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High-growth stocks have dominated Wall Street for more than a decade — and with good reason. Historically low lending rates and an accommodative monetary policy have paved the way for fast-paced companies to borrow at attractive rates.
But for some companies, sales growth is about to kick into high gear. When you’re building a business from the ground up, going from practically nothing in sales to hundreds of millions or billions of dollars in revenue in just a couple of years can be a jaw-dropping experience.
The following four companies are expected to do just that. According to Wall Street’s consensus estimates, these four stocks are forecast to increase sales by 25,750% to as much as 2,970,000% (that’s nearly 3 million percent) over the next five years.
Vaxart: 25,752% implied sales growth by 2025
A clinical-stage biotech stock angling for its first approved therapy is a perfect example of a business that could grow from a relatively small amount of non-recurring revenue to a considerably larger sum of recurring sales. Drug-developer Vaxart (NASDAQ:VXRT) is expected to increase its annual sales from the $4.05 million reported in 2020 to a consensus estimate of $1.047 billion by mid-decade. That’s an increase of about 25,750%, if Wall Street’s numbers prove accurate.
Vaxart’s future is pinned to the success of its VAAST platform. “VAAST” stands for Vector-Adjuvant-Antigen Standardized Technology and encompasses the company’s attempts to develop proprietary oral vaccines. Whereas standard vaccines administered in a shot can activate systemic immunity, oral-vaccine tablets would be designed to activate systemic and mucosal immunity in the intestines, lungs, nose, and mouth. In other words, this dual-action approach could carry better immunity against potentially deadly viruses.
The oral vaccine that’s arguably received the most attention for Vaxart is VXA-CoV2-1, an early-stage tablet designed to combat the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19). In May, Vaxart announced that its phase 1 study of VXA-CoV2-1 led to clear immune response in participants, although high levels of neutralizing antibodies weren’t present. Traditional shot-in-the-arm vaccines have led to high levels of neutralizing antibodies in clinical trials.
But Vaxart’s work isn’t close to being finished. In early August, it received the go-ahead from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to commence an oral-tablet study for a very specific protein to combat COVID-19. It could be some time before investors know if oral vaccines are a viable solution, but the convenience factor certainly makes this trial worth watching.
CRISPR Technologies: 191,416% implied sales growth by 2025
Did I mention that clinical-stage biotech stocks are a great source of jaw-dropping growth over the next decade? CRISPR Therapeutics (NASDAQ:CRSP), a company leaning on gene-editing technology to precisely alter genomic DNA and tackle hard-to-treat diseases, is expected to see sales climb from $719,000 in 2020 to a consensus of $1.377 billion by 2025. That’s an improvement of more than 191,000% in five years.
Arguably the biggest positive for CRISPR is that it’s working with Vertex Pharmaceuticals (NASDAQ:VRTX) in the development of CTX001 for the treatment of transfusion-dependent beta thalassemia (TDT) and sickle cell disease (SCD). Vertex has a storied history of developing novel therapies for hard-to-treat illnesses, such as cystic fibrosis.
It also doesn’t hurt that Vertex’s deep pockets are helping to lift CRISPR’s bank account. Following a $900 million collaboration payment in the second quarter, CRISPR was sitting on nearly $2.6 billion in cash, cash equivalents, and marketable securities. That’s plenty of capital to fund its ongoing clinical studies.
Initial trial data for CTX001 has also been encouraging. At the European Hematology Association’s annual meeting in June, the company announced that all 15 patients with TDT were transfusion-free after follow-ups of at least three months. TDT patients can require weekly transfusions, depending on the severity of their illnesses. Management believes regulatory filings, assuming all goes well in clinical studies, could come by or before mid-2023.
While CRISPR Technologies is far from the only company looking to tackle TDT and SCD, it’s among the best funded and has Vertex in its corner. That gives it a better-than-average chance of success, at least in my book.
Ocugen: 604,551% implied sales growth by 2025
Yet another clinical-stage biotech company expected to see sales go from virtually zero to a big number with a lot of zeroes is Ocugen (NASDAQ:OCGN). After the company reported $43,000 in sales last year, Wall Street’s consensus has it generating $260 million in full-year sales by 2025. We’re talking about a nearly 605,000% sales increase in five years.
Not to sound like a broken record, but a COVID-19 vaccine is Ocugen’s potential catalyst. The company has partnered with India’s Bharat Biotech for the commercialization of Covaxin. A phase 3 trial of 25,800 adults aged 18 and up in India demonstrated a vaccine efficacy of 77.8% for symptomatic infections, 63.6% against asymptomatic infections, and most importantly was 93.4% effective against severe COVID-19 disease. The July-reported data from Bharat also showed a 65.2% efficacy against the delta variant.
With so many people left to be vaccinated, this probably sounds like a slam-dunk for some form of emergency authorization use in developed or emerging markets. However, there’s a big problem for Ocugen: It only has co-commercialization rights for Covaxin in the U.S. and Canada. The U.S. has ordered more-than-enough vaccines to inoculate all eligible Americans, and likely has doses in reserve should booster shots become necessary. The same could be said for Canada, which invested heavily in vaccine purchases.
While there’s no such thing as having too many vaccine options during a pandemic, Covaxin’s initial efficacy doesn’t pop quite like the vaccines from Moderna, Pfizer/BioNTech, or even Novavax, which looks to be nearing its own emergency use authorization in the United States. Suffice it to say, Ocugen’s sales forecast may prove unattainable.
Nikola: 2,970,426% implied sales growth by 2025
However, the crème de la crème of growth opportunities, at least pertaining to this list, is electric vehicle (EV) manufacturer Nikola (NASDAQ:NKLA). The expectation is that we’ll see Nikola’s sales catapult from a reported $95,000 in 2020 to a consensus of $2.822 billion by 2025. This equates to almost a 3 million percent jump in annual revenue.
The growth opportunity for EVs is pretty straightforward. With developed countries like the U.S. tackling climate change head-on, replacing fossil-fuel-burning vehicles with alternative-energy vehicles is one of the easiest ways to make a difference. It’s going to take decades for consumers and businesses to make this shift, which leaves plenty of room for multiple EV manufacturers to thrive.
The issue for Nikola is that it’s dealing with a public relations mess. Last year, short-side firm Hindenburg Research released a report that alleged Nikola was a fraud. Even though an independent review found that many of Hindenburg’s allegations weren’t true, it was discovered that founder Trevor Milton’s statements regarding pre-sells weren’t accurate.
Despite stepping down last year, Milton was indicted by the U.S. Department of Justice on three charges of misleading investors. Ultimately, Nikola will have to overcome a breach of trust to sell its vehicles, and it likely will need a lot more cash than it has now to build up its production. Personally, I’m skeptical the company will reach this lofty sales consensus by mid-decade.
This article represents the opinion of the writer, who may disagree with the “official” recommendation position of a Motley Fool premium advisory service. We’re motley! Questioning an investing thesis — even one of our own — helps us all think critically about investing and make decisions that help us become smarter, happier, and richer.