Inovio Pharmaceuticals (INO) shares have been in the spotlight during the early-goings of 2013 and are positioned to remain there as America's flu season continues to make headlines. This year's flu outbreak has already hit well more than the majority of all fifty states and is expected to get worse as the season progresses. As discussed earlier in the year, this development is likely to draw attention to companies with flu vaccines in development and Inovio has already gained early acclaim for its clinical-stage universal flu vaccine technology. When such flu outbreaks occur - remember the swine flu - it's not unusual to see the share prices of these developmental flu vaccine companies run, based not only on the potential that the vaccine holds in itself, but because the government also steps in with grant money to hasten the development of a potential vaccine. Investing in a company based on the potential for a short term trade to materialize on such developments is highly speculative, but the percentage gains that can be had with such moves are often significant. Another benefit, though, is that attention can be drawn to pipelines that may otherwise be flying below the radar. Inovio may be benefiting from both scenarios right now. Already this year INO has traded for prices roughly twenty five percent higher then where they began the year as volume moved in heavy last week to support the move. This trading action will again have the stock as a hot one to watch moving into the new trading week.
Inovio's pipeline, including the universal flu vaccine, is based on its proprietary SynCon technology. SynCon is a platform from which the company has developed numerous synthetic vaccines intended to treat numerous infectious diseases and cancer types and Inovio has already successfully attracted a few collaborative efforts, as six of these programs in development are funded by third parties. Three are in the Phase II stages of development. Inovio may benefit this year from its evolution from a 'Phase II' play to a pure late-stage developmental play, as the three pipeline programs in Phase II will reach the latter stages of that milestone mark as the year progresses. Investors often take note that Phase II pipelines are still considered years away from market, but some of the most impressive investment gains in the biotech/small pharma sector are had when successful Phase II and/or Phase III trials are announced. Even considering the recent run, INO is still trading at relatively speculative levels and could attract the interest of those looking to play future catalysts or simply hold for the future as this deep pipeline develops.
Shares moved higher again to open the new trading week on Monday, with another move of about seven percent. Volume was only a tad above average, but evidence is there that INO is gaining increased attention as the month progresses. Already a significant gainer for the new year.
Still one to keep an eye on.
Disclosure: Long INO.
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