Alger Small Cap on Berkeley Lights (BLI): “We Believe the Base Business Remains Strong”

Jose Karlo Mari Tottoc
·4 min read

Alger, an investment management firm, published its “Alger Small Cap Focus Fund” first quarter 2021 investor letter – a copy of which can be downloaded here. During the quarter, the largest portfolio sector weightings were Health Care and Information Technology. The largest sector overweight was Health Care. Class A shares of the Alger Small Cap Focus Fund underperformed the Russell 2000 Growth Index during the first quarter of 2021. You can view the fund’s top 5 holdings to have a peek at their top bets for 2021.

Alger Small Cap Focus Fund, in their Q1 2021 investor letter, mentioned Berkeley Lights, Inc. (NASDAQ: BLI) and shared their insights on the company. Berkeley Lights, Inc. is an Emeryville, California-based digital cell biology company that currently has a $3.2 billion market capitalization. Since the beginning of the year, BLI delivered a -46.39% return, while its 3-month gains are also down by -42.77%. As of April 16, 2021, the stock closed at $47.93 per share.

Here is what Alger Small Cap Focus Fund has to say about Berkeley Lights, Inc. in their Q1 2021 investor letter:

"Berkeley Lights Inc. was among the top detractors from performance. Berkeley Lights is a leading digital cell biology company founded in 2011. The company provides a single cell manipulation platform to enable and accelerate rapid development and commercialization of biotherapeutics and other cell-based products. The Berkeley Lights platform provides an advanced environment for rapid functional characterization of single cells at scale, with advanced automation systems that analyze live cells using proprietary consumables and application and workflow software to deliver robust single cell data. Berkeley Lights' workflows enable a deep understanding of each cell's behavior by recording critical data such as relevant phenotypic characteristics and linking to genetic information using real -time continuous images on thousands of cells, cell by cell. The company drastically reduces the amount of time required to get results for each of these application workflows by using customer defined criteria to find the best eel I for each customer's desired product.

We believe the underperformance of Berkeley Lights shares during the first quarter was driven more by heavy insider selling than by a change in fundamentals and we believe the base business remains strong. For example, the company recently announced a new$17 mi11ion multi-year non-exclusive collaboration agreement with a global leader in the contract development and manufacturing organization (COMO) space, which will expand the company's total addressable market and potentially allow the company to develop new workflows that it can commercialize in the future. More broadly, Berkeley Lights has tail winds from strong demand for cell -based products, increasing complexity of these products and a growing number of therapeutic modalities, all of which should drive demand for the company's technology."

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Our calculations show that Berkeley Lights, Inc. (NASDAQ: BLI) does not belong in our list of the 30 Most Popular Stocks Among Hedge Funds. As of the end of the fourth quarter of 2020, Berkeley Lights, Inc. was in 16 hedge fund portfolios, compared to 10 funds in the third quarter. BLI delivered a -6.28% return in the past month.

The top 10 stocks among hedge funds returned 231.2% between 2015 and 2020, and outperformed the S&P 500 Index ETFs by more than 126 percentage points. We know it sounds unbelievable. You have been dismissing our articles about top hedge fund stocks mostly because you were fed biased information by other media outlets about hedge funds’ poor performance. You could have doubled the size of your nest egg by investing in the top hedge fund stocks instead of dumb S&P 500 ETFs. Here you can watch our video about the top 5 hedge fund stocks right now. All of these stocks had positive returns in 2020.

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Disclosure: None. This article is originally published at Insider Monkey.