That headline is not in my words, of course (that’s why I use those handy little quotation marks), but it’s the headline from the latest Nick Hodge ad that’s been getting a lot of attention from Gumshoe readers.
Hodge is pitching this new device, which apparently faces a big moment on June 30, as a way to, in his words….
“Eradicate every disease from Zika, ebola, and HIV… to all kinds of cancer…
“Unleash a $57 billion wave of wealth…
“Send the one tiny $10 company with over 1,000 patents on it soaring to dizzying heights…”
Is that enough for you? Tragically, it will neither provide a virtual reality experience nor enhance your self-driving car… but otherwise, apparently we’ve got it all covered.
And apparently this new company is awaiting some big news from the FDA on June 30 — which, naturally, tends to cause investors to get sweaty hands and the shakes as they imagine the wave of wealth that’s moments from consuming them. So what’s he talking about? Is it real? Let’s dig into the clues and check it out.
(Assuming, of course, that you don’t wish to sign up right away for Hodge’s Early Advantage at $799/year — you can do that, if you want, but don’t do it just to learn about a “secret” stock… if you let us tell you about it first, you’ll have a better chance at giving the idea a prudent screening before you invest.)
How does Hodge hint at this secret company? Here’s a taste:
“I call it ‘Project Zero.’Are you getting our free Daily Update
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“That’s because it promises to eliminate disease at the single source… before it forms in our own body.
“In the same lab that developed the vaccines for once-fatal illnesses like measles and pneumonia…
“A team of Philadelphia researchers has been working on a device that could eclipse them all.
“And now they’ve done it.
“They’ve created a needle-free technology — one that promises to end some of the worst diseases now ravaging mankind… all without side effects.”
The ad also includes a picture of the device, and given that and the chatter about curing Zika, Ebola, HIV and all kinds of cancer we can jump right ahead to the answer for you — this is a pitch for Inovio (INO).
The little handheld electroporation “gun” that they show in the ad is here on Inovio’s website, should you require any additional confirmation.
This is not a new promise, or a new idea being teased — Inovio has been touted several times in the past by several different newsletters, and can be counted upon to surface in the annals of teaserdom whenever there’s a scary new epidemic being talked about, whether it be Ebola or Zika or, in previous years, Bird Flu or other mutant influenzas, among other bugs. Most recently, I concluded that Dave Lashmet at Stansberry was touting Inovio as his “best idea right now” in February.
What’s the June 30 deadline all about? Well, I hesitate to say “hooey”, but ad copywriters routinely overstate the importance of near-term catalysts — they know that you’re much more likely to sign up for a newsletter if they promise big news in a month or two, than if they just say that a revolutionary technology might eventually get approved and lead to profits in a few years. My guess would be that Hodge is referring to the fact that they’ve been working with the FDA on planning for a Phase III trial to start in their lead compound this year (that’s VGX-3100)… here’s what they said in the quarterly press release:
“Inovio held constructive meetings with both FDA (end of phase II) and European Medicines Agency (EMA) providing an affirmative path forward toward an indication for VGX-3100 to treat HPV-16/18-related high grade cervical dysplasia that is consistent with our previously reported expectations to start a pivotal phase III registration study in 2016.”
They also have data on their MERS, Ebola and planned Zika trial likely to come out in the relatively near future (though not necessarily very soon), though all of those are behind VGX-3100 in the calendar and probably quite a long time from commercialization (unless there’s some pandemic that forces fast approval). I have no idea how things will work out for Inovio, but that appears to be the company Hodge is hinting at.
And I know we’ve got a great many biotech investors in Gumshoedom these days, so if those of you who’ve delved into the science have any opinions to share, well, I’m sure we’d all be delighted to hear them with a comment below. Dr. KSS, who leads biotech discussions for our Irregulars, has been very negative about Inovio for years (sample comment here).
All I can tell you from their financials, not knowing much in detail about the company, is that after raising a bunch of money they are probably sitting on enough cash to keep going for a while — they think they’re funded through the anticipated Phase III trial for their Cervical Dysplasia therapeutic vaccine (that’s the VGX-3100 I mentioned). They’ve also been pretty good about getting other folks — often DARPA or other arms of the government — to fund their early infectious disease vaccine programs. So they probably won’t go broke anytime soon… but whether this summer will really bring exciting news for Inovio, or whether Zika will spread further this Summer and inspire more government funding or more stock touting that could drive the shares up, that I don’t know. I await your wisdom, dear readers.
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