Carson Block and Muddy Waters Research are out with another hit piece. This time it’s on Inovio stock.
MW is short $INO. Stock ramped on hype around Covid vaccine. A recent court decision against INO makes it clear that INO lacks manufacturing capacity to get remotely near purported goal of 1 mm doses in ‘20 & 100 mm in ’21 1/ https://t.co/oSw0UfZwOB
— MuddyWatersResearch (@muddywatersre) September 2, 2020
This isn’t the first time we’ve had to come out and defend Inovio stock against the shorts. When Inovio stock was just $5, Andrew Left and Citron came out and bashed the stock. You can read our defense of Inovio Pharmaceuticals here.
Muddy Waters Research
For anyone that has followed Carson Block and Muddy Waters Research for any period of time knows that their agenda is short and distort. They can move markets. Muddy Waters takes a short position, puts out the hit piece, and then covers. It’s a great gig if you can do it, but it should be illegal. Too many innocent shareholders are on the losing end, while Muddy Waters profits.
Why Muddy Waters Is Wrong
The whole premise of Muddy Waters’ short is an opinion from a lower court judge in a case between Inovio stock and VGXI. This is Carson Block grasping for straws. Look at the docket sheet.
The thing is that Inovio is not even counting on VGXI. Richter Helm and Eurogentec have way more manufacturing capacity than VGXI. VGXI tech transfer would have been helpful, but they really don’t need it.
Furthermore, look at who is working with Inovio stock. It’s the who’s who in the vaccine world. Partners and collaborators include ApolloBio Corporation, AstraZeneca, The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, Coalition for Epidemic Preparedness Innovations (CEPI), Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency, GeneOne Life Science, HIV Vaccines Trial Network, Medical CBRN Defense Consortium (MCDC), National Cancer Institute, National Institutes of Health, National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, Regeneron, Roche/Genentech, University of Pennsylvania, Walter Reed Army Institute of Research, and The Wistar Institute.
Inovio Stock and Bill Gates
The biggest endorsement tiny biotech can get is from Bill Gates. Inovio stock received a $5 million grant from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation to accelerate the testing and scale-up of CELLECTRA® 3PSP proprietary smart device for the intradermal delivery of INO-4800, a DNA vaccine for COVID-19. Obviously, Bill Gates isn’t paying any attention to Muddy Waters and investors shouldn’t as well. Who would you rather invest alongside – Bill Gates or Muddy Waters? We’ll take Bill Gates any day. He can buy and sell Carson Block.
What will shut the shorts up once and for all is vaccine data. Data from the Phase 1 trial has been submitted to a medical journal and is undergoing a peer-review before publication, most likely NEJM. In the last update, Dr. J. Joseph Kim, INOVIO’s President, and Chief Executive Officer said:
“The second quarter further demonstrated the versatility and potential of INOVIO’s DNA medicines platform to meet urgent global health needs. In addition to advancing our DNA vaccine INO-4800 to combat the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, INOVIO presented encouraging results for one of the most devastating and difficult-to-treat cancers, GBM. We believe our DNA medicines are ideally suited to safely drive robust immune responses across infectious diseases and cancer, and we look forward to publishing our latest INO-4800 data, starting our Phase 2/3 COVID-19 clinical study in the U.S. in September, and expanding the manufacturing capacity to produce at least 100 million doses of INO-4800 in 2021 via our growing global coalition of partners and funders.”
38 out of 38 patients in its Phase 1 trial achieved overall immunological responses, either through binding antibodies, neutralizing antibodies, or T cell responses. That compares with 34 out of 36 patients in the first update offered in June. The two additional patients were suspected to have been infected with COVID-19 in June, but were later found to be COVID-free and were added to the data.
Inovio said it expanded the 40-patient early-stage clinical trial by another 80 participants, aged 18 and higher. The company also added a lower dose to broaden its safety and immunogenicity database.
Lending additional support to the program is a demonstration of immune responses in non-human primates (NHP) 3 months (13 weeks) following vaccination when challenged, indicative of the animals’ ability to generate memory responses and thus potential durability of INO-4800. Important to note, the safety profile of INO-4800 compares favorably to those on the market and other vaccine candidates currently in development for COVID-19.
Inovio stock has started early-stage trials in China and South Korea and expects to offer data in the fourth quarter. The company has received funding for trials from the Department of Defense ($71 million); from Oslo-based The Coalition for Epidemic Preparedness Innovations ($17.2 million) and from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation ($5 million).
Benchmark analyst Aydin Huseynov said he is optimistic for the Phase 2/3 trial and noted its safety profile was better than that achieved by Moderna’s 45-patient trial. The analyst rates the stock a buy with a $36 price target.
Inovio Stock Bottom Line
INO-4800 is the only nucleic-acid based vaccine that is stable at room temperature for more than a year and does not require to be frozen in transport or storage, which are important factors when implementing mass immunizations. Once the phase 1 data has been reviewed, we believe federal funding is coming for Inovio stock. Every vaccine candidate in Operation Warp Speed faces challenges thanks to the extremely cold temperatures required for storing the leading candidates. Rural areas with limited resources face additional hurdles, and officials still need to make complicated logistical decisions. INO-4800 is the only one that does not face these challenges. This why investors should ignore Muddy Waters Research. Focus on the science and not some obscure court case.
As always, good luck to all (except Muddy Waters Research)!
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Disclosure: We have no position in NASDAQ:INO or any of the securities mentioned. We wrote this article ourselves and it expresses our own opinions. We are not receiving compensation for it. We have no business relationship with any company whose stock is mentioned in this article. Insider Financial is not an investment advisor and does not provide investment advice. Always do your own research and make your own investment decisions. This article is not a solicitation or recommendation to buy, sell, or hold securities. This article is meant for informational and educational purposes only and does not provide investment advice.