What happened

Shares of BioTime (NYSEMKT:BTX) rose over 14% today, after the small-cap biopharma announced that it would be releasing earnings for the second quarter of 2018 on Aug. 2. In other words, this might be a case of "sometimes stocks go up, sometimes stocks go down."

That said, investors are awaiting potentially exciting news about market approval for the company's first commercial product. Considering that shares hit new 52-week lows in recent weeks, and the upcoming catalyst, even today's straightforward press release does the job of putting the company back in the news.

As of 3:15 p.m. EDT, the stock had settled to a 12.7% gain.

A businessman drawing a yellow step chart

Image source: Getty Images.

So what

BioTime is a $330 million company developing products to treat various degenerative diseases. The lead product candidate, Renevia, is a hydrogel designed to help restore facial body-fat composition in patients taking certain HIV drugs, which can cause lipoatrophy (loss of body fat). The hydrogel is implanted with a patient's own stem cells, which can help to mitigate the impact of lipoatrophy by regrowing adipose (a type of fat cell) tissue. It will be regulated as a medical device, and in March was submitted for marketing approval in the European Union.

A decision on marketing approval is expected in the second half of 2018. Therefore, it seems that investors are hoping for an update when the business reports its next quarterly earnings on Aug. 2. Beyond that, the next most advanced clinical product is in phase 2 trials.

Now what

While Renevia would be the company's first commercialized product, the market opportunity for this specific type of facial aesthetic is not very large, nor has the company begun clinical trials in the United States. Combined with the early-stage nature of the company's platform, investors should consider BioTime a speculative investment while awaiting the formal update from management in early August.