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Invitae Lifted to Buy on Growth Potential and Cost Controls

Invitae continues to show it can grow organically and inorganically while keeping costs under control, a Ladenburg analyst says in upgrading the stock.
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Invitae  (NVTA)  was upgraded to buy at Ladenburg Thalmann, which cited growth potential and cost controls at the medical genetics company.

Shares of the San Francisco company at last check were off 1.6% at $47.09. 

Invitae provides genetic-testing services to enable people and their health-care providers to make better health-related decisions.

The analyst, Jeffrey Cohen, moved even as the company reported a wider-than-expected fourth-quarter loss.

The deficit was $241 million, or $1.34 a share, compared with a net loss of $76.9 million, or 79 cents a share, in the year-earlier quarter. 

The latest adjusted loss came to 63 cents a share, while analysts surveyed by FactSet called for a loss of 55 cents per share.

Revenue totaled $100.4 million, up 51% from a year earlier and beating Wall Street's consensus estimate of $98.4 million.

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Following the results, Cohen upgraded the company to buy from neutral and lifted the price target to $58 from $46.50. 

He said in a note to investors that as Invitae continues to show it is able to grow both internally and through acquisitions, as well as to efficiently manage spending to complement growth, the shares have upside potential.

Analysts at SVB Leerink maintained their outperform rating on Invitae with a $65-a-share price target.

The company said cash burn was $441.1 million in the quarter, including $352.7 million for acquisitions, primarily of ArcherDX, and $13.6 million for acquisition-related expenses.

Invitae continued to project revenue growth of between 50% and 60% annually over the next few years. Invitae looks for full-year 2021 revenue of more than $450 million.

Invitae is a heavily shorted stock. That's become an important issue after retail investors from Reddit's WallStreetBets forum recently sent a group of heavily shorted stocks higher as a short squeeze. 

The company is also one of the top 10 holdings in the ARK Innovation EFT  (ARKK) .

Last month, the company said it sold 8.9 million common shares for $51.50 each, resulting in net proceeds, after underwriting discounts and commissions and offering expenses, of more than $434 million.