, VGX-3100 may be INO's first commercialized product, providing the company with a consistent revenue stream. In addition, the vaccine would satisfy an immediate need in the HPV therapeutic market that has no successful treatment for infected individuals. If the Phase II results exhibit the same promising success as preceding Phase I VGX trials, Inovio would share similar traits to Clovis; promising early stage results for a difficult to treat disease that needs an approved treatment. As seen above, VGX-3100 could be Inovio's own CO-1686 by duplicating the recent surge in Clovis's value.

Insulation from several risks

Healthcare companies, especially pre-profit small-cap firms, are undoubtedly susceptible to risks that cause the subject company to flounder. With volatile biotechs, investors know there is a greater amount of speculation involved due to the wide array of vulnerability. I will be discussing three of the most common risks and suggesting how Inovio is well protected against them. This, however, should not encourage investors to disregard their own findings.

Financing Risk

On March 12th, 2013, the company closed an offering of approximately 27.4 million shares and warrants with net proceeds of roughly $14 million. With this financing, Inovio has cash, cash equivalents & short-term investments of $28.2 million, which is enough to fund the company through 2014. Additionally, many of the company's operations are funded externally by their wide array of partners. This financial assistance, through grants and contracts, minimizes Inovio's own out-of-pocket expenses when conducting costly clinical trials. Although it is inevitable that a development stage company like Inovio will raise capital through dilution, this risk is off the table for the foreseeable future.

Clinical Trial Risk

Inadequate results on the basis of not meeting efficacy or safety endpoints are the greatest risk factor for Inovio. The company's historical data and experienced staff mitigate this risk by providing overall positive results. Moreover, this risk is shared as the majority of Inovio clinical studies are conducted with a partner who may fund or collaborate on the trial. On the other hand, comparing the risk-to-upside ratio for these studies, positive results may potentially lead to licensing deals. In these events, INO may strike lucrative agreements, such as a further development with Merck or expanding its Asian network through VGX International.

Systematic Risk

The recent instability of global economies and talks of a market correction have made this risk a probable reality. Though this risk is out of investors' hands, the company's operations and financial position insulate it from any major global events. Performance of INO stock price is primarily driven by its own fundamentals and catalysts instead of economic factors such as The Fed's bond purchasing agenda. To add, the company sports a debtless balance sheet with current assets equaling nearly a quarter of market cap. Inovio's investments are held in liquid money market funds and their cash is sufficient enough to weather any storm within the next year.

Value Proposition

A recent report, "Global Vaccine Market Forecast to 2017", valued the 2012 global vaccine market at $27.3 billion. According to their findings, the market is expected to grow at a CAGR of around 12% until 2017, resulting in a $48 billion global market. By this time, it is expected that Inovio's VGX-3100 would be on the market, assuming no setbacks, and that several of its other pipeline candidates for HIV and Influenza would be at, or nearing Phase III trials.

Assuming the company is able to capture a conservative 0.25% of the vaccine market by 2017, it would lead to sales of $120 million. With further partnerships, greater royalties and a potential best in class therapeutic treatment for cervical dysplasia and cancer on the market, the projected 2017 sales figure is not out of reach. Trading at the industry average sales multiple of 9x would value the company at a market cap just north of $1 billion in 2017. A present valuation of $378 million is calculated if the 2017 figure is discounted with a rate of 35% for 3.5 years. This brief calculation is very sensitive to assumptions, but even with minor adjustments on the sensitivity table, the current company price illustrates enormous upside potential.


Inovio's diverse pipeline tailored towards difficult to treat diseases and cancers offers much promise for the future outlook of the company. Its successful track record of announcing potent treatment results during clinical trials bode well for upcoming catalysts such as the HIV data and VGX-3100 further down the road. Well-managed operations and financial stability secure the company against possible risks, which also validate the potential upside of Inovio at currently discounted pricing. Any potential for partnerships following positive results will add further value to investors' pockets as the company continues its epic year.

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4 Postings ausgeblendet.

10.07.13 15:52

33 Postings, 3918 Tage AntalGood News

Good News mit entsprechender Kursbewegung.

Darauf haben die Aktionäre gewartet!  

11.07.13 19:44

21271 Postings, 4768 Tage Chalifmann3Electroporation

Inovio Pharmaceuticals' (INO) long investors have discussed, pleaded, and informed the public of this company's upcoming catalysts for the last year. Unfortunately, The Street, retail investors, and myself included, brushed these longs to the side, ignored the tweets, and wrote it off as yet another macro-cap value trap. However, much of that premise is rapidly changing as Inovio Pharmaceuticals has rallied 115% in the last month, and The Street is finally starting to take notice.

What's Going On?

For a brief rundown of what has created Inovio's recent rally and its now one-year 200% return, let's look at a timeline of events for the last month. Because, after all, the developments surrounding this company have been quite plentiful to say the least.

June 14 - The company announces that its vaccine, H7N9 (Avian Flu), produced an antibody response in 100% of the animals that were vaccinated, and is now ready for testing on humans.
July 1 - The Center for Infectious Disease Research and Policy at the University of Minnesota issued a report identifying the three drivers of the H7N9 flu outbreak in China, which further validated the preclinical study results from Inovio's H7N9 vaccine.
July 8 - Inovio presents new data, showing that all animals vaccinated with its H7N9 drug were "fully protected" after receiving a "lethal dose" of the virus. The fact that a lethal dose was given was viewed as a positive and a testament to the vaccine's effectiveness. It also showed a strong T-cell response, and that the vaccine could curb the spread of the virus.
July 10 - Inovio disclosed that its Cellectra device improved the effectiveness of its Pennvax-B HIV vaccine in a Phase I study. The study showed that Cellectra boosted the CD4 and CD8 T-cell responses for an increased number of patients.
How Is Inovio Succeeding?

The combination of data from Inovio over the last month also adds to the belief of many that its therapeutic approach does, in fact, work! While Phase I and preclinical trials are small, Inovio is trying to treat diseases and viruses that lack options-- meaning the regulatory path could be faster than normal if success continues to be shown.

Inovio's most advanced product is a Phase II vaccine, VGX-3100, to treat cervical dysplasia and cancer caused by HPV. The data is expected in the first quarter of 2014, and this data would completely support the therapeutic approach of this company.

Inovio is a company that has several early phase clinical and preclinical studies in the works. It currently has a market capitalization of $260 million, which you might think is too expensive, but let's not forget the market cap over $2 billion that Clovis has earned following early clinical data.

In my opinion, the stock has room to move higher and has stayed cheap for the mere fact that it uses an unorthodox approach, one that is rather confusing. For one, it is using synthetic vaccines that it manufactures, which isn't common among biotechnology companies in today's market. But most importantly, is the company's delivery technology, electroporation, which is being validated on Wall Street.

Electroporation is "how" Inovio's synthetic vaccines are delivered. The idea is that by using electroporation, many of the roadblocks that exist with drug delivery can be bypassed, and a better immune response can be observed.

According to Inovio, human cells are designed to resist the entry of foreign materials through the outer membrane, which is the primary challenge to achieving a powerful immune response. Therefore, Inovio's device uses electrical pulses to create a temporary pore in the cell membrane. Once these pores are created, anywhere in the body, Inovio can directly administer the vaccine to the targeted area. Due to bypassing the natural resistance of human cells, less of a vaccine is needed to produce a greater effect, and with fewer side effects.

If, in fact, Inovio's statement regarding human cells resisting foreign materials is accurate, then the idea of electroporation makes sense. After all, if you can overcome this defense roadblock and effectively direct a therapeutic to a particular area, then it seems obvious that a drug would be more effective. Hence, Inovio only has to produce an effective vaccine, and then its electroporation approach gives it an edge over the competition


18.07.13 15:27

21271 Postings, 4768 Tage Chalifmann3News !

BLUE BELL, Pa., July 18, 2013 /PRNewswire/ -- Inovio Pharmaceuticals, Inc. (NYSE MKT: INO) announced today that the use of its proprietary electroporation technology significantly enhanced the ability of a DNA therapy to stimulate blood vessel growth, which may be beneficial for the treatment of critical limb ischemia (CLI) and other forms of peripheral arterial disease (PAD). CLI's severe blockage of arteries of the lower extremities markedly reduces blood flow, resulting in notable medical impacts and death. In a mouse model, delivery of a synthetically optimized hypoxia-inducible factor-1 alpha (HIF-1α) gene using Inovio's CELLECTRA® electroporation delivery technology produced significant growth of new blood vessels and improved limb blood flow, limb function recovery, and survival from limb necrosis and amputation. The results were published in a paper entitled, "In vivo electroporation of constitutively expressed HIF-1α plasmid DNA improves neovascularization in a mouse model of limb ischemia," in the peer-reviewed Journal of Vascular Surgery.

Finding an effective therapy for PAD and CLI is imperative because the current standard of care relies primarily on palliative drugs and amputation. PAD affects 8 ? 12 million Americans and is associated with a 20 ? 30% risk of cardiovascular death within five years. CLI is a more severe stage of PAD affecting over one million people in the US. Up to 20% of CLI patients will die within 12 months of diagnosis; the five-year mortality rate exceeds 70%. The disease is characterized by ischemic rest pain?severe pain in the legs and feet while a person is not moving?or non-healing sores on the feet or legs as well as gangrene. Major limb amputation occurs in up to 40 ? 50% of CLI patients within 12 months of diagnosis.

Dr. J. Joseph Kim, Inovio's president and CEO, said: "We have tremendous momentum and clinical data in achieving best-in-class immune responses with our SynCon® DNA vaccines delivered using our CELLECTRA electroporation system. Others have attempted to treat PAD using angiogenic growth factor DNA therapies without success. This study shows that combining our synthetic gene optimization techniques with our proprietary delivery systems could lead to an effective therapy. While early, this new application in treating PAD and other major chronic diseases offers Inovio a promising therapeutic avenue and additional commercial opportunity."

In this study, the gene sequence for HIF-1α was synthetically optimized to enhance expression of the growth factor. This DNA therapy was then delivered using Inovio's CELLECTRA constant current electroporation device, which has been shown to enhance the delivery of DNA plasmids by a 1000 fold using a millisecond pulse. A total of 39 mice were divided into 3 groups: (1) one group receiving HIF-1α DNA delivered with electroporation (EP) (n=13); (2) one group receiving HIF-1α DNA without EP (n=14) and (3) one group receiving a control empty plasmid (pVAX) delivered with EP (n=12). The left femoral artery in each mouse was tied up surgically to simulate an arterial blockage. The right legs were not treated and served as internal controls. The mice were then observed and scored for their limb function. Blood flow in their legs was measured by laser Doppler perfusion imaging.

The results demonstrated that EP delivery of synthetically optimized HIF-1α plasmid DNA significantly improved blood flow in the left hind legs and reduced necrosis (premature cell death) in a mouse model of hind limb ischemia when compared to the results from the two control groups. The treatment also improved survival from severe limb damage and amputation, reduced tissue damage, and increased the number of new capillaries and formation of larger collateral vessels


22.07.13 16:53

4713 Postings, 4110 Tage bierro@chali

Lol, wenn ich mir die Kurse in Deutschland so anschaue, glaube ich, dass ich der Einzige bin, der in letzter Zeit hier ein bisschen Geld reingesteckt hat.

Na, scheint zumindest heute ein bisschen Boden gutzumachen.  

22.07.13 17:12

21271 Postings, 4768 Tage Chalifmann3hi bierro !

Das wird auch noch ziemlich lange dauern,bis hier aktientechnisch der grosse durchbruch kommt,vielleicht machst du es wie ich und schichtest um in spectrum Pharmaceuticals,die sind nur doppelt so teuer,haben aber schon mehrere umsatzstarke Krebsmedikamente am Markt und einiges in Phase-3,ausserdem ein cashreiches Unternehmen,das Übernahmen tätigt und gerade auf 52 wochentief,was willst du mehr ?? Das wäre jedenfalls meine empfehlung an dich,lasst uns die Inovio mal 2-3 Jahre auf Eis legen und einfach abwarten ....


24.07.13 15:35

21271 Postings, 4768 Tage Chalifmann3Cancer Vaccine

BLUE BELL, Pa., July 24, 2013 /PRNewswire/ -- Inovio Pharmaceuticals, Inc. (NYSE MKT: INO) announced today that in a preclinical study with two animal models, Inovio's hTERT (human telomerase reverse transcriptase) DNA cancer vaccine administered with Inovio's CELLECTRA® adaptive electroporation delivery technology generated robust and broad immune responses, broke the immune system's tolerance to its self-antigens, induced T-cells with a tumor-killing function, and increased the rate of survival. Because high levels of hTERT expression are found in 85% of human cancers, regardless of type, Inovio's cancer candidate holds the potential to perform as a "universal" cancer therapeutic based on these early but unprecedented results. Following this strong preclinical data, Inovio plans to advance its synthetic hTERT cancer vaccine, INO-1400, into clinical trials in 2014.

These results appear in the American Association for Cancer Research journal, Cancer Immunology Research, in a paper entitled: "Highly optimized DNA vaccine targeting human telomerase reverse transcriptase stimulates potent antitumor immunity," authored by Inovio researchers and collaborators.

Dr. J. Joseph Kim, Inovio's president and CEO, said: "Inovio has demonstrated in multiple published human studies that our synthetically optimized DNA vaccines delivered with our CELLECTRA delivery system generate best-in-class T-cell immune responses. Here we show that in monkeys our hTERT DNA cancer vaccine generated T-cell immune responses more than 18-fold higher than the previous best results of a peer's hTERT therapeutic vaccine, which was also a DNA vaccine delivered with electroporation. We are particularly enthusiastic about our vaccine's potential use as a "universal" cancer therapeutic, given that hTERT is present in the vast majority of cancer types yet rare in normal cells. We plan to develop INO-1400 to treat breast and lung cancers and then expand to other cancer types. This hTERT therapy adds to a growing Inovio oncology franchise spearheaded by our phase II candidate, VGX-3100 for treating HPV-related pre-cancers and cancers, as well as our near clinical INO-5150 to treat prostate cancer."  

Data from both murine and human systems over the past 10 years have demonstrated that TERT-specific cytotoxic T-lymphocytes (CTLs) can recognize and kill TERT-expressing tumor cells in multiple types of cancers. In fact, previous research has shown that breast cancer patients who mounted an hTERT-specific CTL response exhibited significantly longer rates of survival. However, the immune system's tolerance of cancer cells and their associated antigens produced in the body, which exists to prevent autoimmune diseases, often restricts the immune system's antitumor response. A major challenge for cancer vaccine development has been to develop approaches to break this tolerance in tumor-bearing hosts. Recent advances in our understanding of antigen presentation and tolerance have led Inovio to create this synthetic DNA vaccine targeting the hTERT antigen.

Inovio constructed a highly optimized synthetic DNA vaccine with multiple proprietary features. Using its novel consensus design approach, two differentiating mutations were incorporated in the vaccine sequence to assist T-cells to more readily recognize self-made hTERT antigens and kill the cancer cells to which these antigens are attached (i.e. break tolerance). In addition, Inovio's use of a full length antigen DNA sequence encompasses multiple epitopes (parts of an antigen that are recognized by the immune system), potentially helping the immune system by providing multiple opportunities to overcome a tumor's ability to evade recognition by T-cells.

In the study, Inovio researchers confirmed that vaccination with Inovio's DNA vaccine delivered by adaptive electroporation induced hTERT-specific cellular immune responses with significantly greater T-cell magnitude compared to prior non-Inovio studies. Over four vaccinations there was a significant dose response, showing the value of multiple vaccinations to increase the immune response and highlighting the limitation of alternative technologies that are not amenable to multiple vaccinations such as viral vectors. Vaccination elicited multiple epitopes not only in mice, but also in monkeys, indicating a broad vaccine-induced immune response.

Study results showed that mice vaccinated with Inovio's DNA cancer vaccine and then challenged with a cancerous tumor experienced delayed tumor growth and longer overall survival compared with non-vaccinated mice. Mice first challenged with a tumor and then treated with the hTERT DNA vaccine displayed killing activity of the targeted cancer cells expressing the hTERT antigen, with no killing of normal cells that did not express the hTERT antigen. The treated mice experienced significantly smaller tumors and also longer overall survival. Vaccinated animal results were compared to a control group of animals that did not receive Inovio's DNA cancer vaccine.

In monkeys, whose TERT is 96% similar to human TERT and therefore a highly relevant model for immunotherapeutic vaccine development, the hTERT DNA vaccine elicited strong and broad TERT-specific immune responses and demonstrated the potential to eliminate tumor cells.

Overall, in these studies researchers observed that administration of a synthetic highly optimized hTERT DNA vaccine delivered with electroporation was capable of breaking immune tolerance, and eliciting robust and diverse antigen-specific CTLs, which are responsible for clearing cancerous cells, as well as a potent antitumor response. A favorable safety profile emerged from this study, showing that the vaccine-induced CTLs appeared not to be associated with any major toxicities or organ damage.

The expression of hTERT is thought to correlate with tumor survival and hTERT is associated with 85% of human tumors. Furthermore, there is growing recognition that it may be necessary to target stem cells that produce cancerous cells and recent studies have suggested that cancer stem or stem-like cells also express hTERT. These factors highlight the importance of an effective hTERT-targeting vaccine/immunotherapy and point to the potential benefit of Inovio's novel cancer vaccine


26.07.13 17:02

4713 Postings, 4110 Tage bierroLustig

Heute noch das Video mit dem CEO Kim angeschaut und nachgekauft. War klar, dass es dann erstmal runtergeht, grrr.....

Aber ich werde geduldig sein, zumindest ist INO schuldenfrei und nicht delistet, lol...


26.07.13 18:50

21271 Postings, 4768 Tage Chalifmann3hi bierro !

Wie kommst du auf delistet jetzt ? Meinst du wegen Affymax ? Ich werde übrigens erst in 2014 zu euch stossen,weil ich gerade jetzt bei Affy dabei sein will,hast du den Artikel gelesen,den ich gestern Nacht eingestellt habe ? Der Autor sieht genau wie ich gute Chancen auf eine rückkehr des blockbusters Omontys in den Markt und deshlab steigt AFFY,egal ob delistet oder nicht ....


28.07.13 02:03

21271 Postings, 4768 Tage Chalifmann3smalltalk


30.07.13 18:49

4713 Postings, 4110 Tage bierroChali

Nein, delistet hat nichts mit Affy zu tun, lediglich ein Seitenstich auf die Verfolger aus dem Injex-Thread, lol.....

Und INO ist heute 13 % im Plus! Merck kommt wieder ins Spiel.

Let the games begin!

P.S. Ich seh gerade, AFFY ist gleichauf - Glückwunsch!

Hm, man kann nicht überall sein.  

30.07.13 20:33

21271 Postings, 4768 Tage Chalifmann3Inovio May Prove To Be Merck's Solution

A recent article, posted here on Seeking Alpha, shed some light on Merck's (MRK) dwindling oncology franchise. The contributor offered solutions by listing several targets that could potentially steer Merck's oncology division in the right direction. Given my position in Inovio (INO) and their earlier relations to the large pharma, I decided to speculate on the possibility of these two companies working together again. Who knows, perhaps Inovio's consistent immune responses in its cancer trials may be the future growth catalyst Merck is seeking to remain relevant in the oncology field.

Merck feeling the effects of generic competition

In 2012, only 3% of Merck's $47 billion revenue came from cancer related drugs. Its two commercialized oncology products, Temodar and Emend, are victims of the patent expiries looming over the pharmaceutical sector. For the first quarter of 2013, Temodar, a treatment for brain tumors, saw a decline of 9% in comparison to the 2012 sales. This slump was a reflection of generic competition in Europe, as Temodar lost patent exclusivity in the EU during 2009. In August 2013, generic manufacturers may launch their own version of the brain cancer treatment in the US which will significantly erode Merck sales. Similarly, Emend, a preventive treatment of chemo-induced nausea and vomiting, will be facing a patent expiry in 2015. Combined, Merck could stand to lose over $1 billion in sales if it does not act accordingly. The need for a future catalyst capable of restoring the giant pharma's position in the oncology sector is evident.

Merck's area of interest will presumably include a firm that's developed an immunotherapy platform, as this is the current treatment being used on oncology patients. The company may have several options: acquire a late stage pharma that has presented clinical benefits nearing commercialization, or propose a partnership deal with an early stage biotech oozing with potential. As Amgen's failed $10 billion bid for Onyx illustrated, the former can get quite costly. Its alternative is to partner with a development stage company that is able to provide a promising pipeline.

A flourishing and widely-held example to the riskier approach of partnering with an early stage biotech is the agreement between Johnson & Johnson and Pharmacyclics (PCYC). Back in December of 2011 when the collaboration was announced, the blood cancer drug, ibrutinib, was in Phase II of clinical trials. The agreement rewarded PCYC with as much as $1 billion. Now, almost 600% has been added to the $7.5 billion market cap of the once early stage Pharmacyclics. JNJ is fighting for the drug to receive breakthrough designation which would knock two years off the FDA process and get it one step closer to the market.

Merck is no stranger to premium acquisitions that have yet to prove themselves commercially. Back in 2006, to the surprise of many, Merck took a necessary gamble with early stage biotech Sirna Therapeutics by dishing $1.1 billion for the company (a 100% premium). Sirna's potential breakthrough RNA interference (RNAi) technology had just won the 2006 Nobel Prize in medicine as advocates believed it would be the basis of treatments for a wide swath of illnesses. Nonetheless, it was a very rich deal for a company that was years away from a commercial therapy. In hindsight, the purchase was a failed attempt for Merck, but it shows that the large pharma will place deep wagers if it believes the target has the prospective to become a blockbuster drug.

Inovio: Tailored for partnership with Merck

The 2013 summer has been quite sizzling for Inovio investors who have seen shares rally more than 105%. In the last month, the company has continued validating its therapeutic vaccines by consistently announcing strong T-cell responses during trials. Eager investors were banking on these catalysts to support the development of Inovio's proprietary technology platform that would guide the stock to levels it hadn't seen in years. The company did not disappoint as it is nearing three-year highs on the premise of a rejuvenated pipeline.

To summarize how Inovio got to current level:

On July 10th, Inovio announced the peer-reviewed publication of results from its phase I trials of PENNVAX-B preventive HIV vaccine, confirming what Inovio had found earlier with its 2012 studies. The journal reaffirmed PENNVAX-B with best in class distinction as Inovio's vaccine, together with the CELLECTRA device, significantly increased the number of responders producing robust and durable T-cell responses in humans. As expected, the street took the news very well with shares jumping 25%.

About a week after the HIV results, on July 18th, Inovio revealed a new application of its CELLECTRA electroporation technology. Animal studies showed an enhanced ability of DNA therapy to stimulate blood vessel growth and recover from debilitation caused by blocked arteries in the legs. While this is early in studies, this new application may be beneficial for treatment of peripheral arterial disease (PAD), offering Inovio another promising therapeutic avenue for commercial opportunity. Shares continued their upswing momentum by increasing 4% on the release.

Inovio added to its oncology franchise on July 24th when it announced preclinical studies for its hTERT DNA cancer vaccine, administered with CELLECTRA, generated robust immune response and in turn increased the rate of survival in mice and monkeys. Inovio's vaccine generated immune responses more than 18-fold higher than the next best hTERT therapeutic vaccine. High levels of hTERT are found in 85% of human cancers which allow Inovio to develop a widespread cancer therapeutic based on these early results. Inovio plans to advance its synthetic hTERT vaccine into clinical trials in 2014 by focusing on breast and lung cancers before expanding to other cancer types. Shares rallied 17% for two days following the exciting report.

Inovio's diverse pipeline passes over any downtime in company buzz which gives investors frequent future catalysts to look forward to. Come September, Inovio is presenting at three investor conferences across nation to continue increasing exposure and getting more investors to share their vision of revolutionizing vaccines. The 2013 agenda will include the phase I initiation of INO-5150 that targets prostate cancer while the first quarter of 2014 will bring the results of Inovio's phase II candidate, VGX-3100 for treating HPV-related cancers. Although the Phase II data for VGX-3100 is still several months away, the cervical dysplasia vaccine is the most advanced independent therapeutic treatment in Inovio's pipeline. If all goes as planned, VGX-3100 may be INO's first commercialized product, providing the company with a consistent revenue stream. These approaching events will provide channels of information for Inovio to continue driving momentum on its side.

Given Merck's dire need for a stimulant to its oncology division, collaboration with Inovio would be ideal. Inovio's growing oncology franchise would provide Merck with access to treatments of cancer that may potentially be blockbusters. Sharing global profits in such a deal would be an obvious advantage, similar to how JNJ is hoping to gain with their Pharmacyclics alliance. Partnering for an early stage cancer treatment, such as Inovio's robust hTERT therapeutic vaccine, may prove to be a strategic investment that rewards Merck shareholders handsomely while saving the company billions that would otherwise be expended on an acquisition.

For Inovio, partnering with a large pharma offers financial and experienced assistance in developing their early stage drug candidates. Delivered funding would cover costs and in turn reduce any pressures to dilute shareholders in order to subsidize development. Not to mention the validation and confidence Inovio would receive from the partnership with a global industry leader. To support this speculation, however, while presenting at the onemedplace conference, Inovio CEO Joseph Kim brought up that the company is currently in late stage discussions with a large pharma to bring a value changing partnership. Dr. Kim's connections to Merck, having been a senior vaccine developer, and Inovio's licensing agreement with the large pharma for its electroporation technology in 2004 give good indication that the two may be nearing an agreement to work together again.


A looming partnership provides Inovio shareholders with a worthwhile catalyst that will carry on the recent momentum seen with its share price. Merck's need to restore its oncology division and the connections with Inovio make the potential partnership more than a speculative desire. Even if Inovio's partnership discussions are not with Merck, the company's sizzling summer is expected to continue.


GW Bierro ebenso !!  

30.07.13 21:38

4713 Postings, 4110 Tage bierroAFFY fällt zurück...

...während INO bereits die 25 % Marke überschritten hat. Ist das geil?  

30.07.13 21:46

4713 Postings, 4110 Tage bierro27,5 %

Und das Volumen unglaubliche 8,3 Mio!!  

30.07.13 21:49

21271 Postings, 4768 Tage Chalifmann3hi bierro


Nur das volumen am NASI zählt,das sind 13,5 Mio Stück,glückwunsch !!  

30.07.13 21:56

4713 Postings, 4110 Tage bierroTwitter

Es wird drüben verlautbart, dass INO den Seeking Alpha Artikel per Twitter verbreitet hat. Aber der SA-Artikel war breits per Börsenbeginn raus.

Sind die Tweeter zu langsam? Auf jeden Fall hält der Kurs - noch.    

30.07.13 22:03

4713 Postings, 4110 Tage bierroMeine Damen und Herren:

28,28 % Plus. Törröööööhh.........  

31.07.13 15:51

4713 Postings, 4110 Tage bierroUnd weiter geht´s

Pre-market war kurzzeitig fast 7 % im Minus, aber jetzt geht´s up: Unfassbare 17 %, ich komm gar nicht nach!

Chali, super Tipp von Dir!  

01.08.13 14:51

56 Postings, 2492 Tage Corporate_Raidergehts heute weiter up?

was meint ihr?
geht's heute nochmal richtig hoch?  

05.08.13 22:29

21271 Postings, 4768 Tage Chalifmann3Jetzt bloss nicht gierig werden

Als Threaderöffner sollte ich gerade jetzt vielleicht eine kleine Warnung aussprechen: An Gewinnmitnahmen ist noch keiner gestorben,jetzt wäre es an der Zeit welche zu machen,INO kostet 3 dollar und ist 525 mio.-$ wert,sprich die aktie wird gerade massiv und grundlos gehypt,denn der nächste wichtige Catalyst kommt erst in Q1 2014,meiner Meinung nach sind hier die zocker am Werk,die auf den schnellen dollar aus sind und sowieso nicht langfrisatig halten wollen,also ............ !

Viel glück !!


05.08.13 22:57

33 Postings, 3918 Tage AntalAktueller Stand

05.08.13 23:27

174 Postings, 4253 Tage seftalihalloooo...

Marktgerücht: Inovio Pharma könnte das Objekt einer Übernahme sein.  

06.08.13 00:36

21271 Postings, 4768 Tage Chalifmann3Hast

du dir das Marktgerücht selber ausgedacht ,seftali,weil dein Dönershop mehr Geld braucht,hm ? Ich bitte dich: Lass doch hier diesen Unsinn,dummpusher brauchen wir hier keine .........  

06.08.13 07:48

1555 Postings, 4201 Tage qbaseNatürlich wird mit dieser Aktie gezockt

Und das nicht erst seit gestern, sondern seit ein paar Jahren. ;)

06.08.13 15:42

174 Postings, 4253 Tage seftaliHey Calikman der dritte....

oder wie du dich selber nennen willst geh in den sandkasten spielen damit die anderen was besseres lesen kann.Staat hier dein selbstgespräche zu lesen.

06.08.13 16:48

21271 Postings, 4768 Tage Chalifmann3Ein kleiner witz von INO heute

BLUE BELL, Pa., Aug. 6, 2013 /PRNewswire/ -- Inovio Pharmaceuticals, Inc. (NYSE MKT: INO) announced today that in view of the unusual market activity in the company's stock, the Exchange has contacted the company in accordance with its usual practice. The company stated that its policy is not to comment on unusual market activity

Ha Ha Ha  

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