Calithera Biosciences (NASDAQ: CALA) and Geron Corporation (NASDAQ:GERN) are both small-cap medical companies, but which is the better business? We will compare the two companies based on the strength of their valuation, risk, analyst recommendations, profitability, institutional ownership, dividends and earnings.

Volatility & Risk

Calithera Biosciences has a beta of 3.32, suggesting that its stock price is 232% more volatile than the S&P 500. Comparatively, Geron Corporation has a beta of 2.72, suggesting that its stock price is 172% more volatile than the S&P 500.

Earnings & Valuation

This table compares Calithera Biosciences and Geron Corporation’s gross revenue, earnings per share and valuation.

Gross Revenue Price/Sales Ratio EBITDA Earnings Per Share Price/Earnings Ratio
Calithera Biosciences $11.45 million 50.19 -$29.12 million ($1.26) -12.86
Geron Corporation $5.91 million 54.96 -$26.81 million ($0.16) -12.75

Geron Corporation has higher revenue, but lower earnings than Calithera Biosciences. Calithera Biosciences is trading at a lower price-to-earnings ratio than Geron Corporation, indicating that it is currently the more affordable of the two stocks.

Institutional & Insider Ownership

71.9% of Calithera Biosciences shares are owned by institutional investors. Comparatively, 38.8% of Geron Corporation shares are owned by institutional investors. 16.3% of Calithera Biosciences shares are owned by company insiders. Comparatively, 7.1% of Geron Corporation shares are owned by company insiders. Strong institutional ownership is an indication that hedge funds, endowments and large money managers believe a company is poised for long-term growth.

Analyst Ratings

This is a summary of current ratings and recommmendations for Calithera Biosciences and Geron Corporation, as provided by MarketBeat.com.

Sell Ratings Hold Ratings Buy Ratings Strong Buy Ratings Rating Score
Calithera Biosciences 0 1 4 0 2.80
Geron Corporation 0 3 2 0 2.40

Calithera Biosciences presently has a consensus price target of $14.40, suggesting a potential downside of 11.11%. Geron Corporation has a consensus price target of $4.17, suggesting a potential upside of 104.25%. Given Geron Corporation’s higher probable upside, analysts clearly believe Geron Corporation is more favorable than Calithera Biosciences.

Profitability

This table compares Calithera Biosciences and Geron Corporation’s net margins, return on equity and return on assets.

Net Margins Return on Equity Return on Assets
Calithera Biosciences N/A -26.72% -20.91%
Geron Corporation -433.72% -21.30% -19.74%

Summary

Calithera Biosciences beats Geron Corporation on 7 of the 13 factors compared between the two stocks.

About Calithera Biosciences

Calithera Biosciences, Inc. is a clinical-stage pharmaceutical company. The Company focuses on discovering and developing small molecule drugs directed against tumor and immune cell targets that control key metabolic pathways in the tumor microenvironment. It is engaged in developing agents that take advantage of the metabolic requirements of tumor cells and cancer-fighting immune cells, such as cytotoxic T-cells. The Company’s lead product candidate, CB-839, is a critical enzyme in tumor cells. Its other product candidate, CB-1158, is being developed for hematology and oncology indications. CB-1158 is a potent and selective orally bioavailable inhibitor of the enzyme arginase. CB-839 is a selective, reversible and orally bioavailable inhibitor of human glutaminase. CB-1158 has single agent anti-tumor activity in syngeneic mouse tumor models that has been demonstrated to act through an immune mechanism. CB-1158 is being tested in a Phase I clinical trial in patients with solid tumors.

About Geron Corporation

Geron Corporation (Geron) is a biopharmaceutical company, which supports the clinical stage development of a telomerase inhibitor, Imetelstat, in hematologic myeloid malignancies by Janssen Biotech, Inc. (Janssen). The Company is engaged in the development of therapeutic products for oncology. Using its nucleic acid chemistry, Geron designed Imetelstat to be an oligonucleotide that binds with high affinity to the ribonucleic acid (RNA) template of telomerase, thereby directly inhibiting telomerase activity. Janssen is engaged in the development of Imetelstat with two clinical trials, such as a Phase II trial in myelofibrosis (MF), referred to as IMbark, and a Phase II/III trial in myelodysplastic syndromes (MDS) referred to as IMerge. Imetelstat is a lipid conjugated 13-mer oligonucleotide that is designed to be complementary to and bind with high affinity to the RNA template of telomerase, thereby directly inhibiting telomerase activity.

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