Last year, the COVID-19 pandemic raised the public's appreciation for all things biology-related. It also raised a lot of biology-focused stocks.
Those gains didn't last long. This year a handful of high-profile genomics stocks that previously soared are falling along with new infection numbers.
All three of these companies can test for COVID-19, but they're well-suited to produce steadier revenue in ways that have nothing to do with coronaviruses. If you're a bargain shopper trying to figure out if these stocks are undervalued at the moment, here's what you need to know.
1. Exact Sciences
Exact Sciences' (NASDAQ:EXAS) stock price has tumbled around 41% since its high watermark this February. Now its trading at just 8.7 times trailing 12-month sales.
Screening for cancer is this company's bread and butter, but rapidly rising COVID-19 testing revenue excited investors enough to drive the stock to new all-time highs earlier this year. Waning demand for COVID-19 testing, in general, sent a lot of Exact Sciences' shareholders running for the exits.
COVID-19 testing revenue contracted 70% year over year in the third quarter to just $30.6 million. The company's cancer screening sales, though, continue to surge higher. As a result, total revenue in the third quarter rose 12% year over year to $456 million.
Unfortunately, Exact Sciences' income statement gives investors lots of reasons to be nervous. Despite strong top-line revenue growth, Exact Sciences lost $375 million during the first nine months of 2021.
It's been over seven years since the FDA made Exact Sciences' non-invasive colorectal cancer screening solution a viable option over traditional colonoscopy. That's more than enough time to exhibit an ability to scale up and eventually generate a profit.
Invitae (NYSE:NVTA) is another diagnostics stock that has been beaten down this year in response to heavy losses. The shares have fallen around 62% from the all-time high they reached last December.
Like Exact Sciences, operating expenses have outpaced gross profits available to pay for those expenses. Invitae has been spending heavily to become more than just a provider of genetic testing services. A string of acquisitions in recent years is making it easier for physicians to order tests, and a whole lot easier for customers to share data with healthcare providers trained to interpret their tests.
Shares of Invitae have been tanking because the company's path to profitability is even hazier than Exact Sciences' at the moment. Operating expenses over the past year have swelled to more than $950 million. Topline revenue is soaring, but gross profits available to pay those expenses have stagnated.
Despite the heavy losses, Invitae's investments position the company to be a major player in a fast-growing market for genetic testing services. By the company's estimates, the total available market opportunity for the company's screening services is more than $150 billion annually.
Quantum-Si (NASDAQ:QSI) shares didn't begin trading until this June. The stock popped shortly after its stock market debut but has since tumbled down to around 40% below the peak it reached in the summer.
Quantum-Si isn't necessarily a genetics company. It's developing highly sensitive scientific equipment that can tell researchers exactly which genes are being expressed in any given cell. In theory, this will make it a lot easier for life science researchers to study exactly which proteins are at work in specific cells under specific conditions. That could take a lot of guesswork out of the new drug discovery process.
All the cells in your body have the same gigantic set of genetic instructions but different types of cells use different collections of genes. Protein expression within cells also varies widely in response to a myriad of varying factors that include hormones, toxins, and experimental drugs.
The scientific applications are endless, but dreams of a successful future are all that Quantum-Si has to offer investors at the moment. An early access program that began before the company raised $511.2 million this June has been advancing at a pace that doesn't suggest much confidence. As of Nov. 10, 2021, just 10 early access sites had one of the company's devices.
Quantum-Si plans on launching its platform for research use sometime next year. Before risking much of your own money, it's probably best to wait for signs that potential customers are eager to use this company's fancy new single-molecule detection technology.