OvaScience off by more than 50% as it says it won't meet 2015 fertility treatment goal

Depiction of OvaScience's Augment treatment--Courtesy of OvaScience

Fertility company OvaScience ($OVAS) saw its shares drop by more than half after a Sept. 28 announcement that it would not meet its stated goal of 1,000 Augment procedures in 2015. The company chalks this up to an expanding commercial operation, as well as recent M&A activity in key commercial in vitro fertilization clinics where the treatment is offered.

"We are adapting our regional commercial operations and infrastructure as well as addressing an even more dynamic global IVF landscape," said OvaScience President and CEO Dr. Michelle Dipp in a statement. "In addition, we recently became aware of M&A activities in our key clinics. We believe these factors will prevent us from achieving our goal as we had anticipated the majority of Augment treatment cycles would initiate in the fourth quarter."

Wall Street already punished the company earlier this year on less-than-stellar data for the Augment procedure. OvaScience first encountered rocky stock market waters back in 2013, when FDA stepped in to regulate the procedure, which the startup had expected previously would be beyond the agency's purview.

Dipp added, "While disappointing in the short-term, the expanding clinic networks may enable more patients to have access to the Augment treatment. With the positive patient experience to date, including multiple healthy births, we remain confident in the commercial potential of the Augment treatment and our future fertility treatments."

The Augment treatment is intended to supplement the existing egg mitochondria by using egg precursor cells found in the ovarian lining. The company said it still plans to introduce its OvaPrime treatment in the U.S. this year and communicate its development strategy for its OvaTure treatment. OvaPrime is intended to use egg precursor cells in increase a woman's egg reserve, while OvaTure is a potential next-gen IVF treatment to produce eggs without hormone injections.

With a share price of only $8, OvaScience has almost returned to its $7.50 IPO price when it first debuted on the Nasdaq in November 2012. That's a massive decline of more than 80% so far this year; its share price was as high as about $50 at the start of 2015.

- here is the announcement