Inovio Covid vaccine has ‘virtually no chance,’ says Roth Capital

Roth Capital analyst Jonathan Aschoff “strongly” believes Inovio Pharmaceuticals has “virtually no chance” of being selected over more traditional technologies given the “formidable competition” in developing a vaccine to prevent SARS-CoV-2 infection. Inovio’s product candidates will have no worthwhile utility, Aschoff tells investors in a research note titled “Simply Not the Horse to Bet On.” Further, the company’s VGX-3100, while a potential positive Phase 3 headline in Q4, is “destined to be a commercial failure, if approved,” adds the analyst. Aschoff “aggressively” reiterates a Sell rating on Inovio with an $11 price target. The stock closed Wednesday up 36% to $18.52.

The analyst notes the shares have roughly double over the past week or so, with much of the optimism coming from positive CEO comments made at a recent investment conference. Aschoff, however does not believe a vaccine requiring an electroporating device is commercially competitive against vaccines that do not, regardless of Inovio’s “ability to make highly stable vaccine material.” And even though INO-4800 was eventually included in Operation Warp Speed, where is the associated money such as has been received by other companies included in the program, asks the analyst.

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