Inovio Pharmaceuticals Inc (NASDAQ:INO) announced strategic leadership appointments to support the advancement of its portfolio of DNA-based cancer immunotherapies and infectious disease vaccines. Inovio has an extensive pipeline of clinical-stage cancer immunotherapies highlighted by VGX-3100, which is entering phase III this year; and DNA vaccines in development for Zika, MERS and HIV, among others.

Inovio adds two oncologists and a plasmid manufacturing expert reporting to Inovio’s Chief Medical Officer, Dr.Mark Bagarazzi:

  • Dr. Ildiko Csiki will serve Inovio as Vice President, Clinical Development, Oncology, responsible for advancing Inovio’s cancer programs. Prior to joining Inovio, Dr. Csiki had been clinical lead and senior director of clinical research at Merck & Co. where she guided Merck’s global solid tumor development program and was lead for several registration studies. Dr. Csiki also served as GSK’s director of clinical development and lead physician for the follicular lymphoma program. Dr. Csiki earned her MD and PhD degrees from Vanderbilt University School of Medicine and her BS in Biology and BA in Psychology from the University of Arkansas.
  • Dr. Jeffrey Skolnik, Vice President, Clinical Development, Oncology, will also direct Inovio’s cancer immunotherapy programs. Dr. Skolnik was previously vice president of clinical research at TetraLogic Pharmaceuticals, where he oversaw all global clinical assets. He also served as a medical director at GSK andAstraZeneca. Dr. Skolnik earned his MD at New York University, with honors in pathology, and his undergraduate degree from the University of Pennsylvania.
  • Robert J. Juba Jr. has been promoted to Vice President, Biological Manufacturing and Clinical Supply Management, and is responsible for ensuring the provision of Inovio’s SynCon® plasmid DNA therapeutic and prophylactic vaccine candidates for clinical use. He has 22 years of experience in the pharmaceutical industry managing cGMP processes and operations, with extensive technical expertise in bacterial vaccine manufacturing. He led plasmid manufacturing at VGXI, Inc. and held several positions at Merck in bulk vaccine manufacturing operations and strategy. He holds Masters and BS degrees in Chemical Engineering from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.

Inovio has also bolstered its manufacturing and business development functions with two additional staff reporting to Dr. Niranjan Sardesai, Inovio’s Chief Operating Officer:

  • Daniel Jordan will serve as Inovio’s Vice President, Device Manufacturing Operations. Previously he was vice president of U.S. and Canadian operations at Verisk Analytics, a 3M company. He has over 25 years of medical device manufacturing operations experience in early growth to mature organizations. Most recently he served as executive director of global operations at Teleflex Medical, a diversified medical device manufacturer. He earned an MBA in Finance from Weber University and a BS in Business Management atSan Diego State University.
  • Dr. Paul Stead, Inovio’s Vice President, Business Development, will lead business development and partnering activities. He was vice president, business development at Nimbus Therapeutics, a company developing novel treatments for metabolic and immunological diseases, and oncology. For more than 20 years he served GSK in roles of increasing responsibility including business development, competitive intelligence and discovery chemistry. He holds an MBA from Lehigh University, a PhD in pharmaceutical sciences from the University of Nottingham, and a BS in Pharmacy from the University of Bath.

Dr. J. Joseph Kim, Inovio’s President & CEO, said, “We welcome these talented and experienced technical and business leaders to Inovio as we work to bring new breakthrough cancer medicines and vaccines to patients. It is gratifying that Inovio’s corporate culture, validated platform, and important product pipeline are attracting such accomplished executives to help us execute our product development and commercialization strategy.” (Original Source)

Shares of Inovio Pharmaceuticals closed yesterday at $9.07, down $0.43 or -4.53%. INO has a 1-year high of $11.69 and a 1-year low of $4.50. The stock’s 50-day moving average is $9.23 and its 200-day moving average is $9.63.

On the ratings front, INO stock has been the subject of a number of recent research reports. In a report issued on October 4, Brean Capital analyst Jason Wittes initiated coverage with a Buy rating on INO and a price target of $18, which represents a potential upside of 98.5% from where the stock is currently trading. Separately, on August 29, H.C. Wainwright’s Ram Selvaraju reiterated a Buy rating on the stock and has a price target of $17.

According to, which ranks over 7,500 financial analysts and bloggers to gauge the performance of their past recommendations, Jason Wittes and Ram Selvaraju have a total average return of 6.6% and 2.3% respectively. Wittes has a success rate of 57% and is ranked #480 out of 4183 analysts, while Selvaraju has a success rate of 46% and is ranked #1059.

Overall, one research analyst has assigned a Hold rating and 3 research analysts have given a Buy rating to the stock. When considering if perhaps the stock is under or overvalued, the average price target is $17.50 which is 92.9% above where the stock closed yesterday.

Inovio Pharmaceuticals, Inc. is a bio-pharmaceutical company, which develops active DNA immunotherapies for cancer and infectious diseases. Its portfolio of immune therapies include SynCon immunotherapies and electroporation delivery systems.