What happened

Shares of the synthetic-biology company Intrexon Corporation (NASDAQ:XON) lost over a quarter of their value today -- down 25.63% -- on nearly nine times the average daily volume. The culprit? An extremely disappointing third-quarter earnings release that featured a hefty 16.3% miss on revenue compared to the Street's consensus estimate for the three-month period -- $46 million vs. $55 million.

Intrexon attributed this noteworthy miss to a decline in collaboration, licensing, and product revenues during the quarter relative to the same period a year ago.

Man staring at a downward trending arrow breaking through the floor.

Image Source: Getty Images.

So what

Despite its highly diversified synthetic-biology platform that sports high-value assets in agriculture, biofuels, and cancer biology, Intrexon has repeatedly failed to produce quarterly results that meet expectations. The company's shares, for instance, took a beating earlier this year after it rolled out an underwhelming second-quarter earnings report. 

Now what

With Intrexon losing almost $40 million in the third quarter, it's starting to look like the company will need to raise a sizable amount of capital fairly soon -- and that fact implies that a dilutive secondary offering is coming down the pike. Intrexon, after all, exited the third quarter with only enough cash to cover its ongoing operations through to, perhaps, the second-half of 2018. But even this bleak estimate might be a bit too generous at this stage.

All told, Intrexon's synthetic-biology platform may look compelling on paper, but until the company starts to deliver consistent results from a revenue standpoint, investors should probably steer clear of this falling knife.

George Budwell has no position in any of the stocks mentioned. The Motley Fool has no position in any of the stocks mentioned. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy.