In an Oct. 18 research note, analyst Ram Selvaraju with H.C. Wainwright & Co. reported that IInovio Pharmaceuticals Inc. (INO:NASDAQ) received two U.S. patents for its DNA-encoded monoclonal antibody (dMAb) technology, the first ever granted, and was awarded a $2.2 million grant from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation to further dMAb research.
Regarding the technology, an animal study showed that dMAbs that specifically targeted the CTLA-4 protein in mice "could be robustly expressed in vivo and shrank tumors" and that expression was prolonged, for longer than a year, noted Selvaraju. These study results were recently published in Cancer Research.
Specifically, Inovio's ipilimumab and tremelimumab, dMAbs for anti-human CTLA-4 antibodies, achieved high expression levels in mice, and that expression also was of a long duration. "This is the first time the dMAb technology is shown to generate monoclonal antibody-based therapies targeting checkpoint inhibitors, and the results bode well for additional dMAb being developed to target other checkpoint molecules such as PD-1," Selvaraju pointed out.
The ultimate goal is for dMAbs, when delivered intracellularly via electroporation, is to enable, through their genetic instructions, a human patient's own cells to manufacture therapeutic monoclonal antibodies. Were this to prove successful, Selvaraju suggested, it could "do away with complex manufacturing and frequent dosing associated with MAb therapies being marketed today" and would allow for "broader access to immunotherapies." Inovio's first dMAb trial in humans is slated to launch in 2019.
Selvaraju reiterated H.C. Wainwright's Buy rating and $13 per share price target on Inovio, whose stock is trading now at around $5.44 per share.[NLINSERT]
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Disclosures from H.C. Wainwright & Co., Inovio Pharmaceuticals Inc., Company Update, October 18, 2018
Investment Banking Services include, but are not limited to, acting as a manager/co-manager in the underwriting or placement of securities, acting as financial advisor, and/or providing corporate finance or capital markets-related services to a company or one of its affiliates or subsidiaries within the past 12 months.
I, Raghuram Selvaraju, Ph.D. and Yi Chen, Ph.D. CFA , certify that 1) all of the views expressed in this report accurately reflect my personal views about any and all subject securities or issuers discussed; and 2) no part of my compensation was, is, or will be directly or indirectly related to the specific recommendation or views expressed in this research report; and 3) neither myself nor any members of my household is an officer, director or advisory board member of these companies.
None of the research analysts or the research analyst's household has a financial interest in the securities of Inovio Pharmaceuticals, Inc. (including, without limitation, any option, right, warrant, future, long or short position).
As of September 30, 2018 neither the Firm nor its affiliates beneficially own 1% or more of any class of common equity securities of Inovio Pharmaceuticals, Inc.
Neither the research analyst nor the Firm has any material conflict of interest in of which the research analyst knows or has reason to know at the time of publication of this research report.
The research analyst principally responsible for preparation of the report does not receive compensation that is based upon any specific investment banking services or transaction but is compensated based on factors including total revenue and profitability of the Firm, a substantial portion of which is derived from investment banking services.
The Firm or its affiliates did not receive compensation from Inovio Pharmaceuticals, Inc. for investment banking services within twelve months before, but will seek compensation from the companies mentioned in this report for investment banking services within three months following publication of the research report.
The Firm does not make a market in Inovio Pharmaceuticals, Inc. as of the date of this research report.