With the outbreak of the coronavirus, volatility has become a seemingly ever-present facet of the stock market. While the current economic landscape has spurred fear among investors, others view market volatility as a unique buying opportunity.
Opportunity is the key word – and sometimes the hardest thing for investors to see. To find names that can deliver solid returns and now come with a bargain price tag, investors will often turn to penny stocks, or those trading for less than $5 per share.
Sure, there could be a very good reason these tickers are so affordable, but should there be even minor share price appreciation, massive percentage gains could materialize, along with hefty profits for investors.
So, how are investors supposed to determine which names have what it takes to make a comeback? Follow the pros.
Using TipRanks’ database, we were able to pinpoint two promising penny stocks, according to the analyst community. Although each has fallen below $3, the Buy-rated tickers appear poised to take off on an upward trajectory, boasting colossal upside potential.
Xeris Pharmaceuticals (XERS)
Based on its innovative technology platform that enables ready-to-use, room-temperature stable formulations of injectable and infusible therapies, Xeris Pharmaceuticals provides solutions that simplify the process of administering important therapies. Even though its public offering prompted a serious sell-off on June 25, with the one-day loss coming in at 49%, the new $2.59 share price could allow investors to get in on the action before XERS blasts off.
Representing Piper Sandler, analyst David Amsellem believes that the Street is underestimating XERS. Pointing to the results from its Phase 2 proof-of-concept study evaluating XP-3924, its liquid-stable, ready-to-use (RTU) coformulation of pramlintide and insulin in adult patients with type 1 diabetes, the analyst is optimistic about the candidate’s prospects going forward.
The trial was designed as a randomized, open-label, 3-arm, cross-over study enrolling 18 adult participants, who were randomized to receive subcutaneous injections (SC) of XP-3924, regular insulin or co-administration of Symlin and insulin. It should be noted that Symlin is AstraZeneca’s product that needs to be injected separately from insulin, while Xeris' asset is given as a single injection.
Importantly, post-prandial treatment with XP-3924 resulted in a 62% decrease in hyperglycemia compared to treatment with insulin alone. Adding to the good news, Amsellem highlights that glycemic control associated with XP-3924 was in line with that of the co-administration of pramlintide-insulin, and that glucose variability, or the variation of all plasma glucose levels across the six-hour monitoring period, was lower in patients treated with XP-3924 versus insulin alone and the co-administration of insulin with Symlin.
“We do not believe that meaningful value is being ascribed to this opportunity (or other pipeline shots-on-goal for that matter), given our bullish view of the opportunity for Gvoke in severe hypoglycemia rescue (i.e., peak U.S. sales of $250 million-plus are realistic),” Amsellem commented.
Looking ahead, Amsellem expects XERS to seek out a development partner, with management indicating “it could play a role in pramlintide-insulin commercialization with a partner given that the company already calls on endocrinologists in its support of Gvoke.” The analyst added, “As an aside, management also suggested that it would seek a partner for its injectable diazepam product for seizure clusters, though this is a relatively inexpensive development program focused on a concentrated prescriber audience, so in that vein, keeping full rights here would not be out of the question.”
To this end, Amsellem rates XERS an Overweight (i.e. Buy) along with an $11 price target. This target implies shares could climb 326% higher in the next year. (To watch Amsellem’s track record, click here)
Do other analysts agree with Amsellem? They do. Only Buy ratings, 4, in fact, have been issued in the last three months, so the consensus rating is a Strong Buy. At $12.50, the average price target puts the potential twelve-month gain at 373%. (See XERS stock analysis on TipRanks)
Avinger is a medical device company that designs and develops the first and only image-guided, catheter-based system for the diagnosis and treatment of patients with Peripheral Artery Disease (PAD).
AVGR also tumbled recently on account of a $5.4 million public offering. Currently going for only $0.29 apiece, one member of the Street believes that now is the right time to snap up shares.
Aegis Capital’s Nathan Weinstein notes that its recent capital raise via equity financing, its $2.3 million PPP loan and cash and equivalents of $9.9 million as of March 31, as well as its efforts to trim operating costs “have helped strengthen the company's balance sheet and financial runway.”
Weinstein doesn’t dispute the fact that the current operating environment presents significant challenges including a pull-back in sales thanks to the pandemic, and a move to utilize virtual sales and marketing tools. That being said, AVGR’s clinical representatives continue to operate on customer sites when it’s possible.
Expounding on this, the analyst stated, “A lack of clarity regarding a ‘return to normalcy’ pervades markets broadly, and PAD procedures are no exception. With that said, our current outlook calls for a gradual return to normalcy in patient volumes and customer ordering activity as we move forward through the calendar.”
On top of this, there are several key catalysts on the horizon, in Weinstein’s opinion. These include the 510(k) submission for the Ocelaris image-guided CTO crossing catheter this quarter, the 510(k) submission for the L300 imaging console in 2H:20 and the completion of the INSIGHT IDE clinical study, which was designed to assess the safety and efficacy of Pantheris as a treatment for in-stent restenosis. Should the results be positive, they could support label expansion for Pantheris.
“While we think each of these on their own are important, when we step-back and view the overall portfolio being completely refreshed, we believe the salesforce will be well-positioned to capitalize on the large PAD-treatment opportunity, especially when case volumes return,” Weinstein commented.
In line with Weinstein’s optimistic take, he reiterates a Buy recommendation on AVGR. His $1.40 price target implies a twelve-month gain of 368% from current levels. (To watch Weinstein’s track record, click here)
AVGR has stayed relatively under-the-radar so far, with its Moderate Buy consensus rating breaking down into 1 Buy and 1 Hold. Additionally, the $1.40 average price target matches Weinstein’s. (See Avinger stock-price forecast on TipRanks)
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