Stock Market

Zomedica (NYSEAMERICAN:ZOM) is the “meme stock” that just can’t take off. Despite constant prodding from Reddit and even some positive opinions from InvestorPlace, this pet health company remains in the penny stock dungeon. In fact, ZOM stock shares haven’t traded above $1 since April.

Source: didesign021 /

Fortunately, though, help is on the way — or rather, information. Zomedica is due to deliver its results for the June quarter on Aug. 9. This will mark the end of what I have called the company’s “radio silence.”

So, it may finally be time to put a close to this stock’s misery. Or will it?

ZOM Stock: Betting on Blair

ZOM stock bulls are betting that Greg Blair — the new vice president of business development — can sell more of the company’s flagship Truforma machines. But the problem for bears here is that Blair only came on in mid-May. As such, limited success could certainly be spun by the bulls as a “give him time” scenario.

Truforma is a blood testing kit for veterinarians. It’s based on bulk acoustic wave (BAW) sensors from Qorvo (NASDAQ:QRVO). The waves are run through pet blood samples to test for adrenal and thyroid diseases. Zomedica is also reportedly working on sensors for other indications, which would make the device more valuable.

Altogether, there’s a ready market for better veterinary equipment. The industry has been consolidating around large practices operating in a hub-and-spoke system, with acute care at the center. In 2020, vet care was estimated to be a $31.4 billion market.

So, will Blair be able to act on these pluses? For one, Louis Navillier still likes what Zomedica is doing. Plus, Truforma has switched from distributor sales to direct. Finally, CEO Robert Cohen is retiring and many more tests are in the works.

A Waiting Game

All that said, though, medical devices — even those sold to vets — still take time to find a market. No one wants to be the first to try an untested device, let alone one that costs $8,750 with just a few tests available.

Zomedica has also made some mistakes along the way. The biggest pitfall may have been getting Tiger King star Carole Baskin to issue a video endorsement early this year. If this were a consumer sale that might have made sense. But Baskin’s celebrity was likely a turnoff to vets.

Then CEO Stephanie Morley was soon replaced by Cohen, who was always going to be an interim leader. Cohen stabilized the organization, changed the sales method and brought in Blair. Now, ZOM stock has nearly 1 billion shares outstanding, with about 40% being held short. That’s a lot of short interest for a stock that’s priced around 65 cents and has barely moved in three months.

So far, there have been no leaks on the June quarter results. Because of that, bulls should be primed for bad news.

Maybe the most concerning thing here is that a month and a half may not be enough time to judge the direct sales effort. However, stock sales had Zomedica sitting on over $276 million in cash at the end of March. So, it seems that management can afford to be patient, even if investors can’t.

The Bottom Line on ZOM Stock

Some traders have lost patience with ZOM stock and I can’t blame them. Additionally, even some traders on Reddit have suggested the stock is being manipulated.

Of course, I can understand the impatience — and impatient people are going to lash out no matter what. However, as I said before, I don’t see manipulation here.

Rather, Zomedica’s March 2019 initial public offering (IPO) came long before its device was ready for market. So, my own view? That early development is now being done on the public’s dime — and it shouldn’t.

In August, you’ll likely be told to wait until November. Sure, the company can afford to do that. But can you?

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On the date of publication, Dana Blankenhorn 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.

Dana Blankenhorn?has been a financial journalist since 1978. His latest book is?Technology’s Big Bang: Yesterday, Today and Tomorrow with Moore’s Law, essays on technology available at the Amazon Kindle store. Follow him on Twitter at?@danablankenhorn.

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