Let’s talk about risk, reward, and pennies. The three are related, of course. There’s no reward in the stock market without taking on some risk – and penny stocks offer investors an optimum combination of both.
The ‘pennies’ are the lowest cost stocks on the public markets, typically priced below $5 per share. At such a low share price, even a small gain – a share price increase of mere pennies – can quickly translate into a high-percentage return.
However, there is a but here. The critics point out that there could be a reason for the bargain price tag, whether it be poor fundamentals or overpowering headwinds.
So, how are investors supposed to determine which penny stocks are poised to make it big? Following the activity of the investing titans is one strategy.
Enter Israel “Izzy” Englander, who is widely known for his impressive stock picking abilities. Englander expressed interest in the stock market since he was young, and in 1989, co-founded hedge fund Millennium Management with Ronald Shear. Using a broad range of strategies involving a variety of predominantly liquid asset classes, Englander was able to take the $35 million the fund was started with and turn it into a $45+ billion Wall Street behemoth. With an estimated net worth of $9.6 billion in 2021, it’s no wonder Wall Street focus locks in on the guru when he makes a move.
Taking all of this into consideration, we used TipRanks’ database to take a closer look at two penny stocks Englander snapped up recently. The platform revealed that both Buy-rated tickers have earned the support of some members of the analyst community as well.
T2 Biosystems (TTOO)
We’ll start in the healthcare industry, where T2 Biosystems is working to revolutionize diagnostics. The company offers diagnosticians and medical labs a range of devices based on its T2 Magnetic Resonance (T2MR) tech to quickly and accurately diagnosis a variety of septic illnesses. As the company notes, sepsis claims more lives annually than AIDS, breast cancer, and prostate cancer combined. Rapid and accurate diagnosis is the key for patient survival, and this is the niche that T2 aims to fill.
The company’s technology enables diagnostic blood tests with results available in a matter of hours, compared to the 1 to 5 days currently taken by most medical lab tests. Available testing products include the T2Bacteria Panel and the T2Candida panel, which are the only FDA-approved blood tests for septic agents that do not need to wait for a blood culture. A T2SARS-CoV-2 Panel is also available, using upper respiratory samples.
T2 has an active product pipeline, with rapid diagnostic tests on the drawing board for a variety of illnesses. Upcoming products include the T2Cauris panel and the T2Resistance panel. These testing products are currently designated for research use only (ROU) in the US. The T2Lyme panel, which will allow for faster diagnosis of the difficult-to-determine Lyme disease, is at an earlier stage of the development.
All of T2’s products operate on the same T2Dx instrument, allowing for interchangeability in the lab environment. The device offers a simple user interface, and operates with just 4ml of whole blood. T2 boasts that its device is in use in more than 200 hospitals worldwide.
In the first quarter of 2021, T2 saw top-line revenue grow by 173% year-over-year, to $7 million. This was driven by a 345% yoy increase in product revenue, to $4.7 million. Sepsis test utilization in the US rose by 85% yoy in the quarter, showing increasing acceptance of the device and technology.
Izzy Englander is among those that have high hopes for this healthcare name. In Q1, Englander’s Millennium picked up over 1.36 million shares of TTOO stock, now valued at $1.5 million. This increased Englander’s stake in the company to 2.68 million shares, with a market value of $2.9 million.
5-star analyst Charles Duncan, of Canaccord, also counts himself as a fan. Duncan gives TTOO shares a Buy rating along with a $3.50 price target. This target conveys his confidence in TTOO’s ability to soar 212% higher in the next twelve months. (To watch Duncan’s track record, click here)
“T2’s +345% Y/Y product revenue growth is a positive datapoint for the company’s post-pandemic commercial strategy, which is being supported by a scaling to just under 10 direct sales reps in Q1. We view the acquisitions of Cepheid, BioFire, GenMark, and Luminex as validation that the hospital lab is an attractive industry segment, given clinicians’ (and patients’) desire to shift away from centralized testing strategies to a more decentralized approach. With these four companies off the table, T2 should benefit from scarcity value. Separately, a more aggressive approach towards commercial execution should marry well with rising awareness around antimicrobial resistance and sepsis, in a post-pandemic environment that prioritizes infectious disease diagnostics,” Duncan noted.
It turns out that other analysts also have high hopes. With 4 Buys and a single Hold, the word on the Street is that this stock, which currently going for $1.10 apiece, is a Strong Buy. In addition, the $2.83 average price target puts the upside potential at 156%. (See TTOO stock analysis on TipRanks)
Sesen Bio (SESN)
The second stock we’re looking at, Sesen Bio, is a pharmaceutical company. Sesen works in the cancer treatment segment, developing antibody-drug conjugate therapies. The program takes a fusion protein approach, tethering tumor-targeting antibodies to cytotoxic proteins. The result is a single protein molecule that kills cancer cells with minimal toxic effects on the body – and that generates a complementary response from the patient’s natural immune system.
Sesen’s pipeline currently includes one drug candidate, vicineum, which is under investigation on several tracks concurrently. The main track, which has completed clinical trials and initiated the submission process of the biologic license application (BLA), is for the treatment of non-muscle invasive bladder cancer. The BLA was accepted for filing by the FDA this past February, and the company is on track for potential approval on August 18, 2021. European approval of vicineum for bladder cancer treatment is expected early in 2022.
The company’s other pipeline projects are at earlier stages. Vicineum is under investigation as a treatment for head and neck cancers, and is in Phase 2 trials. Other investigative tracks remain at pre-clinical stages.
Clinical-stage biopharma companies are always highly speculative, and in this case, Englander did not mind speculating. In Q1, his firm bought 987,926 shares of SESN, increasing its stake in the company by 156%. Englander’s holding in Sesen is now valued at $2.9 million.
Weighing in on SESN for H.C. Wainwright, 5-star analyst Swayampakula Ramakanth sees an opportunity as well.
“Given the favorable risk/benefit profile of Vicineum demonstrated in the Phase 3 VISTA study, we believe the drug has a high likelihood to receive regulatory approvals from the FDA and EMA. Sesen is actively preparing for the potential launch of Vicineum. The company has selected Syneos, a leading contract sales organization, as a partnerto build and manage a 35-people sales force to target approximately 2,000 high prescribers of BCG. We expect the drug to be commercially available immediately upon approval. We project Vicineum to achieve risk-adjusted sales of $516M by 2030E, growing from $9M in 2021E,” Ramakanth opined.
Ramakanth’s comments support his Buy rating on the stock, as does his $8 price target. At current valuations, that target implies an upside potential of 170% for the next 12 months. (To watch Ramakanth’s track record, click here)
Sometimes, the penny stocks can slide under the radar; this one has attracted only two recent analyst reviews. Both agree, however, that this is a stock to buy, making the Moderate Buy consensus unanimous. The shares are priced at $2.94 with a $7.50 average price target that suggests an upside of 155% in the coming year. (See SESN stock analysis on TipRanks)
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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.