What: Shares of MannKind (NASDAQ:56400P706), the maker of the inhaled insulin product Afrezza, are shooting higher today after the company confirmed that its stock will be listed on the Tel Aviv stock exchange in the next few days.
So what: MannKind officially confirmed today that its stock will begin trading on the Israeli exchange as planned on November 15, 2015. MannKind also reconfirmed that it is expecting to sell some of its shares directly to selected investment funds in Israel, which should raise bring in some much needed capital. Given the rules of the exchange, many investment funds in the country are actually now required to hold the stock, which means that MannKind will be selling shares into a market with guaranteed buyers.
We do not yet know how many of the shares that will be sold in this offering will bring in capital, as that depends on the number of shares the funds are required to hold as well as their desired allocation amounts. It also depends on the pricing of the stock, which also hasn't been confirmed. The only details that investors can go off at this point is that on the company's earnings call its management team estimated that up to 50 million shares could be sold, and it believes that "the majority" of those shares would be sold directly.
After MannKind's stock price hit an all time low yesterday, short sellers were likely in profit taking mode today, hence the skyrocketing share price.
Now what: While a capital raise is certainly good news, it's likely only to be a temporary band-aid. This company's future is still firmly dependent on sales of Afrezza, the company's only approved drug, taking off. Given that MannKind's marketing partner Sanofi (NYSE:SNY) only managed to sell roughly $2.2 million worth of Afrezza during the third quarter, which was flat with the second quarter results, the odds of that happening continue to look like a long shot.
Investors had been selling off MannKind's stock hard over worries that Sanofi will exercise its option to stop selling Afrezza. Sanofi could do so as early as this coming January, and given that MannKind lacks the financial resources to commercialize Afrezza itself, MannKind's future is starting to look bleak.
With more than 120 million shares of MannKind's stock sold short, the shares are likely to remain highly volatile into the foreseeable future. This is now the third time this week that its stock price has moved more than 10% in a single day. Today's bounce once again pushes MannKind's market cap over the $1 billion threshold, which feels like an awfully big valuation for a company that is such rough financial shape. Investors in this name should proceed with caution.
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