Inovio Pharmaceuticals Breaks Past Resistance on Heavy Volume

Joel Anderson  |

Inovio Pharmaceuticals (INO) , a pharmaceutical company specializing in developing synthetic vaccines, saw shares gain as much as 10 percent on Friday, breaking past a key technical barrier that could be a sign of real strength. Shares were trading on heavy volume, with almost 12.5 million moving by 1 pm against a daily average of 4.6 million.

Inovio finished Thursday at $2.90 a share and opened Friday at $2.98 a share, very close to a resistance level at $3 that the stock had hit and fallen off of three times since early-August of last year. Once the stock broke past $3, gains continued to build on themselves. Breaking past resistance at $3 could also indicate a positive breakout from a triangle pattern that could mean good things for Inovio investors.

The company’s product pipeline is focused on the development of synthetic, DNA vaccines that may present a new method for treating a number of cancers and infectious diseases. The company’s website describes them as follows:

“These highly optimized synthetic vaccines are able to induce strong antibody and T-cell responses. With their novel design of consensus antigens, these vaccines may enable our immune systems to protect against changing strains of a pathogen such as influenza or fight against cancerous cells. Our R&D efforts are revolutionizing vaccines and may forever change the course of modern medicine.”

The novel treatment could present a new approach to cancer and diseases that affect the immune system, and the company is currently running clinical trials for vaccines to treat cervical dysplasia, HIV, influenza, malaria, hepatitis B and C, cervical cancer, head and neck cancer, prostate cancer, breast cancer, lung cancer, and pancreatic cancer.

“We are the leader in this new field of synthetic therapies,” CEO Dr. J. Joseph Kim told in September 2013.

Inovio was also in the news this week, with the announcement on Wednesday that the company would be presenting at Cowen and Company 34th Annual Health Care Conference, held in Boston from March 3-5. The company also announced on Tuesday that it made two appointments to its senior management team, Dr. Laurent Humeau as Vice President of R&D and Dr. Jan Marie-Albert Van Tornout as Vice President of Clinical Development.

Critics of the company are fast to point out that it has existed for over 30 years without successfully bringing a product to market, but its backers argue that the long, difficult process of developing a novel treatment like synthetic vaccines will pay off in the end given the scientific breakthrough they could represent.

The company already scored a victory in late November when its vaccine for the infectious Middle East Respiratory Syndrome showed “robust and durable” immune responses in mice, and the company was among health care’s best performers last year, almost sextupling in value on the year.

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