INO layers are captured in Coronavirus Gold Rush

<p>The last time I wrote about Inovio Pharmaceuticals (NASDAQ: INO), it had just doubled its shelf offering for INO shares to $ 200 million. Investors loved the news and sent its stock price higher. At the time, it was trading around $ 3.30 per share.

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One month later, coronavirus has spread worldwide; people get more angry every day. Companies are closing. This rapid virus paralyzes entire industries.

The company that breaks the coronavirus code is expected to benefit from future revenues from the vaccine’s development and expansion to the general public.

The only problem?

12-18 months for commercialization

It will probably not hit anyone’s system until 2021. The standard estimate for a vaccine to be approved for commercial use is between 12 and 18 months from today. It is according to both Britain’s foremost scientific adviser, Sir Patrick Vallance and here in the United States from Dr. Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Disease.

So the winner of this 21st century version of the Yukon Gold Rush is unlikely to benefit much in the short term, something I said about Modern (NASDAQ: MRNA) earlier in March.

As I write this, Inovio’s share increased by almost 19% in trading on March 17, more than twice as much as it was in mid-February when I last wrote about it. At the same time, Moderna’s share has increased by more than 10% today and almost 40% in the past month.

I guess when the markets are in a nose dive, stocks going in the right direction are irresistible to investors.

Head west to Seattle

Positive comments about Inovio appeared in the news on March 16. It helps drive its stock much higher. Although it seems that it has been given a chance to find gold at the end of this rainbow, which is excellent news for owners of its stocks, I’m not sure there is currently anything concrete other than many news media discussing what can happen due to course. I myself am included.

On Monday in Seattle, healthy volunteers received the first of two injections of an experimental coronavirus vaccine (mRNA-1273) developed by Moderna. Inovio’s candidate will begin his security studies in April in three countries, including the United States, China and South Korea.

If you are not a first-class researcher or a doctor, I’m not sure how you could handicap all groups vying for victory.

We do not know if this vaccine will induce an immune response or if it will be safe. That is why we are doing a trial, says Dr. Lisa Jackson, Head of the Kaiser Permanente Study. “It is not at the stage where it would be possible or wise to give it to the public.”

Other potential winners

On March 16, I mentioned that Medicago Inc., a Canadian biopharmaceutical company, had developed a viable vaccine for COVID-19. Although human trials are unlikely to begin until the summer, a few months after both Moderna and Inovio start their own, it is more than possible that Medicago can skip both of them and become the ultimate winner.

Of course, when the winner is crowned, the coronavirus is likely to have burned out.

What then?

Companies such as Moderna, Inovio and Medicago would probably use the boasting victory to develop future vaccines against other superviruses. The development of these things costs significant sums of money. If you are the one cracking the coronavirus code in an incredibly fast time, it will likely translate into billions of future financing, whether it is debt or equity.

The conclusion on INO stock

Maxim Group analyst Jason McCarthy recently mentioned that Inovio had received a lot for it in addition to the coronavirus vaccine. He feels that its DNA-based immunotherapies such as VGX-300, which treat cervical dysplasia, could be worth more than $ 1 billion along the way.

If you want to bet on one of these potential winners, it makes sense to consider how they will generate revenue without coronavirus. That way, if they do not win the pot of gold that is COVID-19, they are at least on their way to profitability.

I would not buy any of these coronavirus vaccine candidates, but that does not mean that Inovio is not worth considering if you can afford to speculate in this 20th century gold rush.

Will Ashworth has been writing about full-time investing since 2008. Publications where he has appeared include InvestorPlace, The Motley Fool Canada, Investopedia, Kiplinger and several others in both the United States and Canada. He especially likes to create model portfolios that pass the test of time. He lives in Halifax, Nova Scotia. At the time of writing, Will Ashworth had no position in any of the above securities.