Shares in ReWalk Robotics (NSDQ:RWLK) are off nearly 4% today after an analyst with Barclays downgraded the stock, citing “lack of tangible progress” and increased competition from other players in the robot-assisted rehabilitation market.
Barclays analyst Matthew Taylor lowered the investment house’s rating on ReWalk from “equal weight” to “underweight” and cut his price target to $1.50 from $2.50.
Taylor enacted the downgrade after finding “lack of tangible progress on key initiatives, including commercial reimbursement, veterans being trained under VA coverage, and signs of increased competition,” in a note to investors issued this morning.
ReWalk is also likely to struggle to achieve scale “given the training intensity required to qualify patients for home use,” making a reimbursement win unlikely, Taylor wrote.
“We lack conviction that RWLK will get broad-based reimbursement in the near term, as we have seen no direct evidence to support this other than management commentary, which has been inaccurate to date. At this stage, given RWLK’s slower sales ramp and spending, we expect the company to run low on cash in 2017 and think shareholders run the risk of further dilution as the company may need to issue equity to underwrite ongoing operations,” Taylor wrote.
ReWalk also faces headwinds from competitors such as Ekso Bionics (OTC:EKSO) and new playerSuitX, the analyst wrote.
Ekso is a particular threat because its sales are higher and it’s moving in on RWLK’s rehab opportunity and pursuing a home indication, he wrote. SuitX is a threat because its product is lighter and costs less, Taylor noted.
“While we are excited about the RWLK and exoskeleton technology in general, we think the market will take time to evolve, limited by lack of coverage and a training-intensive business that is tough to scale,” he wrote, adding that ReWalk only has 3 or 4 quarters worth of liquidity at its current burn rate.
Investors reacted by pushing RWLK shares down -3.8% to $2.02 apiece today in mid-afternoon trading.
In January, ReWalk said it would lay off an unspecified number of workers as it looks to pare its operating expenses by 30% this year. The Marlborough, Mass.- and Israel-based company had 87 employees as of December 2015, according to a regulator filing.