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3 Under-the-Radar COVID Stocks

What's really interesting about the stock market is there are always new companies trying new things. And sometimes the stocks of these companies come out of nowhere and blow the market averages away. That's why many Fool.com contributors get excited when we hear about new companies that are "under the radar."

Everybody has heard of the mRNA stocks like Moderna and Pfizer. But did you know that early versions of the mRNA vaccines had to be kept in super-cold refrigerators? Patrick Bafuma explores the cold logistics chain. And were you aware that COVID-19 can cause deep vein thrombosis and pulmonary embolism in patients? Taylor Carmichael has a med-tech stock that is saving lives (and doubling revenue). And George Budwell has a dark-horse COVID-19 vaccine stock that has been spiking all year. Here's why our three contributors like Cryoport (NASDAQ: CYRX), Ocugen (NASDAQ: OCGN), and Inari Medical (NASDAQ: NARI).

Image source: Getty Images.

1. A cool supply chain leader

Patrick Bafuma (Cryoport): Tell me if you have heard about a COVID-induced supply chain issue in the last few months. I realize winter holiday shopping sales seem to get pushed earlier every year, but Christmas shopping in October? Yikes. Thankfully, there are solutions for the medical supply chain. And Cryoport -- with its tagline "Science. Logistics. Certainty." -- is shaping up to be the industry leader.

This temperature-controlled supply chain solutions provider may be the hottest stock you have never heard about. Cryoport's mission statement sums it up best: "To support life and health by providing reliable and comprehensive temperature-controlled supply chain solutions for the life sciences." Serving the biopharma, animal health, and reproductive medicine markets, this company is on a tear -- up over 3,700% in the past five years and 49% year to date. That performance over the last five years puts the company inside the top 10 for companies with a market cap over $2 billion and ahead of the likes of Shopify, The Trade Desk, Square, and Tesla.

Biopharma represented about 81% of second-quarter revenue, with the company currently supporting over 550 clinical trials -- up 14% from a year ago. All of those gene therapy trials that require temperature sensitive transport from highly specialized manufacturing facilities to get to the patient's bedside? That's Cryoport's specialty.

While that sounds like a lot of clinical trials, consider that there are 1,100 regenerative medicine companies with over 1,200 clinical programs worldwide. And that the company expects the growth to continue with an anticipated compound annual growth rate of 30% to 40% for the next decade. This temperature-controlled supply chain management company already has big wins in the bag. The list of customers includes several headliners in the commercial cell and gene therapy space, including Bristol Myer's Squibb's Breyanzi, Bluebird Bio's Skysona, Bristol Myers Squibb's and Bluebird Bio's Abecma, Novartis' Kymriah, and Gilead's Yescarta and Tecartus.

All of the aforementioned therapies are still in growth mode. With support for over 550 clinical trials, surely some treatments will make it to market, resulting in further transportation needs from Cryoport. With 55% year-over-year organic revenue growth and management that makes smart acquisitions that continue to scale the company's reach, this under-the-radar company has delivered the goods for customers and shareholders alike.

2. Don't overlook this tiny vaccine player

George Budwell (Ocugen): Shares of Ocugen are up by an astounding 351% so far this year. The reason? The company is partnered with India's Bharat Biotech for the COVID-19 vaccine known as Covaxin. More specifically, the two companies have a co-commercialization agreement in place for Canada and the United States. Ocugen, for its part, is set to bank 45% of the vaccine's net sales in these two key commercial territories.

The bad news is that Covaxin has fallen way behind the leaders in the space from a regulatory standpoint. As such, the vaccine is unlikely to land an emergency authorization in either Canada or the United States. What's more, Covaxin does not appear to be as effective as the top-flight messenger RNA vaccines from either Pfizer or Moderna.

So why should investors consider Ocugen as a potential COVID-19 vaccine play? Even though Covaxin's regulatory process has taken far longer than expected and Ocugen isn't the vaccine's sole owner, this tiny drugmaker doesn't require a massive payday to move its shares. As things stand now, Covaxin will likely net Ocugen a few hundred million in sales in North America next year (assuming approval).

That amount should be enough to light a fire underneath the biotech's stock. Ocugen, after all, is only valued at $1.64 billion at the time of this writing, and the company does have other high-value assets in the clinic. That being said, this is a risky clinical-stage biotech stock -- meaning investors probably shouldn't bet the farm on this under-the-radar vaccine company.

3. Another life saved by Inari

Taylor Carmichael (Inari Medical): Inari specializes in devices that remove blood clots. According to a recent study by the Radiological Society of North America, the incidence rate for pulmonary embolism and deep vein thrombosis in COVID-19 patients was 16.5% and 14.8%, respectively.

One of the joys of owning Inari Medical is that every quarter the company shares a story of how one of their products has radically changed a person's life. In Q2, Inari investors heard the story of a man who had been in a wheelchair for years because of a deep vein thrombosis in his leg. After treatment with Inari's ClotTriever, the man was up and walking.

What's really scary is a pulmonary embolism, which is a life-threatening situation caused by a clot. Back in the first quarter, CEO Bill Hoffman shared another story of clot removal. This one was a medical emergency. A woman in her late 50s suddenly collapsed in her bedroom. Her boyfriend called 911.

In the emergency room she was diagnosed with a pulmonary embolism. It was a life or death situation. The cardiologist on call had recently been trained on the FlowTriever for pulmonary embolism. He performed a thrombectomy procedure using the minimally invasive device. Within a few minutes, the doctor was able to remove a large volume of clot; the patient recovered almost immediately. And she was so happy, she later wrote a letter to Inari thanking the company for its medical device:

I'm 13 months post my event, and I have to tell you a day doesn't go by that I don't stop and realize how grateful I am. I'm totally back in the game, feel absolutely no limitations to the things I enjoy and the physical ability to do them. This is nothing short of a miracle.

Sure, we buy stocks in order to make money for our families. And there are a lot of financial reasons to buy this stock. Inari is already profitable, with 12% margin. Revenue for the quarter is growing at an astronomical 149% rate from a year ago. The company has $176 million in cash and practically zero debt. And the multiple has been cut in half. The stock was trading at 40 times sales early in the year. Now it's trading at 21 times sales.

While the stock has been flat in 2021, the company's numbers are amazing. I'm bullish for the future. But the really happy part of owning this stock is when we save lives and help people walk again.

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Patrick Bafuma owns shares of Tesla. Taylor Carmichael owns shares of Inari Medical, Inc., Shopify, Square, and The Trade Desk. George Budwell has no position in any of the stocks mentioned. The Motley Fool owns shares of and recommends Shopify, Square, Tesla, and The Trade Desk. The Motley Fool recommends Bluebird Bio, Gilead Sciences, and Moderna Inc. and recommends the following options: long January 2023 $1,140 calls on Shopify and short January 2023 $1,160 calls on Shopify. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy.


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