Shares of 22nd Century Group (XXII -0.04%) are up a strong 14.6% in 11:45 a.m. EST trading Friday after the "plant biotechnology" company reported fourth-quarter earnings yesterday.
22nd Century Group didn't "beat" earnings, exactly. Its $0.05 per-share reported loss was worse than the $0.03 loss predicted by the sole analyst who covers it. But the company's $7.3 million in sales for the quarter did beat the analyst's predictions for sales -- $6 million.
22nd Century Group isn't a very well-known stock. I actually don't think we've ever written about it before, so perhaps an introduction is in order. The company uses genetic engineering to tweak the levels of nicotine and cannabinoids produced by tobacco and cannabis plants, respectively, aiming to find a niche within what it calls "the more than $800 billion markets across the tobacco and hemp/cannabis industry."
22nd Century says it expects the Biden administration will seek "to cap the amount of nicotine in combustible cigarettes to a 'minimally or non-addictive' level" in order to decrease smoking in the country. That sounds like bad news for tobacco stocks in general but maybe good news for 22nd Century, whose technology could be helpful for this.
Management did not give financial guidance for the coming year. However, in 2021, the company says it will be seeking FDA authorization for its VLN "reduced nicotine content combustible cigarette," which it says would satisfy a requirement that cigarettes contain no more than 0.5 milligrams of nicotine per gram of tobacco. 22nd Century is also hoping "to target the upstream segment of the cannabinoid value chain by creating proprietary, commercially valuable new plant lines" as marijuana legalization progresses in the U.S.