Did You Manage To Avoid Regulus Therapeutics’s (NASDAQ:RGLS) 99% Share Price Wipe Out?

Regulus Therapeutics Inc. (NASDAQ:RGLS) shareholders will doubtless be very grateful to see the share price up 41% in the last month. But will that heal all the wounds inflicted over 5 years of declines? Unlikely. In fact, the share price has tumbled down a mountain to land 99% lower after that period. It’s true that the recent bounce could signal the company is turning over a new leaf, but we are not so sure. The important question is if the business itself justifies a higher share price in the long term.

We really hope anyone holding through that price crash has a diversified portfolio. Even when you lose money, you don’t have to lose the lesson.

View our latest analysis for Regulus Therapeutics

Regulus Therapeutics recorded just US$72,000 in revenue over the last twelve months, which isn’t really enough for us to consider it to have a proven product. We can’t help wondering why it’s publicly listed so early in its journey. Are venture capitalists not interested? So it seems that the investors more focused on would could be, than paying attention to the current revenues (or lack thereof). For example, they may be hoping that Regulus Therapeutics comes up with a great new treatment, before it runs out of money.

We think companies that have neither significant revenues nor profits are pretty high risk. The is usually a significant chance that they will need more money for business development, putting them at the mercy of capital markets. So the share price itself impacts the value of the shares (as it determines the cost of capital). While some such companies do very well over the long term, others become hyped up by promoters before eventually falling back down to earth, and going bankrupt (or being recapitalized). It certainly is a dangerous place to invest, as Regulus Therapeutics investors might realise.

Regulus Therapeutics had net debt of US$12,673,000 when it last reported in September 2018, according to our data. That puts it in the highest risk category, according to our analysis. But with the share price diving 60% per year, over 5 years, it’s probably fair to say that some shareholders no longer believe the company will succeed. You can see in the image below, how Regulus Therapeutics’s cash and debt levels have changed over time (click to see the values).

NasdaqCM:RGLS Historical Debt, March 13th 2019
NasdaqCM:RGLS Historical Debt, March 13th 2019

It can be extremely risky to invest in a company that doesn’t even have revenue. There’s no way to know its value easily. Would it bother you if insiders were selling the stock? It would bother me, that’s for sure. It only takes a moment for you to check whether we have identified any insider sales recently.

A Different Perspective

Regulus Therapeutics shareholders are down 88% for the year, but the market itself is up 2.6%. Even the share prices of good stocks drop sometimes, but we want to see improvements in the fundamental metrics of a business, before getting too interested. Unfortunately, last year’s performance may indicate unresolved challenges, given that it was worse than the annualised loss of 60% over the last half decade. Generally speaking long term share price weakness can be a bad sign, though contrarian investors might want to research the stock in hope of a turnaround. If you want to research this stock further, the data on insider buying is an obvious place to start. You can click here to see who has been buying shares – and the price they paid.

Regulus Therapeutics is not the only stock that insiders are buying. For those who like to find winning investments this free list of growing companies with recent insider purchasing, could be just the ticket.

Please note, the market returns quoted in this article reflect the market weighted average returns of stocks that currently trade on US exchanges.

We aim to bring you long-term focused research analysis driven by fundamental data. Note that our analysis may not factor in the latest price-sensitive company announcements or qualitative material.

If you spot an error that warrants correction, please contact the editor at editorial-team@simplywallst.com. This article by Simply Wall St is general in nature. It does not constitute a recommendation to buy or sell any stock, and does not take account of your objectives, or your financial situation. Simply Wall St has no position in the stocks mentioned. Thank you for reading.