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The Genocea Biosciences (NASDAQ:GNCA) Share Price Is Down 97% So Some Shareholders Are Very Salty

Simply Wall St

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Long term investing is the way to go, but that doesn't mean you should hold every stock forever. It hits us in the gut when we see fellow investors suffer a loss. Anyone who held Genocea Biosciences, Inc. (NASDAQ:GNCA) for five years would be nursing their metaphorical wounds since the share price dropped 97% in that time. And some of the more recent buyers are probably worried, too, with the stock falling 40% in the last year. Shareholders have had an even rougher run lately, with the share price down 26% in the last 90 days.

We really feel for shareholders in this scenario. It's a good reminder of the importance of diversification, and it's worth keeping in mind there's more to life than money, anyway.

See our latest analysis for Genocea Biosciences

Genocea Biosciences hasn't yet reported any revenue yet, so it's as much a business idea as an actual business. We can't help wondering why it's publicly listed so early in its journey. Are venture capitalists not interested? So it seems shareholders are too busy dreaming about the progress to come than dwelling on the current (lack of) revenue. It seems likely some shareholders believe that Genocea Biosciences has the funding to invent a new product before too long.

We think companies that have neither significant revenues nor profits are pretty high risk. There is almost always a chance they will need to raise more capital, and their progress - and share price - will dictate how dilutive that is to current holders. While some such companies do very well over the long term, others become hyped up by promoters before eventually falling back down to earth, and going bankrupt (or being recapitalized). Some Genocea Biosciences investors have already had a taste of the bitterness stocks like this can leave in the mouth.

Genocea Biosciences had liabilities exceeding cash by US$551,000 when it last reported in March 2019, according to our data. That makes it extremely high risk, in our view. But since the share price has dived -50% per year, over 5 years, it looks like some investors think it's time to abandon ship, so to speak. You can click on the image below to see (in greater detail) how Genocea Biosciences's cash levels have changed over time.

NasdaqCM:GNCA Historical Debt, May 31st 2019

In reality it's hard to have much certainty when valuing a business that has neither revenue or profit. Given that situation, would you be concerned if it turned out insiders were relentlessly selling stock? I would feel more nervous about the company if that were so. It only takes a moment for you to check whether we have identified any insider sales recently.

A Different Perspective

While the broader market gained around 2.3% in the last year, Genocea Biosciences shareholders lost 40%. However, keep in mind that even the best stocks will sometimes underperform the market over a twelve month period. However, the loss over the last year isn't as bad as the 50% per annum loss investors have suffered over the last half decade. We would want clear information suggesting the company will grow, before taking the view that the share price will stabilize. If you want to research this stock further, the data on insider buying is an obvious place to start. You can click here to see who has been buying shares - and the price they paid.

Genocea Biosciences is not the only stock that insiders are buying. For those who like to find winning investments this free list of growing companies with recent insider purchasing, could be just the ticket.

Please note, the market returns quoted in this article reflect the market weighted average returns of stocks that currently trade on US exchanges.

We aim to bring you long-term focused research analysis driven by fundamental data. Note that our analysis may not factor in the latest price-sensitive company announcements or qualitative material.

If you spot an error that warrants correction, please contact the editor at editorial-team@simplywallst.com. This article by Simply Wall St is general in nature. It does not constitute a recommendation to buy or sell any stock, and does not take account of your objectives, or your financial situation. Simply Wall St has no position in the stocks mentioned. Thank you for reading.