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Does high risk mean high reward? Not necessarily, so say the pros on Wall Street. Specifically citing penny stocks, or stocks that trade for less than $5 per share, analysts advise caution as these names might still be in the early innings, or it could be that they face an uphill battle that is just too steep.
Luring investors with their bargain price tags, these stocks might be up against overpowering headwinds or have weak fundamentals.
However, analysts argue there are early-stage companies that reflect promising opportunities, with the low share prices meaning you get significantly more bang for your buck. What’s more, even what seems like minor share price appreciation can result in massive percentage gains.
The bottom line? Not all risk is created equal. To this end, the pros recommend doing some due diligence before making an investment decision.
With this in mind, we turned to investment firm Roth Capital for some inspiration. The firm’s analysts have pinpointed three compelling penny stocks, noting that each could climb over 100% higher in the year ahead. Using TipRanks’ database, we found out what makes all three such exciting plays even with the risk involved.
Focused on developing mitochondria-based therapeutics (MBTs), CohBar wants to find new treatments for diseases associated with aging and metabolic dysfunction. Based on the strength of its technology and its $0.96 share price, Roth Capital thinks that now is the time to pull the trigger.
Writing for the firm, analyst Elemer Piros points out that CWBR was able to turn over 100 mitochondrial peptides into 1,000 mitochondrial-based therapeutics (MBT). Company scientists and researchers from around the world have found that mitochondrial peptides regulate multiple physiological systems, including risk factors which lead to cardiovascular and neurodegenerative diseases, obesity, diabetes, fatty liver disease fibrotic and inflammatory conditions and cancer.
It should be noted that peptides are either continually or intermittently released to modulate biological functions, but it’s difficult to deliver them as therapies. Additionally, they also tend to have shorter half-lives. “CohBar developed methods to modify peptides and plan to use modified analogues for clinical development,” Piros commented.
Up first for CWBR is CB4211, its optimized analog of the MOTS-c mitochondrial-derived peptide. The company’s first clinical candidate is wrapping up a Phase 1b trial in patients with fatty liver disease. According to management, there are 10 patients who will be randomized for treatment with CB4211 and 10 for placebo, with the results expected in Q1 2021.
Nonalcoholic Fatty Liver Disease (NAFLD) is a condition defined by excessive fat accumulation in the form of triglycerides (steatosis) in the liver in individuals who consume little or no alcohol. What’s more, the company will also target non-alcoholic steatohepatitis (NASH), which is the most severe form of NAFLD.
Piros acknowledges that competition in the space is fierce, but says “no winners can be identified, yet.” Expounding on this, the analyst stated, “CB4211 offers a yet unexplored mechanism of action, which is foundational, based on the natural control of homeostasis, which is lost due to environmental or genetic insults. The compound was derived from naturally occurring mitochondrial peptides, with the purpose of restoring, rebalancing homeostasis with the goal of reversing disease processes.”
Based on the above, Piros sees an attractive risk/reward in CWBR shares. “[We] value CohBar based on a comparable universe of early- to mid-stage companies with platforms that could yield multiple drug candidates. The average enterprise value of this group of companies is $268MM vs. CohBar at $38MM. We project that CohBar shares could trade in line with the average,” the analyst concluded.
To this end, Piros rates CWBR a Buy along with an $8 price target. Should his thesis play out, a potential twelve-month gain of 741% could be in the cards. (To watch Piros’ track record, click here)
Overall, CWBR has a small, but vocal camp of bullish analysts with positive expectations for its stock. Out of the 2 analysts polled by TipRanks, both rate the stock a Buy. With a return potential of 557%, the stock's consensus price target stands at $6.25. (See CWBR stock analysis on TipRanks)
By utilizing its patent piezo-print delivery technology, Eyenovia is developing a pipeline of micro-dose therapeutics. With shares changing hands for $3.41 apiece, Roth Capital sees an attractive entry point for investors.
In October, Eyenovia announced that an affiliate of Bausch Health Companies had acquired an exclusive license in the U.S. and Canada for the investigational microdose formulation of atropine ophthalmic solution (MicroPine), designed for the reduction of myopia progression in children aged 3-12. MicroPine, which is delivered via EYEN's proprietary Optejet dispenser, is progressing through Phase 3, with the launch potentially coming in 2025.
As per the terms of the agreement, Bausch will assume the oversight and expenses related to the ongoing Phase 3 CHAPERONE trial. In turn, Eyenovia will receive a $10 million upfront payment and up to $35 million in approval and launch-based milestones, along with royalties ranging from mid-single digit to mid-teen percentages of gross profit on sales in the U.S. and Canada.
Roth Capital’s Jonathan Aschoff tells clients that “the deal validates the technology and the market.” He adds that this agreement and the recent Asian MicroPine deal with Arctic Vision, “combined with the roughly $25 million in R&D savings for EYEN that these two deals provide, should improve EYEN's cash flow by about $100 million over the next several years.” To this end, he argues that the company’s cash position should support its operations into 1H22.
On top of this, assuming there aren’t any COVID-related delays, Aschoff believes EYEN should be able to initiate both Phase 3 VISION trials for MicroLine, its piezo-formulation of pilocarpine designed to replace reading glasses for three to four hours while addressing instillation and tolerability issues associated with traditional eye drops, by YE20. This means that trials will be able to enroll in a few weeks, and the results could be published in 2021.
If that wasn’t enough, the company is planning to file the MicroStat (its mydriasis candidate) NDA by YE20, with the U.S. launch potentially coming in late 2021. “MicroStat commercialization should be aided by the current pandemic, given that physicians are more reluctant that ever before to reuse the same eyedropper for multiple patients, and with reuse generally encompassing about 20-30 patients, the eyedropper just became about 20-30 times more expensive for the physician,” Aschoff explained.
It should come as no surprise, then, that Aschoff left a Buy rating and $11 price target on the stock. Given this target, shares could soar 223% in the next year. (To watch Aschoff’s track record, click here)
Looking at the consensus breakdown, 2 Buys and no Holds or Sells have been issued in the last three months. Therefore, EYEN gets a Moderate Buy consensus rating. Based on the $8.50 average price target, shares could gain 150% in the coming months. (See EYEN stock analysis on TipRanks)
Boqii Holding (BQ)
Last but not least we have Boqii Holding, which operates the largest online platform for pet products in China, with its primary focus on online retail through third-party Chinese online platforms and its own e-commerce site (Boqii Mall). Currently going for $4.45 apiece, Roth Capital believes its share price presents a chance to get in on the action.
Representing the firm, analyst Darren Aftahi told clients, “BQ represents an early-stage opportunity for investors to gain exposure to China’s leading ecosystem for all things pets, which uniquely blends ‘community’ and ‘commerce’ into an omni-channel, verticalized online and offline platform.”
Part of what makes BQ so compelling is that although it primarily operates as an e-commerce company, it boasts an omni-channel, verticalized platform for pet products, in Aftahi’s opinion. Additionally, the company has integrated into offline channels like pet stores and hospitals. The analyst argues this not only expands the consumer access points, but the online community also keeps users engaged with various forms of content and marketing, “enhancing overall platform value to end customers.”
According to Frost & Sullivan, China’s pet population growth is projected to be among the fastest over the next several years, with it expected to match U.S. ownership (400 million pets) by 2024 from approximately one-third that rate currently. “We believe BQ can see accelerated growth when we layer on the continued adoption of e-commerce spend, with online pet retail spend expected to reach 52% of total pet retail by 2024,” Aftahi commented.
It should be noted that over 60% of sales come from BQ stores on third-party sites like Tmall, JD.com and Pinduoduo, which Aftahi thinks “broadens BQ’s brand reach.”
Offering further explanation, the analyst stated, “These sites are often the initial touchpoint, and users can then be funneled into BQ’s online community for re-targeting, giving BQ an upper hand in customer ownership. In our view, BQ is set to capture growth from the shift to e-commerce, diversified across access points, but under the BQ brand regardless.”
Everything that BQ has going for it prompted Aftahi to keep his Buy rating as is. Along with the call, he leaves the price target at $10, suggesting 123% upside potential. (To watch Aftahi’s track record, click here)
When it comes to other analyst activity, it has been quiet. As Aftahi is the only analyst that has published a review recently. (See BQ stock analysis on TipRanks)
To find good ideas for penny stocks trading at attractive valuations, visit TipRanks’ Best Stocks to Buy, a newly launched tool that unites all of TipRanks’ equity insights.
Disclaimer: The opinions expressed in this article are solely those of the featured analysts. The content is intended to be used for informational purposes only. It is very important to do your own analysis before making any investment.