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Inovio Pharmaceuticals, Inc. Class Action Lawsuit

Company Name
Inovio Pharmaceuticals, Inc.
Stock Symbol
INO
Court
Eastern District of Pennsylvania

Case Summary

On March 12, 2020, the Inovio Pharmaceuticals, Inc. class action lawsuit was filed charging Inovio Pharmaceuticals and its Chief Executive Officer (“CEO”) with violations of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934.  The Inovio Pharmaceuticals class action lawsuit was commenced in the Eastern District of Pennsylvania on behalf of purchasers of Inovio Pharmaceuticals common stock and is captioned McDermid v. Inovio Pharmaceuticals, Inc., No. 20-cv-01402.

Inovio Pharmaceuticals is a biotechnology company focused on rapidly bringing to market DNA medicines to treat, cure and/or protect people from infectious diseases.

As of March 12, 2020, the novel coronavirus and the illness it causes, COVID-19, had infected more than 120,000 people and caused approximately 4,300 deaths worldwide.  Epidemiologists estimate that the number of COVID-19 cases in the world doubles every six days.  In the United States, fears over the new coronavirus have had devastating economic and social consequences.  Large public gatherings and major events have been canceled.  Employees have been told to work from home, universities have moved all classes online, and elementary schools have closed for sanitizing.  Declarations of emergency are being proclaimed, and New York has deployed the National Guard to the hard-hit city of New Rochelle, north of New York City.  Currently, there is no vaccine available to prevent the spread of COVID-19.

During the Class Period, defendants capitalized on widespread COVID-19 fears by falsely claiming that Inovio Pharmaceuticals had developed a vaccine for COVID-19.  First, on February 14, 2020, Inovio Pharmaceuticals CEO J. Joseph Kim appeared on Fox Business News with Neal Cavuto and stated that Inovio Pharmaceuticals had developed a COVID-19 vaccine “in a matter of about three hours once we had the DNA sequence from the virus,” and that “our goal is to start phase one human testing in the U.S. early this summer.”  In response, Inovio Pharmaceuticals’ stock price rose more than 10% over the next few trading days, on enormous trading volume.

Two weeks later, following a well-publicized March 2, 2020 meeting with President Trump to discuss the COVID-19 outbreak, defendant Kim again claimed that Inovio Pharmaceuticals had developed a COVID-19 vaccine, stating that “we were able to fully construct our vaccine within three hours . . . . Our plan is to start [U.S. based COVID-19 trials] in April of this year.”  The market responded favorably to Kim’s statement and Inovio Pharmaceuticals’ stock price shot up from its closing price of $4.28 per share on February 28, 2020 to close at $14.09 per share on March 6, 2020, and then reach an intra-day high of $19.36 per share on March 9, 2020 before closing at $9.83 per share.

However, in truth, Inovio Pharmaceuticals had not developed a COVID-19 vaccine.  On March 9, 2020 Citron Research (“Citron”) exposed defendants’ misstatements, calling for a U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission investigation into the Inovio Pharmaceuticals’ “ludicrous and dangerous claim that they designed a [COVID-19] vaccine in 3 hours.”  In response to the news, Inovio Pharmaceuticals’ stock price plummeted from its March 9, 2020 opening price of $18.72 per share to close at $9.83 per share. The following day, March 10, 2020, Inovio Pharmaceuticals’ stock price fell from its $9.30 per share opening price to close at $5.70 per share. In a message to shareholders, Inovio Pharmaceuticals attempted to blunt the Citron revelations but only highlighted its own misstatements, admitting that it had not developed a COVID-19 vaccine, but rather, had merely “designed a vaccine construct” – i.e., a precursor for a vaccine – and that it believed it had a “viable approach to address the COVID-19 outbreak.”

On June 30, 2020, Inovio announced interim Phase 1 data for INO-4800, its vaccine candidate for COVID-19.  The full trial data will be published in a peer-reviewed medical journal.

If you have questions concerning your rights regarding the Inovio Pharmaceuticals class action lawsuit, please provide your information here or contact counsel, Michael Albert of Robbins Geller at 800/449-4900 or 619/231-1058, or via e-mail at malbert@rgrdlaw.com.

ABOUT ROBBINS GELLER RUDMAN & DOWD LLP: With 200 lawyers in 9 offices nationwide, Robbins Geller Rudman & Dowd LLP is the largest U.S. law firm representing investors in securities class actions.  Robbins Geller attorneys have obtained many of the largest shareholder recoveries in history, including the largest securities class action recovery ever – $7.2 billion – in In re Enron Corp. Sec. Litig.  The 2020 ISS Securities Class Action Services Top 50 Report ranked Robbins Geller first for recovering $1.6 billion for investors last year, more than double the amount recovered by any other securities plaintiffs’ firm.

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