Inovio Pharmaceuticals, Inc. – Class Action Lawsuit Filed Against INO On Behalf of Inovio Investors Who Purchased, Or Otherwise Acquired, Inovio Common Stock Between February 14, 2020 and March 9, 2020, Inclusive (the “Class Period”)
Inovio Investors Who Purchased INO Securities During the Class Period Between February 14, 2020 and March 9, 2020, Inclusive, And Suffered Losses Are Encouraged to Contact Kehoe Law Firm, P.C. To Discuss Potential Legal Claims
Kehoe Law Firm, P.C. is making investors aware that it is conducting a securities investigation on behalf of investors of Inovio Pharmaceuticals, Inc. On March 12, 2020, a class action lawsuit was filed against Inovio Pharmaceuticals (“Inovio” or the “Company”) and Inovio executive J. Joseph Kim (“Kim”) in United States District Court, Eastern District of Pennsylvania, on behalf of all persons who purchased, or otherwise acquired, Inovio common stock (NASDAQ: INO) between the Class Period of February 14, 2020 and March 9, 2020, inclusive. The Plaintiff alleges that Inovio and Kim made false and misleading statements in violation of the federal securities laws.
Inovio Defendants Allegedly Capitalized on COVID-19 Fears by Falsely Claiming Development of Coronavirus Vaccine – On News of Citron Research Report, Inovio Stock Price Dropped Significantly
According to the class action complaint,
. . . Inovio purports to be a ‘biotechnology company focused on rapidly bringing to market precisely designed DNA medicines to treat, cure and/or protect people from . . . infectious diseases.’ During the Class Period, Defendants capitalized on widespread COVID-19 fears by falsely claiming that Invovio had developed a vaccine for COVID-19. First, on February 14, 2020, Inovio CEO Kim appeared on Fox Business News with Neal Cavuto and stated that Inovio had developed a COVID-19 vaccine ‘in a matter of about three hours once we had the DNA sequence from the virus’ and ‘our goal is to start phase one human testing in the U.S. early this summer.’ In response, Inovio’s 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 had developed a COVID-19 vaccine, stating ‘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’s stock price more than quadrupled from $4.28 per share on February 28, 2020, and continued to increase in the following weeks, reaching an intra-day high of $19.36 on March 9, 2020.
However, in truth, Inovio had not developed a COVID-19 vaccine. On March 9, 2020, before trading commenced, Citron Research (‘Citron’) exposed Defendants’ misstatements, calling for an SEC investigation into the Company’s ‘ludicrous and dangerous claim that they designed a [COVID-19] vaccine in 3 hours.’ In response to the news, Inovio’s stock price plummeted from its March 9 opening price of $18.72 per share to close at $9.83. The following day, March 10, 2020, Inovio’s stock price fell from its $9.30 per share opening price to close at $5.70 per share. The two-day drop wiped out approximately $643 million in market capitalization for the Company, marking a 71% decline from its Class Period high. In a message to shareholders that same day, Inovio 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.’ [Emphasis in original.]
According to the class action complaint, certain statements made by the Inovio Pharmaceuticals’ Defendants
. . . were materially false and misleading and omitted to disclose material information. Specifically, Defendants falsely described their product as a fully completed vaccine when it was nothing of the sort. Defendants falsely claimed they had developed the vaccine in a matter of hours, which is a scientific impossibility. And Defendants falsely stated that they would be able to begin human trials in April 2020 when they had no reason to believe that they would have the necessary regulatory approval to do so. [Emphasis added.]
Additionally, the complaint alleges that the Inovio Defendants knew, or in reckless disregard for the truth should have known, that at the time the Company made certain statements that “Inovio had not developed a vaccine for COVID-19, that such a vaccine could not be developed in a matter of hours, and that trials were not likely to begin in April 2020.”
Inovio Investors Who Purchased, Or Otherwise Acquired, INO Securities During The Class Period and Suffered Losses
Inovio investors who purchased, or otherwise acquired, the publicly-traded securities of Inovio Pharmaceuticals during the Class Period between February 14, 2020 and March 9, 2020, inclusive, and suffered losses are encouraged to contact either Michael Yarnoff, Esq., (215) 792-6676, Ext. 804, [email protected], [email protected], or John Kehoe, Esq, (215) 792-6676, Ext. 801, [email protected], to learn more about the Inovio securities investigation or potential legal claims.