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Why Progenity Stock Was Up More Than 24% Friday

By Jim Halley – Oct 22, 2021 at 5:27PM

Key Points

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A massive short squeeze saw the biotech stock rise for the second time this week.

What happened

Shares of Progenity (PROG -0.25%) were up more than 24% on Friday. The biotech company is developing a test called Preecludia that rules out preeclampsia, a pregnancy-related blood pressure disorder, while also specializing in gastrointestinal drugs and oral biotherapies. The stock, which closed at $2.50 a share on Thursday, opened at $2.23 and rose to as high as $3.33 during heavy afternoon trading. The company has a 52-week high of $8.24 and a low of $0.6574.

Workers in a biotech lab.

IMAGE SOURCE: GETTY IMAGES.

So what

The stock has been a favorite of retail investors looking for a short squeeze. This week it's the second time the stock saw a significant rally after retail investors piled in. On Monday, the stock opened at $2.31 and rose to $3.08, only to see the stock fall to a low of $2.06 on Tuesday. There was also a big retail investor push for a short squeeze on the stock last week.

Now what

The stock may eventually be a good long-term investment but appears risky in the short term. This year, for every short-squeeze winner, such as AMC Entertainment or GameStop, other short squeezes have had only short-lived successes. There is a least a little logic behind Progenity's recent rise, however.

Preecludia just received its patent in September, and Progenity has a decent-sized pipeline. Last week, it had four patents approved regarding its ingestible technologies for its drug delivery system (DDS) regarding therapeutics to treat gastrointestinal disorders. Its DDS is an ingestible tablet that is designed to help those with inflammatory bowel disease when existing drugs have been ineffective.

However, there are plenty of red flags. The company's earnings were down 71.69% in 2020 and in the second quarter, it lost $78.5 million, compared to $32.3 million in the same quarter last year. With the company posting only $65.9 million in cash, its continued losses are problematic. Moreover, in the second quarter, its revenues were only $463,000, so the pressure is high to turn Preecludia into a money-maker. The company said it has the potential to be a $3 billion test annually.

Jim Halley has no position in any of the stocks mentioned. The Motley Fool has no position in any of the stocks mentioned. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy.

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