SAN DIEGO--(BUSINESS WIRE)--Robbins Geller Rudman & Dowd LLP announces that a securities class action lawsuit has been filed in the Eastern District of Pennsylvania on behalf of purchasers of Inovio Pharmaceuticals, Inc. (NASDAQ:INO) common stock between February 14, 2020 and March 9, 2020 (the “Class Period”). The case is captioned McDermid v. Inovio Pharmaceuticals, Inc., No. 20-cv-01402, and is assigned to Judge Gerald J. Pappert. The Inovio Pharmaceuticals securities class action lawsuit charges Inovio Pharmaceuticals (“Inovio”) and its current Chief Executive Officer J. Joseph Kim (“Kim”) with violations of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934.
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 diseases associated with human papillomavirus (HPV), cancer, and infectious diseases. In the United States, fears over the novel coronavirus, COVID-19, have had devastating economic and social consequences. Currently, there is no vaccine available to prevent the spread of COVID-19.
The Inovio Pharmaceuticals securities class action lawsuit alleges that during the Class Period, defendants capitalized on widespread COVID-19 fears by falsely claiming that Inovio had developed a vaccine for COVID-19. First, on February 14, 2020, defendant Kim appeared on Fox Business News 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 that “our goal is to start phase one human testing in the U.S. early this summer.” 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. As a result of defendants’ misrepresentations, the price of Inovio common stock was artificially inflated to more than $19 per share during the Class Period.
However, in truth, Inovio had not developed a COVID-19 vaccine. On March 9, 2020, before trading commenced, Citron Research 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, 2020 opening price of $18.72 per share to close at $9.83 per share. 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 price drop wiped out approximately $643 million of Inovio’s market capitalization and marked a 70% decline from the stock’s Class Period intra-day high. In a message to shareholders that same day, Inovio attempted to blunt the impact of 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 April 27, 2020, Citron published a report calling Inovio “[t]he COVID-19 Version of Theranos” and setting a target price of $1. The Citron report set forth, among other things, that “[i]t’s been over 40 years since Inovio was founded, yet the company has NEVER brought a product to market, and all the while insiders have enriched themselves with hefty salaries and large stock sales.” The Citron report also purports to detail “why Inovio shareholders have been ‘Theranosed,’” a reference to the ill-fated health technology company whose founder was indicted for wire fraud and conspiracy after claims of Theranos’ supposedly breakthrough blood test technology proved to be false. The Citron report went on to note that “[m]uch like Theranos, Inovio claims to have a ‘secret sauce’ that, miraculously, no pharma giant has been able to figure out. This is the same ‘secret sauce’ that supposedly developed a vaccine for COVID-19 in just 3 hours.” Citron concluded that “[a]t every opportunity, Inovio is guilty of issuing highly misleading information to pump the company’s stock price in response to the latest outbreak. In the case of COVID-19, they are taking advantage of retail investors while they’re stuck in quarantine.”
The Private Securities Litigation Reform Act of 1995 permits any investor who purchased Inovio common stock during the Class Period to seek appointment as lead plaintiff in the Inovio Pharmaceuticals securities class action lawsuit. A lead plaintiff acts on behalf of all other class members in directing the Inovio Pharmaceuticals securities class action lawsuit. The lead plaintiff can select a law firm of its choice to litigate the Inovio Pharmaceuticals securities class action lawsuit. An investor’s ability to share in any potential future recovery of the Inovio Pharmaceuticals securities class action lawsuit is not dependent upon serving as lead plaintiff. If you wish to serve as lead plaintiff of the Inovio Pharmaceuticals securities class action lawsuit or have questions concerning your rights regarding the Inovio Pharmaceuticals securities class action lawsuit, please visit our website by clicking here or contact Michael Albert at 800/449-4900 or 619/231-1058, or via e-mail at email@example.com. Lead plaintiff motions for the Inovio Pharmaceuticals securities class action lawsuit must be filed with the court no later than May 12, 2020.
Robbins Geller Rudman & Dowd LLP is one of the world’s leading law firms representing investors in securities litigation. With 200 lawyers in 9 offices, Robbins Geller has obtained many of the largest securities class action recoveries in history. For seven consecutive years, ISS Securities Class Action Services has ranked the Firm in its annual SCAS Top 50 Report as one of the top law firms in the world in both amount recovered for shareholders and total number of class action settlements. Robbins Geller attorneys have helped shape the securities laws and have recovered tens of billions of dollars on behalf of aggrieved victims. Beyond securing financial recoveries for defrauded investors, Robbins Geller also specializes in implementing corporate governance reforms, helping to improve the financial markets for investors worldwide. Robbins Geller attorneys are consistently recognized by courts, professional organizations, and the media as leading lawyers in the industry. Please visit http://www.rgrdlaw.com for more information.