Roche Holding AG just signed a deal earning Inovio $10M upfront and $412M in potential milestones to develop plasmids that will target prostate cancer, as well as hepatitis B. This is an exciting time for Inovio.
TLSR: Jason, in mid-2014 we're expecting to get a readout on Inovio's phase 2 trial testing its VGX-3100 vaccine in 148 patients with cervical intraepithelial neoplasia. What will this event mean for investors?
JK: If those data are compelling, then investors will have to start valuing Inovio not just on the fact that Roche, a major global pharma, seems to be validating its science, but on the real commercial opportunity for its cervical cancer vaccine. . .I think the Roche partnership is probably the first of several to come, because what this little company has is a blueprint of how to manufacture antigens using plasmids. When you think about the number of opportunities that exist for a company like Inovio, it's almost limitless. . .
You and I are taking a lifetime of work by Dr. Joseph Kim, the cofounder and CEO of Inovio, and boiling it down into a nutshell. Sure, if I gave you the recipe for the plasmid, you could go into the lab and make it. But Inovio has the recipe. It knows how to come up with the DNA sequence that will turn on the machinery of a cell to produce a specific antigen or antigens."
". . .I'm not at all bothered about the fact that price has gone up. Inovio still has extraordinary potential, and I'll tell you why. Here's one example: Monoclonal antibodies are expensive therapies, and they are difficult to handle, but this technology can actually produce monoclonal antibodies in these little inoculation sites. It puts this code in your body, and you make the antibodies yourself. . .I think that down the road, after Inovio's cancer and virus vaccines have begun to pay off and when the company is able to go where it wants to go, we're going to be looking at monoclonal antibodies, then life-extension technologies, and then other exciting applications. I really want to see Inovio CEO Joseph Kim and Dave Weiner continue to push this technology into the future."