The latest hyperbole making the rounds is vintage Louis Navellier — he’s pitching a fast-growing biotech stock that he says has already netted his readers 392% gains …
… but that you have to buy it before Friday because it’s going to double again!
So what is it?
Well, he shares plenty of clues with us so the Thinkolator ought to be able to make quick work of this one … what’s the pitch?
Here’s a little excerpt:
“The greatest biotech revolution the world has ever seen has triggered a mad dash by institutional investors, money managers, and broker houses into a number of developmental-stage biotechnology companies….
“The chain reaction is about to hand my Emerging Growth readers another 100% profit in this top biotech play in the next 90 days….
“The reason is simple:
“This company’s treatments for colitis, angioedema, and travelers’ diarrhea could triple—that’s right, triple—the company’s 2012 revenue.”
It has certainly been a hot year for biotech, with even the broad biotech indices up by 50% or so since January — so what’s the $22 biotech stock that Louis thinks is about to double again?
Well, he’s saying he’ll tell you for $295, a price that will jump to $995 after midnight! OK, that’s just a misdirection — in his promos in recent years they pretty much always sell this one for $295 a quarter and $995 a year.
How about those who want some answers that are a bit more, well, free? I guess that’s why you’re here, no? Don’t worry, we’ll get you an answer in a moment.
Some more specific clues for you:
- “On January 14, 2013, the FDA approved its colitis treatment—pushing share prices 11% higher.
- In the five months since the company’s colitis treatment was launched, the company has seen sales jump $22 million, and we expect revenues to double again by year’s end.
- What’s more, the company’s new acid reflux product has one key advantage over its competitors: It offers the longest lasting acid control in the market—nearly 19 hours. The results will drive millions more in annual sales and earnings, not just for the next 90 days but for years to come.
- In addition, the company’s anti-diabetes agent just received a huge endorsement from the AACE (American Academy of Clinical Endocrinologists), whose guidelines doctors use in prescribing. With the annual diabetes market estimated at $35 billion, that’s like winning a $100 million lottery every year as tens of thousands of doctors begin to prescribe this company’s new treatments over the competition.
- As if that weren’t exciting enough, the company’s angioedema treatment just received orphan drug status from the FDA. As a result, the company will now receive millions of dollars in tax incentives, plus enhanced patented production and marketing rights—not to mention subsidies for its clinical research.”
And he says its up 392% since he recommended it in March, 2012 — which sure ain’t bad so far. So who is this mysterious company?
Well, frankly, with that many clues Mr. Navellier had to know that we aren’t exactly pushing the limits of the Thinkolator’s mighty powers (OK, fine, I’m sure he never thinks about us at all — but let me have my feelings of grandeur) … this stock is … Santarus (SNTS)
And it has indeed had a remarkable couple of years of stock performance — so it could easily be a 400% gainer since Spring 2012 as Navellier teases, even after coming back down a bit from the $28 area where it topped out over the Summer. It is just under $22 a share, thanks to a dip today as a lot of higher-risk and Nasdaq stocks are getting hit. Whether it’s going to hit $44 in short order, as Navellier thinks, I dunno … but it is the perfect match for his clues.
This is a specialty pharmaceutical company with most of its products approved and fairly early in the sales ramp-up that they anticipate, which is why the earnings are growing abruptly. They are in-licensers — meaning that they buy drugs that are discovered or developed by others, and get approvals for those drugs, sometimes drugs that are already approved in other countries, and sell them, so they don’t have a really deep pipeline of “hidden assets” but they can always buy into promising new drugs for that growth in the out years (and they’re not blowing tons of money on early stage science). They are trying to leverage drugs that they can sell into relatively small groups of physician specialists (like gastroenterologists, for example), not big general drugs that they would have to market with TV ads.
Navellier uses a mechanical screening process to identify stocks, and his system loves earnings and estimates momentum — when earnings are jumping faster and faster each quarter, and when estimates are jumping to keep up. So the risk of these kinds of picks is if you keep buying them but the huge growth numbers fail to repeat. I don’t know that to be the case with this particular company, to be clear, and it may well be that their continued rollout of new drugs and their pipeline of additional compounds and label expansions will let them keep growth rolling — just wanted to point out that when heavily teased Navellier stocks have been unsuccessful in the past it’s been because the company just finished a big growth spurt due to big new orders or contracts and wasn’t able to grow past that plateau for whatever reason (I’ve owned a couple of those stocks, too).
The drugs described in the teaser are exactly what Santarus is working on, and the Colitis drug has brought some nice revenue growth this year. At the moment about half of sales are from their two gastroenterology drugs and half from their two Diabetes drugs, you can see the full details here in last month’s presentation to an investing conference.
They have blown away analyst earnings estimates in the last few quarters, but expectations have risen as a result and the analysts are now predicting 70% revenue growth this quarter and 33 cents per share in earnings, with expectations now that they’ll earn a bit more than $1.50 per share next year — which for a $22 stock is still pretty cheap if you think the earnings are going to continue to grow. I don’t know much about the company, I had never heard of them before when I started typing this note an hour or two ago, but my initial impression is that analysts are skeptical that the growth can continue — their two gastroenterology drugs face patent expiration in 2016 and 2020, the prescription growth trends don’t look dramatically awesome in their investor presentation, and a big portion of their net income this year ($55 million) came from a tax credit.
Still, they have been growing actual operating earnings nicely too — and they should have net income of about $75 million for 2013 (that’s the midpoint of their guidance, minus the $55 million tax benefit), so you’ve got a growing company with a market cap of about $1.4 billion and perhaps some promising drugs (they estimate annual sales potential for their approved drugs as being $600-700 million), so that means you’re paying a reasonable 19X estimated 2013 real earnings at this price (1.4 billion divided by 75 million). Reasonable, that is, if they can keep the growth up — revenue was less than $300 million over the last 12 months, so if they’re right about the sales potential of their approved drugs it might work out well … but it’s your money, so only you can make that call. Check it out, put on your thinking cap, and let us know what you decide with a comment below.