Investors who owned stocks in the 2010s generally experienced some big gains. In fact, the SPDR S&P 500 (NYSE: SPY) total return for the decade was 250.5%. But there’s no question some big-name stocks did much better than others along the way.
Inovio’s Difficult Decade
One poor performer of the last decade was biotech stock Inovio Pharmaceuticals Inc (NASDAQ: INO).
Inovio spent much of the past decade under the radar, but it’s potential role in developing a vaccine for the COVID-19 coronavirus has gotten Wall Street’s attention in 2020.
In 2013, Inovio began testing a vaccine for Middle East Respiratory Syndrome coronavirus (MERS). The company’s INO-4700 vaccine candidate has proven to be effective in treating MERS symptoms in clinical tests, but it has not yet been approved by the FDA.
Given COVID-19 is also a coronavirus, Inovio was one of the first biotech companies to begin testing a COVID-19 vaccine, INO-4800. So far this year, Inovio has received a $9 million research grant from the Coalition for Epidemic Preparedness Innovations (CEPI) and an additional $5 million grant from the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation to help in the development of INO-4800.
Inovio has said it will produce 1 million vaccines by the end of 2020 to be used in testing and emergency use cases. However, Inovio is one of more than 70 companies currently working on a COVID-19 vaccine, and there’s certainly no guarantee Inovio’s product will be the first or best one on the market.
Inovio started the 2010s trading at around $4.40. By late 2011, the stock had traded down to $1.40, its low point of the decade. In 2013, Inovio shares caught fire due in part to positive data from its ebola vaccine candidate and its potential MERS vaccine. Unfortunately, the stock peaked at $15.81 in early 2014 before the rally stalled out.
Inovio shares had dropped back down to as low as $1.91 in late 2019 before the COVID-19 rally took hold of the stock.
2020 And Beyond
A flood of unprecedented volume and extreme volatility has driven Inovio shares as high as $19.36 so far in 2020, its highest level of the past 10 years.
The COVID-19 rally has made Inovio shares a profitable investment over the past decade, but the return isn’t particularly outstanding. In fact, $1,000 worth of Inovio stock in 2010 would be worth about $2,262 today.
Looking ahead, analysts are optimistic the COVID-19 rally will continue. The average price target among the seven analysts covering the stock is $13, suggesting about 12% upside from current levels.