What happened

Shares of the synthetic-biology company Intrexon Corporation (NYSE: XON) lost over a quarter of their value today -- down 25.63% -- on nearly nine times the average daily volume. The culprit? An extremely disappointing third-quarter earnings release that featured a hefty 16.3% miss on revenue compared to the Street's consensus estimate for the three-month period -- $46 million vs. $55 million.

Intrexon attributed this noteworthy miss to a decline in collaboration, licensing, and product revenues during the quarter relative to the same period a year ago.

Image Source: Getty Images.

So what

Despite its highly diversified synthetic-biology platform that sports high-value assets in agriculture, biofuels, and cancer biology, Intrexon has repeatedly failed to produce quarterly results that meet expectations. The company's shares, for instance, took a beating earlier this year after it rolled out an underwhelming second-quarter earnings report. 

Now what

With Intrexon losing almost $40 million in the third quarter, it's starting to look like the company will need to raise a sizable amount of capital fairly soon -- and that fact implies that a dilutive secondary offering is coming down the pike. Intrexon, after all, exited the third quarter with only enough cash to cover its ongoing operations through to, perhaps, the second-half of 2018. But even this bleak estimate might be a bit too generous at this stage.

All told, Intrexon's synthetic-biology platform may look compelling on paper, but until the company starts to deliver consistent results from a revenue standpoint, investors should probably steer clear of this falling knife.

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George Budwell has no position in any of the stocks mentioned. The Motley Fool has no position in any of the stocks mentioned. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy.

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