What happened

There was a great deal of life in Wave Life Sciences (WVE 6.65%) stock on Thursday. As of midafternoon trading, investors had bid the company's share price up by more than 25%, comparing very favorably to the marginal gain eked out by the S&P 500 index. That was due almost entirely to the clinical-stage biotech's latest set of quarterly results and business update.

So what

Before market open, Wave published its second-quarter results. These showed that, although the company is mostly pre-revenue at this stage of its existence, it nevertheless booked $375,000 on the top line. This was down from the nearly $2.8 million it earned in the same quarter last year.

Somewhat predictably net loss deepened, but not by a significant amount. It came in at slightly more than $41 million ($0.62 per share), against the year-ago deficit of almost $39 million.

Analysts typically don't provide revenue estimates for companies in Wave's stage of development. They did, however, model a net loss for the quarter that was narrower than the actual result at $0.51 per share.

Yet it wasn't the numbers that produced the very positive investor reaction. The biotech, which focuses on gene-based treatments, has a clutch of pipeline programs, some of which are advancing quite encouragingly. Among these are WVE-006, Wave's just-announced drug that targets alpha-1 antitrypsin deficiency (AATD), a disorder that could lead to lung and liver disease.

Now what

Crucially for an early-stage biotech that loses money, Wave currently has plenty of financial gas in its tank. It wrote that its current cash runway -- bolstered by a recent share and warrant issue that raised around $70 million -- is sufficient to carry it to the end of 2023. As of the end of June, the company had just over $148 million in cash, cash equivalents, and short-term investments on its books.