This coronavirus stock is up over 1,000% since the market crash, but is it still worth buying?

Jabran Khan explores whether this coronavirus stock is still worth buying after its 1,000% increase since the market crash.

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The content of this article was relevant at the time of publishing. Circumstances change continuously and caution should therefore be exercised when relying upon any content contained within this article.

A market crash usually causes the price of stocks to plummet. In the case of Avacta Group (LSE:AVCT), the opposite has occurred. Listed on the FTSE-AIM for approximately 15 years, AVCT is not a flash in the pan.

The Covid-19 pandemic opened up a vacuum, whereby pharmaceutical companies began to develop coronavirus-related products. As a result vaccines, testing kits, and track-and-trace applications among other products are being created.

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Avacta is a small biotech firm with two core proprietary platforms. One of those is called Affimer, which offers an alternative to traditional antibodies and is derived from small human protein. AVCT’s other work is related to cancer therapy drugs and treatment. Due to its size, it often partners up with larger known pharma giants who need AVCT’s proprietary platforms. 

Market crash sensation

As the market crash occurred, investors will have looked to pick up cheaper-than-usual shares in companies they have followed for some time. The opposite of this strategy would have been to look for burgeoning stocks related to the crash and pandemic, and I believe Avacta is one such stock. The height of the market crash is widely considered to be 18 March. On this date, I could buy Avacta shares for 14p per share. As I write, I would be buying at 176p per share. This is a mammoth 1,157% increase.

One of Avacta’s Covid-19-related partnerships is with Cytiva. Avacta has also recently signed a distribution agreement with Medusa Ltd for direct to consumer sales of its Covid-19-related products. Testing results have been positive for AVCT and I believe it is a market crash opportunity.

Half-year results

At the end of September, AVCT released results for the first half of the year. The update was largely positive and mentioned a new international partnership with a South Korean pharma firm for another new project.

Due to new partnerships and projects it is increasing R&D investment. Furthermore, revenues increased over 60% compared to the same period last year. It seems other pharmaceutical companies are seeking out Avacta’s platforms and work. This is definitely a positive sign and it seems the market crash and pandemic have benefitted Avacta.

My verdict

If I had a crystal ball and envisaged Avacta’s rise I would have been a very happy investor right now. I still feel it is a good investment at its current price, albeit with some risk involved. Full-year results posted earlier this year and recent half-year results show me growth is happening.

I believe there are still market crash bargains and opportunities out there. Avacta may not be as much of a bargain as it was in March, but I still feel it has more to offer. I would not be surprised if the share price increased as further progress of Covid-19-related products emerges. I would be tempted to pick up some shares as part of a diverse portfolio. 

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Jabran Khan has no position in any of the shares mentioned. Views expressed on the companies mentioned in this article are those of the writer and therefore may differ from the official recommendations we make in our subscription services such as Share Advisor, Hidden Winners and Pro. Here at The Motley Fool we believe that considering a diverse range of insights makes us better investors.

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