The Motley Fool

The Avacta (AVCT) share price has halved since May. Can it make a comeback?

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.

Tired or stressed businessman sitting on the walkway in panic digital stock market crash financial background
Image source: Getty Images

2021 hasn’t been a particularly great year for the Avacta (LSE:AVCT) share price. Despite reaching a high of 291.8p in May, the stock has since been on a downward trajectory. In fact, over the last five months, it’s down more than 50%. Although looking at a 12-month period, the fall is closer to 25%. Last week, management released its interim report providing an update on the progress being made. So, is this firm about to make a comeback? Or is more decline on the horizon? Let’s take a look.

A year of progress

I’ve previously explored this business. But as a quick reminder, Avacta is a biotech firm that has been actively involved in fighting the pandemic since early 2020. The company’s diagnostics division is currently developing a new generation of lateral flow tests that can detect the Delta variant of Covid-19. Given early data shows higher accuracy than existing tests already on the market, this endeavour could prove lucrative.

5 Stocks For Trying To Build Wealth After 50

Markets around the world are reeling from the coronavirus pandemic… and with so many great companies trading at what look to be ‘discount-bin’ prices, now could be the time for savvy investors to snap up some potential bargains.

But whether you’re a newbie investor or a seasoned pro, deciding which stocks to add to your shopping list can be a daunting prospect during such unprecedented times.

Fortunately, The Motley Fool UK analyst team have short-listed five companies that they believe STILL boast significant long-term growth prospects despite the global upheaval…

We’re sharing the names in a special FREE investing report that you can download today. And if you’re 50 or over, we believe these stocks could be a great fit for any well-diversified portfolio.

Click here to claim your free copy now!

Meanwhile, on the therapeutics side of the business, progress for its new chemotherapy drug AVA6000 continues to move forward. In the last six months, the firm received regulatory approval to commence phase one trials. At the same time, its pre|CISION technology, which is being used to develop AVA6000, has been licensed to Point Biopharma. The license is to help create tumour-activated radiopharmaceutical drugs, for which Avacta has received an upfront fee. And it’s on track to continue receiving additional development milestone payments, totalling $9.5m, not including any subsequence royalties if any drug makes it to market.

These achievements are certainly commendable in my eyes. And providing the firm can continue progressing at its current speed, its top line could be set to surge – sparking a potential comeback. So why aren’t investors more bullish about this latest report?

The Avacta share price has its risks

The lacklustre share price performance

The latest developments at Avacta have enabled it to expand its revenue stream slightly, with total sales coming in at £2.3m versus £1.8m in 2020. However, like all young biotech companies, it has a lot of expenses to contend with. And it seems, investors were less than pleased to see losses grow bigger.

Research & development costs grew 53%, causing operating losses to jump from £8.1m to £11.3m. Meanwhile, its cash reserves have started depleting. While the firm still has £37m at its disposal, that’s down from £54.5m in 2020.

Drug development is expensive, so this is hardly surprising news. But if the cash burn continues at its current rate, I think it’s likely Avacta will have to raise additional capital either through equity or debt to keep itself afloat. Both of which could have a significant short-term impact on the AVCT share price.

The bottom line

As encouraging as the progress has been, my opinion on this business remains unchanged. There are still a lot of unknowns surrounding this company. And yet it’s boasting a market capitalisation of £310m even with the recent fall in the AVCT share price. That’s nearly 100 times its revenue stream!

In my opinion, the valuation is simply too rich for my tastes. So, Avacta is staying on my watchlist for now.

Fortunately, I've spotted another small-cap high-growth stock that may be about to surge!

The high-calibre small-cap stock flying under the City’s radar

Adventurous investors like you won’t want to miss out on what could be a truly astonishing opportunity…

You see, over the past three years, this AIM-listed company has been quietly powering ahead… rewarding its shareholders with generous share price growth thanks to a carefully orchestrated ‘buy and build’ strategy.

And with a first-class management team at the helm, a proven, well-executed business model, plus market-leading positions in high-margin, niche products… our analysts believe there’s still plenty more potential growth in the pipeline.

Here’s your chance to discover exactly what has got our Motley Fool UK investment team all hot-under-the-collar about this tiny £350+ million enterprise… inside a specially prepared free investment report.

But here’s the really exciting part… right now, we believe many UK investors have quite simply never heard of this company before!

Click here to claim your copy of this special investment report — and we’ll tell you the name of this Top Small-Cap Stock… free of charge!

Zaven Boyrazian has no position in any of the shares mentioned. The Motley Fool UK 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.

Our 6 'Best Buys Now' Shares

Renowned stock-picker Mark Rogers and his analyst team at The Motley Fool UK have named 6 shares that they believe UK investors should consider buying NOW.

So if you’re looking for more stock ideas to try and best position your portfolio today, then it might be a good day for you. Because we're offering a full 33% off your first year of membership to our flagship share-tipping service, backed by our 'no quibbles' 30-day subscription fee refund guarantee.

Simply click below to discover how you can take advantage of this.