Tesla Ticker Confusion May Be Aiding Biotech Stock’s Rally

A dual-listed British biotechnology firm with a U.S. ticker that could be mistaken for Tesla Inc. has more than tripled in New York trading this year.

Tiziana Life Sciences Plc has drawn increased interest from retail investors amid the electric automaker’s meteoric rise, as seen by the jump in Robinhood accounts holding American depositary receipts of the drug developer, according to Robintrack.net. Tiziana’s ADRs trade on the Nasdaq under the ticker “TLSA,” and even some media publications have at times mistaken them for Tesla shares, which trade under “TSLA.”

H.C. Wainwright analyst Raghuram Selvaraju said it’s possible day traders are accidentally “buying shares of Tiziana when they intended to buy shares of Tesla,” though he sees several reasons the biotech stock is worth owning. Among those are a planned spinoff of its diagnostic tool for predicting breast cancer, which will be discussed at Tiziana’s annual meeting on Thursday. The London-based company is also developing a drug for Covid-19.

Tesla Ticker Confusion May Be Aiding Biotech Stock’s Rally

Tiziana’s ADRs briefly touched an intraday record of $10 each Wednesday, as the company announced a change to the ratio of ADRs per ordinary shares, effective July 31. In London trading, Tiziana shares -- ticker: TILS LN -- have soared 283% year-to-date.

Selvaraju, the sole analyst tracked by Bloomberg who covers the ADRs, has a buy rating and $25 price target, 190% above the current price.

Tiziana Executive Chairman and founder Gabriele Cerrone said the company’s stock performance is not dependent on Tesla. “If there was a confusion between Tesla and Tiziana, we would have started to see our stock flying ages ago when we listed on the Nasdaq initially,” Cerrone said in an interview.

©2020 Bloomberg L.P.

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