Small cap TrovaGene Inc (NASDAQ: TROV) has developed a test for the Human Papillomavirus (HPV), the most common sexually transmitted virus in the United States, but there is more to this small cap than its HPV test. Moreover, TrovaGene has been a solid small cap performer over the near term and the past five years.
What is TrovaGene Inc?
Founded in 1999, small cap Trovagene has intellectual property built around the discovery that cell-free DNA, RNA and other types of nucleic acids pass through the kidney into the urine and that these "Transrenal Nucleic Acids" or "TrNAs" can be diagnostic of diseases like cancer and infections. Trovagene uses its technology to undertake simple yet non-invasive sampling and analysis of these nucleic acids plus it has been issued US and European patents to cover any and all testing for nucleic acid targets that pass through the kidney. Moreover, Trovagene has 60 issued patents and 47 pending patents in areas related to cancer, infectious diseases, transplantation, prenatal and genetic testing.
Trovagene also has the following pipeline or rather launch schedule for this year (meaning its going to be a busy year for the stock):
In addition, Trovagene and Strand Life Sciences Pvt Ltd., of Bangalore, India, have a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) to license and validate the former’s proprietary Human Papillomavirus (HPV) urine test and High Risk HPV DNA Assay for clinical diagnostic and carrier screening use in India and other South Asia countries.
What’s Good or Bad About TrovaGene Inc?
At the beginning of the month, Trovagene reported a net loss of $6.3 million verses a net loss of $1.3 million for the fourth quarter along with a net loss of $11.6 million verses a net loss of $2.3 million for the year. The higher net losses were the result of changes in “fair value of derivative instruments related to warrants” (something investors might want to investigate further by looking at TOV’s financials) along with higher research and development costs.
More importantly, Trovagene reported $10.8 million in cash and cash equivalents at the end of the year verses $0.7 million at the end of 2011 thanks to net proceeds of $9.1 million received from an underwritten public offering of stock and warrants in the second quarter plus a private placement which provided net proceeds of $4.4 million in the fourth quarter. In other words, Trovagene probably has enough cash on hand to get through this year and get its pipeline out the door.
Back in late March, Trovagene launched its HPV High Risk test, a new urine-based test for a common, sexually transmitted virus that can cause cervical cancer along with some other cancer types and genital warts (In fact, HPV is the most common sexually transmitted virus in the United States). Specifically, the test looks for 15 different strains of Human Papillomavirus most likely to cause disease and it should be noted that the US Preventive Services Task Force has recommended that DNA testing for HPV infections be a mandatory part of women's screenings for cervical cancer.
It should be noted that about 14 million people are infected with HPV every year and 80% of all women will be exposed to it as some point in their lives plus an estimated 79 million American women and men have it, but probably don’t know it. The reason? There is no general HPV test and none approved for some of the diseases it can cause. Moreover, most women who get a routine Pap smear don't get a separate test for HPV.
TrovaGene Inc’s Share Performance
On Thursday, TrovaGene fell 6.27% to $5.83 (TROV has a 52 week trading range of $1.86 to $8.96 a share) for a market cap of $82.67 million, but its also rising as much as 6% in after hours trading on no apparent public news. Otherwise, TrovaGene is down 10.3% since the start of the year, up 48.1% over the past year and up 125.4% over the past five years:
Traders or investors who are chart technicians might want to take a closer look at the following technical chart for Trovagene:
The Bottom Line. Given how common the Human Papillomavirus is, small cap investors would be wise to at least take a closer look at TrovaGene along with its pipeline for the year.
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