What: Shares of synthetic biology leader Intrexon (NYSE:XON) ended the day up 11%, setting a new all-time high of over $60 per share and allowing the company to eclipse a $6-billion-plus market cap for the first time in its history, after investment analysts at Wunderlich gave the company a new $70-per-share price target in an investor report.
So what: For investors who follow Intrexon and grasp its business strategy, which I broke down earlier this year, the Wunderlich report will disappoint. No new news was presented; it simply stated: "In comparison to pure-play biotech, [Intrexon] generates a stable stream of product and services revenue, is not burning cash on its ECC investments, and addresses multibillion-dollar market opportunities in pharmaceuticals, food/agriculture, energy, and chemicals."
To be fair, Intrexon is executing its growth plan as expected, if not better than expected. Revenue continues to grow handsomely each quarter, with significant contributions from collaboration, product, and services revenue streams. The company achieved $33.9 million in revenue in the first quarter of 2015 after notching just $23.8 million in total revenue in all of 2013.
Intrexon could generate over $100 million in product revenue alone this year, mostly derived from its cattle breeding platform.
Now what: While the growth and execution is remarkable, an honest evaluation of Intrexon's market cap and share price will show that many of the gains made in 2015 are derived from intangible future potential. Many analysts on Wall Street have awarded the company for announcements made regarding progress in its healthcare business, even though the most advanced clinical candidates are only in early-stage trials.
In other words, to me, it seems many of the share gains are derived from the ongoing biotech boom, not from tangible performance improvements.
While Intrexon has the makings of a great long-term buy-and-hold company, it appears to be overvalued at the moment. Have I warned about these potential risks before? Yes. What has happened since? Intrexon shares keep marching higher.
Maxx Chatsko has no position in any stocks mentioned. Check out his personal portfolio, CAPS page, previous writing for The Motley Fool, and follow him on Twitter to keep up with developments in the synthetic biology field.
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