NEW YORK (TheStreet) -- Shares of Inovio Pharmaceuticals (INO) - Get Report soared 15.57% to $6.68 on heavy trading volume on Friday as the Zika virus vaccine it's helping to develop could be ready by the end of the year. The company will also start patient recruitment for its MERS vaccine with GeneOne Life Sciences.

The virus, which is spread through mosquito bites, can cause fever, rash and joint pain, and has been linked to serious birth defects.

The first stage of testing on humans could start as early as August and if successful could allow the vaccine to be used in the event of a public health emergency in October or November, according to Gary Kobinger, Reuters reports. Kobinger is the lead scientist from Laval University and is working with Inovio, GeneOne Life Sciences and the University of Pennsylvania on the Zika vaccine.

Inovio CEO Joseph Kim told Reuters the timeline for making the vaccine available by the end of the year is aggressive, but could happen.

About 8.71 million of Inovio's shares have been traded by today, well above its average volume of 1.6 million shares per day.

Separately, TheStreet Ratings Team has a "sell" rating with a score of D+ on the stock.

This is driven by a number of negative factors, which should have a greater impact than any strengths, and could make it more difficult for investors to achieve positive results compared to most of the stocks covered by the team.

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The company's weaknesses can be seen in multiple areas, such as its poor profit margins and generally disappointing historical performance in the stock itself.

Recently, TheStreet Ratings objectively rated this stock according to its "risk-adjusted" total return prospect over a 12-month investment horizon. Not based on the news in any given day, the rating may differ from Jim Cramer's view or that of this articles's author.

You can view the full analysis from the report here: INO

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