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Inovio Falls on Wider Loss; Progress Shown in COVID Vaccine Trial

Inovio shares eased after the drugmaker reported a wider loss. Earlier it had reported progress with its COVID vaccine candidate.
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Shares of Inovio Pharmaceuticals  (INO) - Get Inovio Pharmaceuticals, Inc. Report fell after the developer of DNA medications to treat infectious diseases, cancer and diseases associated with human papillomavirus reported a wider first-quarter net loss on 72% lower revenue.

The Plymouth Meeting, Penn. biotechnology company reported a loss of $54.4 million, or 27 cents a share, widening from a loss of $32.5 million, or 26 cents a share, in the year-earlier period. Shares outstanding rose 62% to 202.4 million. 

Revenue declined to $371,000 from $1.3 million.

A survey of analysts by FactSet produced consensus estimates of a GAAP loss of 18 cents a share on revenue of $1.1 million.

At last check, shares of Inovio fell 1.8% to $6.55. They closed the regular Monday trading session off 2.6% at $6.67. They touched a 52-week low of $6.24 on May 6.

At March 31, Inovio had cash, equivalents and short-term investments totaling $518.6 million.

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The company on Monday reported progress in the Phase 2 segment of a Phase 2/3 clinical trial in the U.S. of INO-4800, a DNA vaccine candidate for COVID-19.

"Preliminary results show in a larger population that INO-4800 was generally safe, well tolerated and immunogenic" -- able to produce an immune response -- "in all studied age groups," Inovio said in a statement.

"INO-4800 continues to be safe and well-tolerated and has been observed to support the body's ability to generate both robust neutralizing antibodies and T cell responses – which we believe to be essential in protecting against current and emerging variants of concern," President and Chief Executive J. Joseph Kim said in a statement. 

"Equally important," INO-4800 "does not require cold or ultra-cold chain transport," the executive said.

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Inovio said it would file the preliminary Phase 2 results with the U.S. Food and Drug Administration. If the agency clears the company to proceed, it will conduct a global Phase 3 clinical trial for INO-4800.

Late last month, Inovio shares fell after the Defense Department said it would stop funding the drugmaker's Phase 3 trial of its COVID vaccine because the agency said ample quantities of other vaccines were already available.