He acted on valuation and fundamental concerns. Inovio shares in 2020 through Thursday rose by a factor of more than eight, with the surge stemming from enthusiasm about the Plymouth Meeting, Pa., company's coronavirus vaccine candidate.
“Risk/reward seems less palatable here,” Willey wrote in a commentary cited by Bloomberg.
To be sure, there is a “significant socioeconomic importance of a viable covid-19 vaccine candidate,” he acknowledged.
Results from Inovio’s patient test for its vaccine candidate, INO-4800, are due by June 30, Bloomberg reports.
Willey isn’t too worried about the vaccine’s safety, and he expects initial immunogenicity results to be “directionally encouraging.” But competition with Moderna’s (MRNA) - Get Report vaccine is an issue, he said.
Inovio’s ability to scale up production of a potential vaccine also is a question mark, Willey said. It’s in the midst of a legal dispute with the main manufacturer of the vaccine, South Korea-based GeneOne Life Science, Bloomberg reports.
Willey lifted his share-price target for Inovio to $24 from $19, reflecting recent market activity.
Cantor Fitzgerald analyst Charles Duncan more than doublef his price target on Friday - to $45 from $17 - and maintained his overweight rating.
Drug-delivery specialist Catalent will provide vial-filling and packaging services for drug maker Moderna’s coronavirus vaccine candidate mRNA-1273, the companies said.
Inovio’s shares recently traded at $27.50, down 12%. The stock has quadrupled in the past three months, including Friday’s drop.