Investors can be forgiven for giving iBio (NYSE:IBIO) a look. After all, IBIO stock is cheap and the company is in the hunt for a novel coronavirus vaccine.
But that cheerful summary was in the “too good to be true” folder.
While the market recently pushed IBIO stock from almost nothing to $7.45, shares are volatile and currently trading around $3. It’s not a huge surprise that the company returned to penny stock status. It’s future as a good investment remains mostly cloudy.
A Closer Look at iBio Stock
Biotechnology and pharmaceutical companies are like mountains in the distance. They catch your eyes. They make the horizon interesting, impressive even. It’s hard to ignore them. Sometimes they dominate the scene (as is the case in Colorado Springs).
The story of iBio begins in 1999. The company is based in Bryan, Texas, which is just down the road from College Station, the home of Texas A&M University, Aggie spirit and innovation.
IBio operates a 130,000-square-foot facility where it has a process named FastPharming. This process uses plants to reproduce therapeutic components. Think vaccines.
The company says its process can be scaled to produce up to make 500 million doses. It also says a pair of its vaccines are undergoing trials.
The result is iBio stands apart from competitors in the biotech space.
Obviously, the vaccine industry is very interesting since the world is in the grips of the Covid-19 pandemic and more than 160,000 Americans perished from the disease.
Oh, and if investors can make money from owning the stock, then even better.
Speaking of IBIO Stock
Not too long ago, a share of IBIO stock was priced at about 30 cents. I guess that was a three-dime stock as opposed to a penny stock. Call it what you will, year-to-date iBio shares soared some 1,600%.
This blast skyward was fueled by the intense drive for a Covid-19 vaccine and investors seeking the ground floor of a ribbon winner in the vaccine sweepstakes.
But iBio, despite the novelty of its unique process using plants, remains a penny stock because it is not a mainstream creature. The market is wary of the company because of its unique plant-based process. This system must be confirmed as viable. Thus far, though, there’s no dance partner to help iBio prove its system.
Several of my colleagues at InvestorPlace placed IBio under the microscope. An example is Chris Markoch, who says stock traders are more excited about iBio than folks in the biotech industry. This is a point that potential investors must consider.
Another view of the clouds surrounding iBio comes from Ian Cooper. His view is that IBIO stock is poised to resume its rally and that the runway for this rally is far.
As a penny stock, sure, the company is a gamble. “However, with its FastPharming technology and two vaccines in the works, it’s well worth the gamble,” Cooper says.
The Bottom Line
IBIO stock is not the run-of-the-mill penny stock.
This biotech’s production process, FastPharming, is unique. The process utilizes plants as a “bio-reactor” to potentially produce doses. This is vastly different from systems used by traditional vaccine manufacturers.
Is this system a strength? Is it more than interesting? Can this provide the company the foundation it needs to climb from the penny-stock realm?
The judgment of the market, so far, is maybe. But today’s circumstances mean the IBIO stock might find the juice to jump.
However, if iBio is left standing while the traditional big pharma players hold the floor in developing Covid-19 vaccines, then the company’s future is less compelling.
Potential investors need to weigh the pros and cons carefully. IBIO is a penny stock, but there’s promise in its situation. Part of me pulls for the company because its production process is different. And we certainly need a vaccine that can be delivered safely and with speed.
Aside from day trading, though, it is premature to fully embrace IBIO stock.
Larry Sullivan is a veteran journalist who has covered banking and finance for several years. He is a former investing editor at U.S. News & World Report in Washington D.C. Also, he was the news editor for The Associated Press in Omaha and the editor of newspapers in Florida, New Mexico and Arkansas. At this writing, Larry Sullivan does not own a position in any of the aforementioned securities.