The stock market rewards patience. Parking your money in securities with solid prospects and a strong competitive advantage is a great strategy for yielding substantial results over longer periods of time. But for some stocks, doubling in value in just a year is a real possibility. Investors should remember, though, that these tend to be high-risk, high-reward plays.
With that disclaimer out of the way, here are two companies whose shares could skyrocket within the next 12 months: Moderna (MRNA -1.76%) and Sorrento Therapeutics (SRNE). Both are on the list of the 100 most popular stocks on the commission-free trading platform Robinhood. If you have a higher-than-average risk tolerance, find out why these stocks could double your money between now and 2022.
Moderna started the year with a market cap of about $6.4 billion. Now, it sits at a whopping $28 billion. The company, which has emerged a leader in the coronavirus vaccine race, expects readout data from the phase 3 clinical study of its messenger RNA (RNA) vaccine candidate, mRNA-1273, in November. Even at its current market cap, the company has a good chance of doubling its stock price between now and January 2022 if it can bring a safe and effective vaccine to market.
Moderna recently announced that it had finished enrolling all 30,000 participants for its phase 3 trial. The primary endpoint of Moderna's phase 3 trial, called the COVE (coronavirus efficacy) study, is the prevention of symptomatic COVID-19. Secondary endpoints include the prevention of severe COVID-19 disease and infection by SARS-CoV-2.
The biotech has already initiated rolling submissions for its vaccine candidate in the U.K. and Canada. These options will help speed up the review and potential approval of mRNA-1273. On Aug. 11, Moderna penned an agreement with the U.S. government to supply 100 million doses of mRNA-1273 for $1.525 billion, pending a thumbs-up from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA).
Moderna also has supply deals with Canada, Japan, and Qatar. While several other competitors are neck and neck with Moderna in the race, there is a worldwide need for a COVID-19 vaccine, and there is no reason why a group of companies could not benefit from the market opportunity.
Moderna has more than a dozen other pipeline candidates, but none are even undergoing phase 3 clinical trials yet. In the next 12 months or so, the biotech's stock performance will largely depend on its progress in the COVID-19 vaccine race. If the company earns regulatory approval (or an Emergency Use Authorization) for its candidate, its shares could get a significant boost.
2. Sorrento Therapeutics
Sorrento Therapeutics has also garnered attention for its efforts in the fight against the novel coronavirus. The company is working on a slew of therapies, diagnostic tests, and antibody cocktails. Sorrento has perhaps the most plentiful COVID-19 pipeline, with at least eight different products in development. Let's discuss two of the company's most important candidates.
COVI-TRACK is a test that can detect antibodies for COVID-19 in blood samples from patients in as little as eight minutes. The company tested this product on samples from healthy donors, and it demonstrated specificity (true negative rate) greater than 97% and sensitivity (true positive rate) greater than 94%. The market for coronavirus diagnostics will be worth almost $20 billion this year, according to the research firm Grand View Research, and it will continue to grow. COVI-TRACK gives Sorrento Therapeutics an opportunity to make a dent in that space. This test is currently under review for an Emergency Use Authorization (EUA) by the FDA.
Second is the drug Abivertinib, which Sorrento is testing in hospitalized COVID-19 patients, particularly those who develop cytokine storms -- a reaction that occurs when the body releases too many cytokines (a type of protein) into the blood too quickly, leading to hyperinflammation. Abivertinib was originally being developed as a treatment for cancer, and it has been tested in more than 600 non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC) patients. The medicine generally showed a favorable safety profile, with most adverse reactions being of grade 1 (the lowest severity) or grade 2. Abivertinib is currently in a phase 2 clinical trial for hospitalized COVID-19 patients.
Unlike Moderna, Sorrento does not have any vaccines or treatments in late-stage testing. But the company could benefit from the approval of its diagnostic test kit by the FDA, or other movements in its COVID-19 pipeline.
Note that shares more than doubled earlier this year after CEO Henry Ji announced in a Fox News interview that the company had found a potential cure for the disease. The cure in question was an antibody called STI-1499, which was able to completely neutralize the infectivity of the SARS-CoV-2 virus in preclinical trials. Sorrento Therapeutics' stock has cooled down since -- its shares were down from its 450% growth peak by late August -- but with a rich pipeline of coronavirus-related products, the biotech could see much better days ahead if it manages to impress investors.
Invest with caution
Moderna and Sorrento Therapeutics both have a chance to double their share prices within the next 12 months. But the companies face significant risks. Moderna's approach to vaccines is novel; if approved, its mRNA vaccine would be the first approved by the FDA. Although the company was founded all the way back in 2010, it has yet to launch a single product on the market and remains largely untested.
One of the many issues Sorrento Therapeutics is facing is funding. The company does not generate much by way of sales. During its second-quarter, it reported just $9 million in revenue, most of which it generated by product sales of one of its subsidiaries. The company also recorded a loss from operations of $47.7 million and a net loss of roughly $85 million. Sorrento Therapeutics could resort to dilutive forms of financing within the next year, and if it does, its stock will drop.
These issues (and others) make Moderna and Sorrento Therapeutics uncertain biotech stocks. But for investors on Robinhood (or elsewhere) comfortable with the inherent risk, there could be a nice reward at the end of the road. For those risk-averse investors, there are plenty of other popular Robinhood stocks worth considering.