Invitae (NVTA -72.22%) has been one of the most beaten-up stocks this year, falling more than 70% thus far (the S&P 500 has declined by only 10% over the same period). Significant losses and a growth rate that may not be all that exciting are just a couple of key reasons investors may not be overly bullish on the stock.

But Invitae has been surging of late -- since the release of its latest earnings number. Is the company turning around, and is now the time for investors to buy shares of Invitae?

The business is a long-term play

Invitae seeks to make genetic testing more accessible, quicker, and available at lower prices. Investing in genetic testing can be promising -- but only if you are willing to potentially wait decades for it to pay off.

Analysts from Fortune Business Insights project that the genetic testing market in the U.S. will be worth $10.3 billion in 2027, up from $4.1 billion in 2019. Although that would mean the industry would have a compound annual growth rate of 13% during that time, that still makes for a fairly small industry.

Patience is going to be a necessary virtue for investors here, especially since Invitae's numbers don't look so great.

Posting a whopping $2.5 billion loss

On August 9, Invitae reported its second-quarter earnings. Sales of $136.6 million for the period ending June 30 rose 17.5% year over year. That's one of the slowest growth rates the company has posted in the past five years.

NVTA Revenue (Quarterly YoY Growth) Chart

NVTA Revenue (Quarterly YoY Growth) data by YCharts.

To make matters worse, the company's expenses easily eclipse the top line, with cost of revenue at $110 million during the quarter -- and research and development costs even higher at $115 million. Asset impairment charges of $2.3 billion put an exclamation mark on what was an underwhelming performance by the business.

It's also cash flow that should concern investors. The company's cash burn was $135 million. Although Invitae has $737 million in cash and marketable securities on its books, it can't maintain that level of cash burn for long. The end result could be taking on debt to finance the business or issuing more shares and diluting investors.

Invitae projects that it will burn through between $600 million and $650 million in cash this year while expecting low double-digit growth this year. Over the longer term, it expects sales to climb between 15% and 25%.

Has Invitae become a meme stock?

There wasn't anything overly bullish or exciting in the company's earnings report, but shares of Invitae would still end up surging 277% the following day. The evidence seems to suggest that Invitae has become a meme stock as its shares are more actively traded, fundamentals don't appear to concern investors at all, and it also has a high short interest.

NVTA 30-Day Average Daily Volume Chart

NVTA 30-Day Average Daily Volume data by YCharts.

Should you buy Invitae stock today?

Invitae's business has potential over the long term, but it also possesses many risks, including its high costs and cash burn. The stock's movements this month suggest there's a new risk, and that may come from retail investors betting on the healthcare company

If you're a long-term investor who's willing to buy and hold Invitae, you may be better off waiting for this influx of speculative buying to die down. There simply isn't a reason to be overly bullish on Invitae today and nothing to justify such a sudden and sharp increase in value. That's why for now, the best decision may be to just wait on the sidelines as a decline in the share price looks to be inevitable.