In a research note issued yesterday, Brean Capital analyst Jonathan Aschoff reiterated a Buy rating on shares of Inovio Pharmaceuticals Inc (NASDAQ:INO) with a price target of $18, after the small biotech company released its second-quarter results and provided an update on its clinical trial progress.

Inovio completed end-of-Phase 2 meetings with both the FDA and European Medicines Agency (EMA) back in April, with both agencies discussing the development plan of the firm’s pipeline drug, VGX-3100, a therapeutic synthetic DNA vaccine treatment targeting cervical dysplasia caused by the human papillomavirus (HPV). Aschoff finds Inovio “on track” to initiate a Phase 3 trial in its fourth quarter following affirmative opinions from the FDA and EMA on the pipeline.

INO’s commercial design for the intramuscular immunotherapy delivery to be administered for the Phase 3 trial has been finalized, with the firm to reveal the official design plans at initiation. Aschoff notes that Inovio’s fourth quarter will include several clinical read-outs that will prove significant, from its multi-center Phase 1 Zika virus vaccine (GLS-5700) trial, designed to treat the major ongoing epidemic in North and South America causing devastating birth defects. Interim immune response and safety data for the vaccine will be forthcoming. Additionally due for fourth-quarter are results for INO-3112, in Phase 1 to test HPV immunotherapy in head and neck cancer.

The analyst notes, “Inovio and GeneOne Life Science completed enrollment of 75 healthy volunteers in the Phase 1 trial of their GLS-5300 MERS vaccine, with interim data expected in 4Q16. Interim results are also expected in 4Q16 from the Phase 1 trial of INO-5150 for prostate cancer targeting PSMA and PSA, now fully enrolled. Inovio ended 2Q16 with $134.5 million in cash, which should be sufficient to support its operations into 2018, including the $80 million in costs associated with the Phase 3 trial of VGX-3100.”

Overall, Aschoff remains bullish on Inovio’s clinical progress. Looking into the next quarter, the analyst believes, “We expect Inovio to combine this newly acquired technology with its current electroporation devices and optimize its delivery device in the long run.”

According to TipRanks, Jonathan Aschoff is ranked #3,997 out 4,105 analysts. Aschoff has a 37% success rate and loses 10.9% in his average returns. When recommending INO, Aschoff loses 13.4% in average profits on the stock.

TipRanks analytics exhibit INO as a Buy. Based on 3 analysts polled in the last 3 months, 2 rate a Buy and 1 maintains a Hold. The 12-month average price target stands at $17.00, marking a nearly 82% upside from where the stock is currently trading.

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