Sometimes there are hidden gems awaiting discovery in the bargain bin, and sometimes there are only dregs. Discernment is a key skill for investing, and during the bear market, there are bound to be plenty of tempting stocks that are actually lemons.

On that note, here are a couple of severely beaten-down growth stocks that are popular among investors, but only one of them has a credible path to stay in business. Let's analyze both so that you'll know why their shares are so cheap right now and if they might be good to purchase or add to your watch list.

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1. Tilray

With ambitions to become the world's biggest seller of legal cannabis products, Tilray Brands (TLRY -1.13%) is also a growth stock that's remarkably inexpensive. Despite reporting $144 million in revenue for its fiscal second quarter and free cash flow (FCF) of $25.4 million, its shares are down 42.7% in the last three years because of persistent unprofitability and wild oversupply compared to demand across several continents.

At the moment, its price-to-book (P/B) ratio is a mere 0.3, which implies that its shares are priced lower than the value of its tangible assets. Of course, it won't be selling 100% of its assets anytime soon, and it probably wouldn't be able to make as much money by selling them today as it originally paid. So in that light, its valuation is a signal that the market is bearish about the stock, as the mismatch between asset values and its share price will need to eventually close, potentially by writing off the assets and taking a big loss.

Nonetheless, there's a small chance that the market is too pessimistic about Tilray's value, which could be an opportunity for the right kind of highly risk-tolerant investor.

Over the next few years, it'll aim to consolidate its multinational cannabis and alcohol sales operations, thereby potentially proving the true value of its holdings and perhaps even becoming profitable in the process. It'll also continue to increase its sales via its ongoing international market penetration efforts, which over the last three years caused its quarterly revenue to rise by 27.1% to reach $144.1 million. Catalysts like marijuana legalization in the E.U. could potentially send its top-line growth into overdrive, as it could quickly capture a significant market share thanks to its existing operations in the region.

But given that its quarterly gross margin actually worsened over the last three years, its success is not guaranteed, and its progress toward being a must-buy investment has been quite limited so far. Likewise, it's losing ground against its competitors in the U.S. cannabis market, where it has no presence as of yet.

It's also facing down the remains of a margin-compressing glut of cannabis in its home market of Canada, where wholesale marijuana prices fell by 40% in 2022. But thanks to its $433.5 million in cash and equivalents and an increasing amount of income from its sales of alcohol, it will probably survive the near term, even if it might be painful for shareholders for a while longer. For most investors, it's best to sit and watch this one rather than invest today.

2. Novavax

With Novavax (NVAX -5.11%), whether its shares are a bargain or trading at the appropriate price is a bit of a toss-up, but everyone can agree that after an 81% drop in the last six months, it's cheaper than before.

The once-ascendant coronavirus vaccine maker is now reeling from a slew of problems that it could easily be brought down by, even after reporting nearly $2 billion in revenue for 2022, a rise of 73% compared to a year prior.

Japan just canceled its order for 140 million doses in February due to low domestic demand for the shots. Other customers like the Gavi vaccine consortium allege that they never got the doses they paid for, and are now attempting to take the company into arbitration to recoup some of the approximately $700 million that was originally paid in the attempted purchase.

Furthermore, the company is still unprofitable, and it's unclear what would need to happen to change that, aside from slashing costs in manufacturing. What's more, the biotech's own CEO is raising doubts that Novavax will be around a year from now due to ongoing high costs, a rapidly dwindling cash runway of $1.3 billion, and limited hopes for commercializing new products anytime soon.

On that note, it isn't too surprising that Novavax's price-to-sales (P/S) multiple is a mere 0.2, thereby making it look incredibly cheap when compared with almost any other biotech and most other types of stocks, too. 

Crucially, a low valuation doesn't mean you should be rushing to buy this growth stock. Companies approaching liquidation in bankruptcy tend to have low valuations, too, and Novavax might well fit that bill within a year or so. So don't buy it.