Inovio: A Biotech Bet for New World Investors

04/18/2019 5:00 am EST


Michael Murphy

Editor, New World Investor

In a recent press release, Inovio (INO) said they completed enrollment three months ahead of schedule in the Phase 1/2, 52-patient trial of INO-5401 for newly-diagnosed glioblastoma, asserts Michael Murphy, growth stock expert and editor of New World Investor.

There hasn’t been much progress against brain cancer for 10 years. We’ll see interim results before the end of this year.

In addition, they presented a poster at the American Association for Cancer Research annual meeting showing their DNA-Encoded Bi-specific T-Cell Engagers (dBiTEs) generated potent anti-tumor activities in a preclinical study.

dBiTEs are like a double-sided tape that binds to a tumor and to a cancer-killing T-cell. This double-binding activity drives T-cell activation directly at the tumor resulting in a killing function and tumor destruction.

A novel dBiTE targeting the HER2 molecule was tested in therapeutic mouse models for the treatment of ovarian and breast cancers.

A single dose of Inovio’s HER2 dBiTE resulted in high levels of the corresponding BiTE in mice for four months, far exceeding what is typically displayed with conventional BiTE’s short half-life of only about two hours.

The HER2 dBiTE effectively generated T-cell cytotoxicity against HER2-expressing tumor cells resulting in near-complete tumor clearance.

The firm recently said that INO-3106 against the human papillomavirus type 6 (HPV 6) demonstrated clinical efficacy in a study of two patients with recurrent respiratory papillomatosis (RRP).

RRP is a rare, orphan, HPV-associated disease that can cause noncancerous tumor growths leading to life-threatening airway obstructions, and occasionally progresses to cancer.

Currently, the disease is incurable and can only be treated by surgery to remove the tumors, which temporarily restores the airway. The tumor always recurs and the surgery must be repeated, usually multiple times a year.

In the two patients with RRP, their condition had required surgery approximately every six months to clear the tumor growths.

Following their last dose of Inovio’s HPV therapy, both patients have been surgery-free, due to lack of tumor recurrence. One patient has not needed surgery for over two years; the other has been surgery-free for over one year.

The stock's primary risk is that heir drugs fail in the clinic. Meanwhile, we consider the stock a "Buy" under $6 a share for a very long-term hold.

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