Shares of Biocept, Inc. (NASDAQ:BIOC) soared 56.5% as of 11:41 a.m. EDT on Friday after the molecular diagnostics company announced that it had entered an agreement with Alliance Global FZ to market and distribute Biocept's liquid biopsy tests in countries in the Middle East, Africa, and Southeast Asia.
Biocept might need to be added to the dictionary as an example of stock volatility. The company's share-price swings up and down are almost dizzying. Does the news about Biocept's agreement with Alliance Global FZ merit such a major move? Probably not.
This deal is only the latest of eight international distribution agreements for Biocept's Target Selector liquid biopsy tests. These tests are used to detect cancer biomarkers in circulating tumor DNA (ctDNA) or on circulating tumor cells (CTCs) in blood samples. Gaining access to new markets for the Target Selector tests is a positive for Biocept, but it's not such good news that the stock should skyrocket.
The hard truth is that the countries where Alliance Global FZ will distribute Biocept's products aren't exactly major markets. Only one country was specifically named in Biocept's press release -- the United Arab Emirates (UAE). The population of the UAE is less than 10 million. Granted, there are other countries in the region to which Alliance Global FZ will distribute Target Selector liquid biopsies, but this deal isn't a game changer for Biocept.
Investors should probably expect continued extreme volatility for Biocept stock in the coming months. The company is losing money to the tune of $5.7 million or more every quarter. Biocept is running out of cash, a fact that prompted the rights offering announced on Thursday.
Until Biocept is able to demonstrate that it's on a clear path to profitability and growth, my view is that investors are better off staying away from the stock. The distribution deal with Alliance Global FZ could help the company move in the right direction, but there's a long way to go.