• Inovio Pharmaceuticals tumbled as much as 40% in early Monday trading after the biotech firm announced a temporary hold on its coronavirus vaccine's phase 2/3 trial.
  • The study is on "partial clinical hold" until questions asked by the Food and Drug Administration are answered, Inovio said in a press release. The company plans to address the questions in October.
  • News of the study's halt triggered a trading pause of Inovio shares before the opening bell.
  • Crucially, the hold isn't related to an adverse effect, and Inovio's phase 1 trial is still moving forward.
  • For more stories visit Business Insider South Africa.

Shares of biotech firm Inovio Pharmaceuticals plummeted as much as 40% in early Monday trading after the company announced a temporary pause to its coronavirus vaccine's phase 2/3 clinical trial.

The study is on "partial clinical hold" until questions recently posed by the Food and Drug Administration are adequately answered, Inovio said in a press release. The agency raised questions about the trial and the delivery device slated for use in the study.

Inovio plans to address the questions in October. Once answers are given, the FDA has 30 days to decide whether the clinical trial can move forward. Inovio's phase 1 study is still proceeding.

Pre-market trading of Inovio stock was paused early Monday shortly following the news. Shares tanked after the halt was lifted.

Crucially, the trial hold isn't related to an adverse event. AstraZeneca made waves earlier this month after a phase 3 trial for its vaccine candidate was paused due to a participant's negative reaction. The study remains paused in the US as regulators study a number of neurological illnesses suffered by participants.

Inovio stock closed at $16.94 per share on Friday, up nearly 400% year-to-date. The company has six "buy" ratings, one "hold" rating, and no "sell" ratings, with a median price target of $22.

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