What happened

Shares of Aurinia Pharmaceuticals (NASDAQ:AUPH), an early commercial-stage biotech, are down by 17% in after-hours trading Thursday afternoon. The biotech's stock is cratering in response to the company's 2021 first-quarter earnings report released after the closing bell today.  

So what

Investors appear to be backing away from Aurinia today for one simple reason: Sales of the biotech's newly approved lupus nephritis medication Lupkynis (aka voclosporin) failed to break even $1 million during the first quarter of 2021. Wall Street, for its part, was expecting sales of approximately $1.1 million for the three-month period.

A worried man staring at his laptop while sitting at a desk.

Image source: Getty Images.

While these early sales figures obviously aren't great, investors may want to keep in mind that Lupkynis was approved less than five months ago during a global pandemic. In other words, this mass exodus by shareholders -- in response to these rather preliminary sales data -- probably isn't warranted. 

Now what

On the bright side, Aurinia still had a healthy $360.9 million in cash and cash equivalents at the end of the first quarter. That amount should give the company two more years to get Lupkynis' commercial launch on track. 

Should bargain hunters take advantage of this sizable pullback in Aurinia's share price? Lupkynis still has a real shot to break $1 billion in annual sales within the next two to three years. So, if you're in the market for a top growth stock, you might want to check out this beaten-down biotech following this post-earnings dip.

This article represents the opinion of the writer, who may disagree with the “official” recommendation position of a Motley Fool premium advisory service. We’re motley! Questioning an investing thesis -- even one of our own -- helps us all think critically about investing and make decisions that help us become smarter, happier, and richer.