To the tune of "Isn't She Lovely?" infant cord blood harvester and stem cell researcher ViaCell
Already, this debutante's glow has begun to wear thin. Traders who benefited from the stock's initial "pop" from the $7 IPO price to $9, and then to a brief intraday high of $12.70 on Jan. 25, have watched the stock slump back toward the $9 range in anticipation of tomorrow's news.
Possibly lost in all the stock's wobbling, however, are the fundamentals of the business behind the ticker symbol. Aside from what was published in the company's IPO prospectus, those fundamentals aren't very well known. So, along with those of you who have Foolishly (capital "F") elected to wait until this company has a few quarters of published financials under its belt before deciding whether to invest, this is what we'll be looking for tomorrow:
First and foremost, we're going to shrug off tomorrow's news of a diminished net loss. Last year, ViaCell took more than $20 million in charges for "in-process technology," primarily as a write-off of the value of research being done by Kourion Therapeutics, a company it acquired in 2003. That's an excellent example of the kind of "one-time charge" you don't want to fixate on when comparing a company's performance from year to year: Its absence in fiscal 2004 does not signify any real movement toward profitability. We'll be even less swayed by the addition of $3 million or so from the reversal of a fiscal 2003 court decision ordering ViaCell to pay royalties to PharmaStem. That dispute remains in litigation, with a new trial ordered. So the $3 million that disappeared from ViaCell's profits in 2003 that will reappear in 2004 may well disappear again in the event of a settlement or adverse court decision.
We'll focus a lot more on how much of the company's last-reported $34 million war chest remains to fund ViaCell's continuing losses. We'll also look at the two real revenue drivers for this company -- the genius business model so reminiscent of subscription-based companies like TiVo
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Fool contributor Rich Smith has no position, short or long, in any company mentioned in this article.