Kerrisdale Short Position Sends SAGE Therapeutics Inc (SAGE) to New Lows

SAGE Therapeutics Inc (NASDAQ: SAGE) hit an annual low after hedge fund Kerrisdale Capital said it's shorting the stock

by Josh Selway

Published on Mar 23, 2016 at 11:20 AM
Updated on Jun 24, 2020 at 10:16 AM

Pharmaceutical stock SAGE Therapeutics Inc (NASDAQ:SAGE) is down 20% at $26.71 -- its biggest intraday loss in over a year -- and earlier hit an annual low of $26.28, after hedge fund Kerrisdale Capital announced a new short position on the stock. Kerrisdale stated it expects SAGE's experimental seizure treatment to fail in its late-stage study, which could push the shares 75% lower. (Results for the study are expected later this year.) As a result, trading volume on SAGE stock is booming, on pace to hit an annual high. 

On a closer look, short interest has been growing on the stock. Specifically, short interest popped by 17.5% during the last two reporting periods, bringing the amount of shorted SAGE shares to 3.15 million -- an all-time high. At average daily volumes, it'd take these bears almost seven sessions to cover their positions. 

Today, though, the stock is short-sale restricted amid the steep losses. Because of this, some traders have taken to the options pits to place bets on the biotech, though overall volume remains light, on an absolute basis. 

Looking back, SAGE Therapeutics Inc (NASDAQ:SAGE) has plummeted 70% since hitting an all-time high above $89 last June. Unfortunately, the stock looks vulnerable to more headwinds in the near term due to the extremely bullish outlook from analysts. Specifically, all seven brokerages that cover SAGE say it's a "strong buy," while the stock's average 12-month price target is $85.57 -- more than triple current levels. Potential bearish attention from this group could put even more pressure on the drugmaker. 

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