Stocks to sell

Ocugen (NASDAQ:OCGN) is a stock that I continue to be wrong about. Over the past month, OCGN stock has gained more than 80%, greatly testing my patience. The stock has fallen from the $17 mark it reached this morning, but is still higher than I expected last month.


In my last article about the Covid-19 vaccine candidate, I suggested it needed a catalyst for growth to get out of neutral.   

“The request from the FDA requesting that it seek a Biologics License Application or full approval means we’ll be well into 2022 before this happens,” I wrote on Oct. 13.

I continued, “Until that day comes to pass, finding a catalyst for OCGN stock is like looking for a needle in a haystack. It’s near impossible.” And yet, here we are. OCGN stock is at its highest level since May. 

OCGN Stock Keeps Climbing

At the end of June, I said I would eat my hat if Ocugen stock was worth $8. But, as per Murphy’s Law, the stock has shown up in a big way. When it approached $16 on Nov. 2, it almost doubled in price in a little more than four months. 

I remain bearish about its chances to generate serious revenue from Covaxin here in the U.S. I’m prepared to metaphorically eat four hats if OCGN gets to $32 in the next six months. 

Either I’m colossally wrong about Ocugen — which is more than possible — or Ocugen bulls are going to get a rude surprise come 2022. I think it’s the latter.

Ocugen Lacks Catalysts to Push It Upward

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s (CDC) Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices voted on Nov. 2 that the Pfizer-BioNTech Covid-19 vaccine is perfectly safe for use on children ages five to 11. CDC Director Dr. Rochelle Walensky gave it her final seal of approval today.

To me, this is an example of a catalyst. Pfizer (NYSE:PFE) and BioNTech (NASDAQ:BNTX) are sure to benefit financially from the move to get younger children vaccinated. 

Meanwhile, Ocugen announced on Oct. 27 that it had filed an Investigational New Drug Application (IND) with the FDA. As my InvestorPlace colleague Alex Sirois suggested, even its World Health Organization (WHO) emergency use approval doesn’t ensure the FDA will file for full approval of Covaxin.

This progress is undoubtedly good news. But it’s not a slam dunk, and revenues won’t start rolling until the back half of 2022.  So, I continue to scratch my head over a company that’s very much on the outside looking in. 

InvestorPlace’s Thomas Niel recently stated that Canada’s high vaccination rate means it’s unlikely to move the government to bring on other vaccines when its current choices, including Pfizer-BioNTech’s, work just fine.

I believe that if any vaccine is going to get approved by the FDA in the near term, it will be Novavax (NASDAQ:NVAX).

The Bottom Line on OCGN Stock

InvestorPlace’s Larry Ramer has the best grip on reality regarding Ocugen and Covaxin’s potential payday.

“Many months after agreeing to buy vaccines from Moderna (NASDAQ:MRNA), Pfizer, AstraZeneca and Novavax … the U.S. has shown zero interest in buying Covaxin. No American officials, to my knowledge, have indicated an interest in acquiring Covaxin doses,” Ramer stated on Nov. 1. 

But even if it did get approval, Ramer estimates the earliest the vaccine would be distributed is spring of 2023. That’s a long time to wait for a payday that might not come if the world has entirely recovered from Covid-19.

At that point, the company will have invested three years of its business with very little to show for it. 

Ramer is so convinced that Ocugen is dead money that he ended his latest commentary by suggesting investors short the stock. He’s put his money where his mouth is by doing what’s he’s recommended for our readers. 

I believe he will be successful. If not, I’m sure he’ll help me eat some of my metaphorical hats. 

On the date of publication, Will Ashworth did not have (either directly or indirectly) any positions in the securities mentioned in this article. The opinions expressed in this article are those of the writer, subject to the Publishing Guidelines.

Will Ashworth has written about investments full-time since 2008. Publications where he’s appeared include InvestorPlace, The Motley Fool Canada, Investopedia, Kiplinger, and several others in both the U.S. and Canada. He particularly enjoys creating model portfolios that stand the test of time. He lives in Halifax, Nova Scotia.