Inovio Pharmaceuticals Inc (NASDAQ:INO) announced that it has initiated a phase I trial to evaluate Inovio’s DNA immunotherapy in men with biochemically relapsed prostate cancer. The launch of this human trial follows strong pre-clinical results revealing that INO-5150 generated robust CD8+ T cell responses in animal studies including non-human primates. The immune responses generated by INO-5150 were similar in character to immune responses generated by VGX-3100, Inovio’s immunotherapy for human papillomavirus (HPV) that regressed pre-cancerous cervical lesions and eliminated HPV in a randomized, placebo-controlled phase II trial.

INO-5150 is a novel SynCon® immunotherapy for prostate cancer targeting two antigens, prostate specific antigen (PSA) and prostate specific membrane antigen (PSMA), present in the majority of prostate cancer cells. This phase I study will evaluate the safety, tolerability, and immunogenicity of INO-5150 alone or in combination with INO-9012, Inovio’s DNA-based IL-12 immune activator. The multi-centered study will also evaluate changes in PSA levels, an important biomarker in prostate cancer.

INO-5150 was generated using Inovio’s proprietary SynCon® process to enable significant production of PSA and PSMA antigens with genetic sequences differentiated from native human PSA and PSMA sequences. This patented approach is designed to help the body’s immune system overcome its “self-tolerance” to prostate cancer cells and mount a strong targeted CD8+ killer T cell response to eliminate the cancerous cells displaying these antigens.

Dr. J. Joseph Kim, President and CEO, said, “Inovio is focused on taking immunotherapy to the next level. Inovio is the only immunotherapy company that is generating T cells, in vivo, in high quantity that are fully functional whose killing capacity correlates with relevant clinical outcomes. With positive results from our phase II study of VGX-3100, Inovio’s active immunotherapy technology is a promising approach to treat various solid tumors by targeting the most important antigens for a particular tumor. Today’s launch of our SynCon® prostate cancer immunotherapy builds on Inovio’s current trials for several difficult-to-treat cancers including head and neck, cervical, breast, lung, and pancreatic cancer.” (Original Source)

Shares of Inovio Pharmaceuticals closed last Friday at $7.06. 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 $8.11 and its 200-day moving average is $8.35.

On the ratings front, Inovio Pharmaceuticals has been the subject of a number of recent research reports. In a report issued on July 23, Maxim Group analyst Jason Kolbert reiterated a Buy rating on INO, with a price target of $20, which represents a potential upside of 183.3% from where the stock is currently trading. Separately, on May 11, Brean Murray Carret’s Jonathan Aschoff reiterated a Buy rating on the stock and has a price target of $20.

According to, which ranks over 7,500 financial analysts and bloggers to gauge the performance of their past recommendations, Jason Kolbert and Jonathan Aschoff have a total average return of -2.9% and 13.1% respectively. Kolbert has a success rate of 35.8% and is ranked #3519 out of 3712 analysts, while Aschoff has a success rate of 54.7% and is ranked #158.

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.