One of the exciting parts of investing is identifying companies that will offer us the next big thing. This could be a game-changing drug or an exciting technology that may transform healthcare. And two companies Wall Street is bullish on have that potential.
Intellia Therapeutics (NTLA 0.76%) works in the up-and-coming area of gene editing. Invitae (NVTA) specializes in genetic testing. Both stocks have declined over the past year. But Wall Street forecasts that these innovative companies will see their shares double in the coming 12 months. Does this mean it’s time to buy? Let’s find out.
1. Intellia Therapeutics
Intellia doesn’t yet have commercialized products but generates some revenue each quarter through collaborations. The company works on various CRISPR gene editing programs with big biotech partner Regeneron. To tackle genetic diseases, Intellia uses a lipid-nanoparticle delivery system to knock out faulty genes — and trigger repairs.
Right now, all of Intellia’s programs are in research stages or early stage clinical trials. Its two most advanced programs are in transthyretin (ATTR) amyloidosis — a disease affecting nerves, the heart, kidneys, and eyes — and hereditary angioedema, a disease characterized by swelling in various areas of the body.
If Intellia is successful, the company could see revenue take off. That’s because treatment options are limited for these illnesses today. But this won’t happen overnight. As mentioned, Intellia’s pipeline is early stage — and that means possible product revenue is years away.
This doesn’t mean Intellia shares will stagnate though. If the company reports positive clinical trial data in months to come, the stock could climb. Gene-editing is a promising technology, and solid data may nudge investors to get in on the Intellia story early.
Invitae could be called a potential recovery story. The genetic testing company has seen revenue climb over the years — but this hasn’t resulted in profit.
So last year Invitae announced a realignment plan to focus more on its higher-margin businesses — and as a result speed up the path to positive cash flow. The company aimed to cut jobs and office space, reduce its international operations, and focus on programs linked to the core testing business. As part of this, in December, Invitae sold its next generation sequencing research assays to Integrated DNA Technologies. The company said this move would help lower cash burn and extend its cash runway.
Invitae’s efforts are starting to bear fruit. In the first quarter, Invitae reported improvement in gross margin and cash burn rates. And if we remove revenue generated last year from now exited businesses and countries, Invitae’s revenue in this year’s first quarter climbed 10%. Revenue per patient also increased — to $463 in the quarter from $416 a year earlier. That’s thanks to the company’s recovery efforts.
Of course, Invitae still has a way to go to reach positive cash flow. Ongoing cash burn for the year is expected to be in the range of $250 million to $275 million. But if the testing company continues to make progress each quarter, investors could return to the shares.
Should you buy?
Now let’s get back to our question. Should you buy these stocks? My answer is the same for both. Each of these players is high risk, but for a different reason.
Intellia is working in an exciting space, but its programs probably will take a while to reach the finish line. Meanwhile, revenue opportunities are limited. Invitae has the revenue growth. But the big question is whether the company can successfully execute its realignment plan and turn some of that revenue into profit.
I think progress from each company could result in share price gains. But any disappointment could leave these stocks in the doldrums. If you’re an aggressive investor, you may consider buying a few shares of each — and then hold on to watch the story unfold over time. But if you’re a cautious investor, you may be better off keeping these players on your watchlist for later.
Adria Cimino has no position in any of the stocks mentioned. The Motley Fool has positions in and recommends Intellia Therapeutics and Invitae. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy.