Inovio Pharmaceuticals Inc’s (INO) Universal Flu Vaccine Could Offer “Great Value to the General Public,” Says Analyst


Inovio Pharmaceuticals Inc (NASDAQ:INO) shares rocketed 22% yesterday following preclinical success for the company’s synthetic flu vaccine- a prospective universal flu vaccine that could translate to patients no longer needing vaccine shifts each season.

H.C. Wainwright analyst Ram Selvaraju finds the news “encouraging,” especially for a vaccine so effective it responds to every key terminal strain of H1 influenza viruses over the last 100 years- even the widespread 1918 flu that spread to 500 million people across the globe.

In reaction, the analyst maintains a Buy rating on INO with a $13 price target, which implies a close to 129% upside from where the shares last closed. (To watch Selvaraju’s track record, click here)

“In our view, this flu vaccine is yet another validation of the company’s ASPIRE™ (Antigen SPecific Immune REsponses) technology platform and suggests the potential for a universal and broadly protective influenza vaccine for seasonal epidemics. Of note, the current flu season is mainly caused by H3N2, according to Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), and the available vaccine is about 30% effective against H3N2,” highlights the analyst.

“Clearly, there is an unmet medical need in protecting the public from seasonal flu. Investors may know that the FDA chooses what viral strains to put into the flu shot based on recommendations from the World Health Organization. However, the influenza virus often mutates and does not get recognized by immune responses elicited by the vaccine. Therefore, a universal flu vaccine that offers continued immune protection across seasons is of great value to the general public, in our view, and the initial data from Inovio’s synthetic DNA vaccine is a solid step towards that goal,” Selvaraju concludes.

TipRanks shows Wall Street goes to the bulls on this biotech player, with all 7 analysts polled in the last 12 months rating a Buy on Inovio Pharmaceuticals stock. The 12-month average price target stands at $12.14, marking a nearly 114% upside from where the stock is currently trading.  

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