One of the market's biggest movers over the past few days is a company that helps some wheelchair-bound folks move again through high-tech robotics. ReWalk Robotics (NASDAQ:RWLK) has seen its stock climb 25% last week -- and a mind-blowing 182% over the past six trading days -- after a favorable development shook the stock out of its slumber.
ReWalk Robotics has one of the more interesting stories out there. It was founded by Dr. Amit Goffer, an electrical engineer who became paralyzed after an ATV accident. Unwilling to accept his new physical limitations, Goffer invented a robotic exoskeleton for folks with spinal cord injuries. Strapping on a ReWalk system may appear laborious and awkward, but it does bestow users with the ability to stand up and walk through powered hip and knee sensor controls.
ReWalk went public at $12 late last year, and the stock soared on its juicy long-term prospects. The shares traded as high as $30 on its first day of trading, peaking at $43.71 a day later. It's been mostly downhill since then as investors weighed on how long it would take before the system becomes feasibly affordable. Starting at roughly $70,000 at the time of ReWalk's IPO, it had a limited market. It had a big score this summer when a German insurance company agreed to reimburse a patient for ReWalk's solution, but things were relatively quiet closer to home until a major development just a few days ago.
The stock was trading in the single digits -- closing at $6 on Dec. 16 -- just before the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs issued a national policy for the evaluation, training, and procurement of ReWalk exoskeleton systems for all qualifying veterans. There are other companies toiling away on exoskeleton solutions, but this is the only product with FDA clearance in this country. The VA policy is exclusive to ReWalk's platform.
The market's reaction to ReWalk scoring the first national coverage policy in the U.S. for qualifying individuals with spinal cord injuries has been euphoric. ReWalk shares have risen sharply for six consecutive trading days.
The stock had been forgotten by Mr. Market until that press release on the morning of Dec. 17 lit a fire under the stock. Trading volume had been stagnant before that, waffling about in the five digits for all but one trading day over the two previous months. That has obviously changed since the Dec. 17 news with volume topping 1 million shares every single trading day.
The volatility will continue, especially as Wall Street pros begin to chime in with the financial impact that the VA policy will have on ReWalk's fortunes. The story may be starting to lose some of its zing with the gains and trading volume already showing signs of decelerating. However, the VA move is a game changer, and ReWalk isn't likely to fall into the single digits once the first claims start to be processed if the evaluation period holds up. The stock's pop over the past six trading days has been huge, but it could be just the beginning if ReWalk systems begin gaining traction.