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Inovio (INO) stock has now erased some of its YTD gains after Citron Research suggested the company was grandstanding. Citron’s analysts now put INO at $2.
Several factors affect the volatility of financial markets all over the world. In recent times, it’s been the coronavirus outbreak. The uncertainty and fear have caused a general plunge in the markets. However, some stocks – specifically biotech companies – rode on the epidemic for a time, and increased in value. Inovio Pharmaceuticals Inc (NASDAQ: INO) is the prime example here with mouth-watering year-to-date (YTD) returns on its stock, until Citron Research recently announced a grim forecast for the stock.
Citron Says Inovio Will Crash
Popular online investment and research newsletter Citron Research has slammed Inovio stock (INO), predicting that it will crash. Without giving a specific timeframe, Citron says that Inovio’s claim to fame is contestable and warned that investors will be sorely disappointed if they keep riding on Inovio’s back. Citron announced this in a recent tweet, calling for the SEC to intervene.
$INO. SEC should immediately HALT this stock and investigate the ludicrous and dangerous claim that they designed a vaccine in 3 hours. This has been a serial stock promotion for years. This will trade back to $2. Investors have been warned.
— Citron Research (@CitronResearch) March 9, 2020
INO was one of the most profitable stocks for the year. As of Monday, it boasted of YTD gains of 327%. This is a result of many factors including the company’s accelerated timeline for its INO-4800 coronavirus vaccine. Inovio also said it will start U.S. trials in April, spreading the trials to South Korea and China before the month is over. The company also said it will create 1 million doses by the end of the year. Lastly, President Donald Trump announced an $8.3 billion emergency fund release aimed at the coronavirus. A combination of all these factors gave Inovio stock an amazing boost.
The Citron announcement, however, plunged Inovio stock yesterday by more than 30% as it closed at $9.83. Premarket trading however now puts INO up over 13% to $11.15.
Inovio Responds to Citron
Inovio has responded to the Citron announcement. In a statement to shareholders posted on Twitter, the company suggested that Citron clearly “demonstrated a lack of understanding of the science behind DNA medicines. Inovio assured its shareholders that it really did create a vaccine construct for COVID-19 “within three hours after the viral sequence was publicly available.” It also said it produced a small amount of the vaccine and began preclinical trials since January.
— Inovio (@InovioPharma) March 9, 2020
Inovio has been accused of promotions like this in the past when the Ebola and Zika outbreaks were widespread.
So far, the World Health Organization (WHO) says that the total number of confirmed COVID-19 cases has surpassed 111,000 with at least 3,800 deaths. Both numbers are steadily increasing.
Several other companies are also working on COVID-19 treatments and vaccines. Some of them include Gilead Sciences Inc (GILD), Novavax Inc (NASDAQ: NVAX), Regeneron Pharmaceuticals Inc (NASDAQ: RGN). The race is still on for the company that will finalize a potent treatment or vaccine.