Inovio Pharmaceuticals Inc (NASDAQ:INO) announced preliminary data showing that its INO-3112 DNA-based immunotherapy generated strong CD8+ T cell responses in 3 of 4 patients with head and neck cancer associated with human papillomavirus (HPV) types 16 and 18. INO-3112, an active immunotherapy that targets HPV 16 and 18 and simultaneously expresses IL-12, is designed to activate in vivo (in the body) immune responses to antigens from high risk HPV types and eliminate precancerous and cancerous cells displaying these antigens. The data, which are T cell measurements from the first four treated patients of this phase I/IIa study, are being presented today at the World Vaccine Congress 2015 by Inovio’s COO, Dr. Niranjan Y. Sardesai.
These positive results represent the first study and first report of T cell immune responses generated in cancer patients after treatment with an Inovio DNA immunotherapy. The magnitude and characteristics of these interim immune response data mirror immune responses previously observed in human studies of VGX-3100 for HPV-associated cervical dysplasia; in a placebo-controlled phase II study, strong T cell immune responses were positively correlated with achievement of primary and secondary efficacy endpoints.
Dr. J. Joseph Kim, Inovio’s President and CEO, said, “This initial data set from Inovio’s first cancer study provides encouraging evidence that we are on an important path to better optimized immunotherapy products. Regardless of whether it is an infectious disease, a precancer, or a cancer: the immune system uses the same mechanism to eliminate infected or mutated cells. In immune-oncology, it’s all about the T cells. Here we show in cancer patients that we can generate antigen-specific CD8+ killer T cell responses, which are essential to an effective immunotherapy.
“We look forward to completing our currently enrolling studies for HPV-associated head & neck and cervical cancers, completing the preparations for our planned phase III study for cervical precancer, and launching new studies for hepatitis B and prostate cancer that all rely on the same targeted T-cell-based killing activity.”
This open label study of HPV-caused head and neck cancer is intended to assess the safety, tolerability, and immunogenicity of INO-3112 in up to twenty adults with HPV-positive head and neck squamous cell carcinoma. The study (NCT02163057) includes patients who are being treated with INO-3112 before and after resection of their tumor as well as patients being treated with INO-3112 after completion of chemotherapy and radiation therapy. (Original Source)
Shares of Inovio closed yesterday at $9.72 . INO has a 1-year high of $13.04 and a 1-year low of $6.33. The stock’s 50-day moving average is $7.85 and it’s 200-day moving average is $9.19.
On the ratings front, Inovio has been the subject of a number of recent research reports. In a report issued on March 16, Brean Murray Carret analyst Jonathan Aschoff reiterated a Buy rating on INO, with a price target of $20, which implies an upside of 105.8% from current levels. Separately, on March 12, H.C. Wainwright’s Yi Chen initiated coverage with a Buy rating on the stock and has a price target of $17.
According to TipRanks.com, which ranks over 7,500 financial analysts and bloggers to gauge the performance of their past recommendations, Jonathan Aschoff and Yi Chen have a total average return of 10.1% and 9.6% respectively. Aschoff has a success rate of 54.1% and is ranked #331 out of 3571 analysts, while Chen has a success rate of 80.0% and is ranked #1488.
Inovio Pharmaceuticals Inc is a clinical stage biopharmaceutical company. The Company develops active DNA immunotherapies and vaccines in combination with proprietary electroporation delivery devices to prevent and treat cancers and infectious diseases.