Inovio (INO) Initiates Phase I Study on Hepatitis C Vaccine

Inovio Pharmaceuticals, Inc.INO along with Korean partner GeneOne Life Science announced that it has dosed the first patient in a phase I study, evaluating its hepatitis C vaccine GLS-6150 to boost immunity in patients. Both companies are jointly developing the world's first vaccine to prevent hepatitis C infection.

Korean pharma company GeneOne Life Science has already started enrolling patients in South Korea and will be responsible for conducting and funding the phase I trial to evaluate the vaccine in patients, previously treated and cured of the virus.

The open label phase I study will enroll 24 subjects, who showed a sustained virologic response (SVR) after undergoing the treatment for hepatitis C. Patients will be administered with one of two doses of vaccine, 1 or 2 mg, intradermally followed by electroporation with Cellectra-3P device. The company expects to report data from the program in 2019.

Shares of Inovio have rallied 27.3% year to date versus the industry's decrease of 1.7%.

Last month, Inovio dosed the first patient in a phase I/II analysis, evaluating its HIV vaccine Pennvax-GP's ability to result in remission of HIV. The vaccine targets all major HIV strains with a potential capacity to improve the human immune system and control HIV without antiretroviral therapy.

This HIV trial was part of a $6.95-million grant received from the National Institutes of Health's National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases.

Notably, Inovio has no approved product in its portfolio and is heavily dependent on its partners to fund the development of its pipeline candidates. Its lead pipeline candidate, VGX-3100 vaccine, is being evaluated for the treatment of cervical dysplasia.

VGX-3100, an HPV immunotherapy, is currently being assessed in a phase III trial for treating cervical dysplasia, caused by human papillomavirus (HPV). VGX-3100 is the most advanced candidate in the company's pipeline.

Inovio is also conducting a pivotal phase III REVEAL program to evaluate the safety and efficacy of VGX-3100 for treating cervical dysplasia caused by HPV. Another phase II scrutiny involves examining the efficacy of VGX-3100 on women affected with HPV-related vulvar neoplasia.

Apart from VGX-3100, Inovio has several candidates in its pipeline under an early-to-mid-stage development.

In June, Inovio began a phase I/II study to appraise the safety, immunogenicity and preliminary efficacy of INO-5401 combined with Regeneron's REGN cemiplimab on participants suffering glioblastoma, which is newly diagnosed.

Zacks Rank & Other Stocks to Consider

Inovio currently carries a Zacks Rank #2 (Buy). Other two top-ranked stocks in the healthcare sector are Gilead Sciences, Inc. GILD and Illumina, Inc. ILMN , both sporting a Zacks Rank #1 (Strong Buy). You can see the complete list of today's Zacks #1 Rank stocks here .

Gilead Sciences' earnings estimates have been moved 7.7% north for 2018 and 1.9% for 2019 over the past 60 days. The stock has gained 5.7% year to date.

Illumina's earnings estimates have been revised 12.1% upward for 2018 and 10% for 2019 over the past 60 days. The stock has soared 62.4% so far this year.

Inovio Pharmaceuticals, Inc. Price and Consensus

Inovio Pharmaceuticals, Inc. Price and Consensus | Inovio Pharmaceuticals, Inc. Quote

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The views and opinions expressed herein are the views and opinions of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Nasdaq, Inc.

The views and opinions expressed herein are the views and opinions of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Nasdaq, Inc.

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