As I discussed in my last article on Cassava Sciences (NASDAQ:SAVA), controversy continues to weigh on the performance of SAVA stock. Over the past week, shares in the clinical-stage biotech firm have traded wildly.
First pushed lower by a perceived potential bombshell, shares then zoomed higher, as the company took an aggressive step in fighting back against the short-seller that management believes are behind the much-discussed data manipulation allegations laid against Cassava.
So, what is the takeaway from these latest developments with SAVA? Is it time to bail on the stock, or does this remain a worthwhile opportunity for aggressive investors? I would say the latter rather than the former.
Although the most recent headlines underscore the highly-risky nature of this speculative play, said headlines from the past few days do not make this stock any riskier than it was a week ago.
The Latest With SAVA Stock
As reported by InvestorPlace’s Eddie Pan, a pair of concerning developments fueled a double-digit sell-off in Cassava shares on Nov. 2. First, an article from independent research group Probes Reporter stated that the company has been the subject of two undisclosed investigations by the Securities and Exchange Commission (or SEC) in the recent past.
Second, an announcement from the Journal of Clinical Investigation (or JCI) that the publication planned to investigate allegations of misconduct in a scientific paper published in 2012. This paper is connected to Cassava’s development of its flagship drug candidate, Alzheimer’s candidate simufilam.
But almost as quickly as SAVA stock sank, it surged again. This was especially true on Nov. 3, when the biotech firm announced it was filing a lawsuit against short-sellers that it believes have engaged in a “short and distort” campaign against the company. SAVA has pulled back in price since then.
The uncertainty related to past data-manipulation allegations keeps affecting the stock’s near-term performance. Expect this to continue.
Nevertheless, this doesn’t mean investors who can stomach current and possibly future volatility should steer clear of Cassava. There’s still ample upside potential if this stock’s sole “make or break” catalyst ends up playing out.
Risk/Reward Remains Highly Favorable
As I’ve put it several times before, SAVA stock is a binary investment opportunity. Either Cassava Sciences brings simufilam to market, or it doesn’t. If this drug makes it to market, there is a high chance the stock will re-hit its past all-time high ($135.30 per share), but climb to even higher prices.
If simufilam fails to obtain regulatory approval, and never makes it to market? You can count on shares falling back to the single-digits per share. That’s what SAVA stock traded for a few years ago, before the simufilam catalyst really started to emerge.
However, while an extremely risky wager on the outcome of a still in-progress clinical trial, events over the past week have not increased the chances this stock experiences a “game over” moment. The data-manipulation controversy have been out there for over a year.
So far, little has come out to back these allegations. The aforementioned articles have just renewed attention to past concerns, rather than create new ones. In fact, instead of bolstering the bear case for SAVA, this latest news, and the resultant impact on the stock’s performance (albeit mild) has created a slightly more ideal entry point for a speculative position.
Put simply, there hasn’t been a material change in the risk/return proposition with Cassava Sciences. As such, the stock continues to earn a B rating in Portfolio Grader.
There’s still a lot of upside potential if results from Phase 3 trials of Simulfilam (set to be released in 2024) point to high likelihood of this treatment obtaining approval from the Food and Drug Administration (or FDA).
Better yet, you may not have to wait for the Phase 3 “moment of truth” to drop in 2024. Shares could resume moving in the right direction much sooner.
Subsequent developments may finally put to bed the data-manipulation claims. If Cassava prevails in its counter-attack against the short-side, this too many give the stock a boost.
Headlines and controversy notwithstanding, consider SAVA stock to be one of the more promising biotech plays out there.
On the date of publication, neither Louis Navellier nor the InvestorPlace Research Staff member primarily responsible for this article held (either directly or indirectly) any positions in the securities mentioned in this article.