Ocugen (NASDAQ:OCGN) has been one of the most explosive stocks on the market in the last year.
From a December 2020 low of about 29 cents, the OCGN stock exploded to a high of $17.65 in recent months for a return of just under 6,000%.
It’s all thanks to its coronavirus vaccine, Covaxin.
Co-developed with India’s Bharat Biotech, the vaccine had a 77.8% overall efficacy rate in a phase-3 study. In addition, the World Health Organization issued emergency use authorization for the vaccine to be used globally.
Also, “previous studies showed that Covaxin was also effective at immunizing patients against the Alpha, Beta, Delta, Zeta, and Kappa variants of Covid-19,” as noted by TipRanks.
That’s all great news.
No wonder Noble Financial analyst Robert LeBoyer has an outperform rating on the stock, with a price target of $15 a share.
However, I wouldn’t rush to buy the stock. There are some major issues.
Issue No. 1: Ocugen’s Commercialization Agreement with Bharat Biotech
At the moment, Ocugen has a commercialization agreement with Bharat Biotech that only includes the United States and Canada.
That means OCGN only makes money from the vaccine from sales in the U.S. and Canada. Worse, the company hasn’t received authorization from either country. Plus, even if it did receive authorization, the U.S. already has vaccines in use.
Issue No. 2: OCGN Stock is Losing Money
Worse, the company isn’t bringing in any money, and losses continue to pile up.
In its third quarter, the company had no revenue. Plus, in the first nine months of 2021, it posted a net earnings loss of $43.78 million. That was worse than the $30.58 million posted year over year. Plus, according to Motley Fool contributor David Jagielski:
“Over the same time frame, Ocugen has used up $35.1 million on just its day-to-day operating activities. That’s problematic given that the cash Ocugen reported at the end of the period was just $107.5 million.”
Fortunately, the Vaccine Isn’t Ocugen’s Only Catalyst
That being said, Ocugen is in pre-clinical trials for dry age-related macular degeneration, diabetic macular edema, diabetic retinopathy and wet age-related macular degeneration.
In addition, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration recently accepted the company’s Investigational New Drug application (IND) to initiate clinical trials of its gene therapy treatment for retinitis pigmentosa.
Also, according to a company press release, “The European Medicines Agency (EMA) granted Ocugen broad orphan medicinal product designation in 2021 for OCU400 for the treatment of both retinitis pigmentosa (RP) and Leber congenital amaurosis (LCA) — meaning that, if approved, OCU400 by itself could treat these diseases that are rooted in mutations of more than 175 different genes.”
The Bottom Line on OCGN Stock
The story behind OCGN certainly is solid; there’s some good news with its phase-3 vaccine trials.
Plus, analyst price targets on the stock have an average of $8.88, with one analyst giving it a target price of $15.
Unfortunately, it’s burning through cash. It’s not generating revenues. In addition, unless it can get emergency use authorization in the U.S. and Canada, it’s not likely to make money. Coupled with fierce coronavirus vaccine competition, the existing agreement with Bharat Biotech isn’t actually good for the company.
I just don’t see how the OCGN stock could come anywhere near $15 a share on that. For now, avoid the stock. Unless some miracle happens, OCGN stock should be avoided.
On Penny Stocks and Low-Volume Stocks: With only the rarest exceptions, InvestorPlace does not publish commentary about companies that have a market cap of less than $100 million or trade less than 100,000 shares each day. That’s because these “penny stocks” are frequently the playground for scam artists and market manipulators. If we ever do publish commentary on a low-volume stock that may be affected by our commentary, we demand that InvestorPlace.com’s writers disclose this fact and warn readers of the risks.
On the date of publication, Ian Cooper did not have (either directly or indirectly) any positions in the securities mentioned in this article. The opinions expressed in this article are those of the writer, subject to the InvestorPlace.com Publishing Guidelines.
Ian Cooper, a contributor to InvestorPlace.com, has been analyzing stocks and options for web-based advisories since 1999.