Inovio Pharmaceuticals Inc (NASDAQ:INO) announced an interim data analysis showing that its INO-3112 DNA-based immunotherapy generated specific T-cell responses and was well tolerated in all evaluable patients with head and neck cancer associated with human papillomavirus (HPV) types 16 and 18.

The immunology results show that INO-3112 generated robust HPV16/18 specific CD8+ T cell responses and antibodies against HPV16/18 in all 10 tested patients who received all treatments. These results will be presented today and tomorrow at the 30th Anniversary Annual Meeting of the Society for Immunotherapy of Cancer inNational Harbor, MD and on Nov 20-22 at the European Society for Medical Oncology Symposium on Immuno-Oncology in Lausanne, Switzerland.

INO-3112, an active immunotherapy targeting HPV 16/18 combined with a DNA plasmid for IL-12 as an immune activator, is designed to activate patient’s immune responses to specifically kill HPV associated tumors. In this phase I/IIa study, patients with HPV positive head and neck cancer received INO-3112 once every three weeks for a total of four injections.

The characteristics of these immune response data mirror those previously observed in a phase II clinical study of VGX-3100 for HPV-associated cervical dysplasia. In that study, strong CD8+ T cell immune responses were positively correlated with achievement of primary and secondary efficacy endpoints. Data from that trial was recently published in a peer-reviewed article in The Lancet. This publication details that VGX-3100 is the first therapy to demonstrate that activated killer T cells induced in the body have the power to clear neoplastic lesions as well as the virus which caused the disease.

Dr. Charu Aggarwal, MD, MPH, Assistant Professor of Medicine, Medical Oncologist at Abramson Cancer Center,University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia and the principal investigator of this study said, “These results are in line with our hypothesis that DNA immunotherapy would lead to activation of the immune system. We are excited to follow these patients and learn about long-term results with this immunotherapy.”

Dr. J. Joseph Kim, Inovio’s President and CEO, said, “These results demonstrate we’re on the right path using our DNA immunotherapies to fight cancer. In immuno-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.”

This open label study is intended to assess the safety, tolerability, and immunogenicity of INO-3112 in up to twenty five 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. This study currently continues patient enrollment at Abramson Cancer Center of University of Pennsylvania in Philadelphia. In August 2015, Inovio licensed INO-3112 to MedImmune, the global biologics research and development arm of AstraZeneca, for an upfront payment of $27.5 million, $700 million in potential development and commercial milestone payments, and royalties on INO-3112 product sales. (Original Source)

Shares of Inovio Pharmaceuticals are up 8.97% to $7.17 in pre-market trading. INO has a 1-year high of $11.65 and a 1-year low of $5.32. The stock’s 50-day moving average is $6.42 and its 200-day moving average is $7.61.

On the ratings front, Inovio has been the subject of a number of recent research reports. In a report issued on September 22, Maxim Group analyst Jason McCarthy reiterated a Buy rating on INO, with a price target of $23, which implies an upside of 249.5% from current levels. Separately, on August 10, 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 McCarthy and Jonathan Aschoff have a total average return of -2.3% and -1.9% respectively. McCarthy has a success rate of 45.5% and is ranked #3027 out of 3824 analysts, while Aschoff has a success rate of 41.6% and is ranked #3377.

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.