This Is Why I’d Still Avoid IBio for Now

The very first time I highlighted opportunity in iBio Inc. (NYSE:IBIO), I said, “the stock could triple in value on successful trials, and the potential for FDA approval.”  And it did. After mentioning it on June 10, it ran from $1.50 to $7.45.

A scientist in medical gear peers through a microscope.

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Unfortunately, that’s where the stock also fizzled and died.

While I’d love to tell you to buy IBIO here, I can’t. There’s nothing worth getting excited about there. Sure, there’s even more focus on vaccine stocks, with news that President Donald Trump and First Lady Melania Trump contracted the virus.

However, I’d avoid the stock. Instead, I’d look for better opportunities in companies that have late-stage activity. That includes Moderna (NASDAQ:MRNA), Pfizer (NYSE:PFE), BioNTech (NASDAQ:BNTX), Regeneron (NASDAQ:REGN), Johnson & Johnson (NYSE:JNJ) and Novavax (NASDAQ:NVAX).

While there’s hope it can advance its IBIO-201 treatment soon, it hasn’t made it to planned clinical development just yet. Again, I’d avoid the stock for now until there’s more news.

What Sets IBIO Apart from its Competition

What I do like about iBio is its FastPharming technology.

With it, iBio can potentially take any vaccine and produce enough doses for hundreds of millions of people. In fact, according to iBio co-chairman and CEO Tom Isett, the company could create about 500 million doses of a high-quality Covid-19 vaccine.

“That scalability links directly to the modular technology behind our FastPharming Manufacturing System, which uses a relative of the tobacco plant as the ‘bioreactor’ to produce biopharmaceuticals,” he added.

Unfortunately, that’s all there is to get excited about right now.

IBIO Is Quickly Falling Behind in the Race for a Vaccine

Pfizer CEO Albert Bourla just said there could be a “good chance” the company will know if its vaccine works by the end of October.

“We started already manufacturing and we have already manufactured hundreds of thousands of doses, so just in case we have a good study readout, conclusive and FDA, plus the advisory committee feels comfortable that we will be ready,” he said.

Johnson & Johnson is another one that expects to see results of its Phase 3 trial later this year. If successful, it could manufacture up to a billion doses. In addition, Johnson & Johnson’s potential vaccine may only require a single dose.

“The benefits of a single-shot vaccine are potentially profound in terms of mass immunization campaigns and global pandemic control,” Dr. Dan Barouch, of Harvard, who helped Johnson & Johnson design its Covid-19 vaccine, told Reuters.

Meanwhile, IBIO-201 and IBIO-200 are still in pre-clinical stages. Granted, positive near-term news on development could force the stock higher. But the momentum won’t last long. IBio just isn’t anywhere near where companies like Pfizer currently are.

Investors Lost Interest in IBIO Stock

With no real vaccine news to speak of, I’d avoid the stock for now. If they can get something going, it may be worth a look later, especially with its FastPharming technology. For the time being, I’d just look for better opportunities in companies nearing an actual vaccine.

Plus, “iBio has been down this road before, rallying during the ebola pandemic of 2014 only to fall flat because it was unable to bring a vaccine to market. The silver lining there is that the company shows survivability even though it has a reputation of tantalizing then disappointing investors on the back of pandemic news,” as noted by InvestorPlace contributor Todd Shriber.

Granted, the company remains positive. “We are encouraged by these pre-clinical data, which demonstrate IBIO-201’s ability to generate an immune response to SARS-CoV-2 sequences and neutralize protein interaction,” said Tom Isett, iBio’s chairman and CEO. “We expect to gain more insight as we complete data analysis of both of our COVID-19 vaccine candidates.”

But at this point, it’s too far behind for us to just now hear its encouraged by pre-clinical data. When and if the company can push out better news, perhaps I’ll change my opinion.

On the date of publication, Ian Cooper did not have (either directly or indirectly) any positions in the securities mentioned in this article. 

Ian Cooper, an contributor, has been analyzing stocks and options for web-based advisories since 1999. As of this writing, Ian Cooper did not hold a position in any of the aforementioned securities.

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