Voyager Therapeutics (NASDAQ: VYGR) and Merrimack Pharmaceuticals (NASDAQ:MACK) are both small-cap medical companies, but which is the superior investment? We will contrast the two businesses based on the strength of their institutional ownership, dividends, analyst recommendations, earnings, risk, profitability and valuation.

Institutional and Insider Ownership

40.7% of Voyager Therapeutics shares are owned by institutional investors. Comparatively, 46.7% of Merrimack Pharmaceuticals shares are owned by institutional investors. 6.0% of Voyager Therapeutics shares are owned by company insiders. Comparatively, 8.5% of Merrimack Pharmaceuticals shares are owned by company insiders. Strong institutional ownership is an indication that large money managers, hedge funds and endowments believe a company will outperform the market over the long term.

Risk and Volatility

Voyager Therapeutics has a beta of 3.65, meaning that its stock price is 265% more volatile than the S&P 500. Comparatively, Merrimack Pharmaceuticals has a beta of 2.02, meaning that its stock price is 102% more volatile than the S&P 500.

Analyst Ratings

This is a breakdown of recent recommendations and price targets for Voyager Therapeutics and Merrimack Pharmaceuticals, as reported by MarketBeat.

Sell Ratings Hold Ratings Buy Ratings Strong Buy Ratings Rating Score
Voyager Therapeutics 0 1 7 0 2.88
Merrimack Pharmaceuticals 0 4 0 0 2.00

Voyager Therapeutics presently has a consensus target price of $24.83, indicating a potential upside of 72.81%. Merrimack Pharmaceuticals has a consensus target price of $60.00, indicating a potential upside of 368.38%. Given Merrimack Pharmaceuticals’ higher possible upside, analysts plainly believe Merrimack Pharmaceuticals is more favorable than Voyager Therapeutics.

Profitability

This table compares Voyager Therapeutics and Merrimack Pharmaceuticals’ net margins, return on equity and return on assets.

Net Margins Return on Equity Return on Assets
Voyager Therapeutics -712.22% -46.15% -32.66%
Merrimack Pharmaceuticals -105.18% N/A -99.74%

Valuation & Earnings

This table compares Voyager Therapeutics and Merrimack Pharmaceuticals’ top-line revenue, earnings per share (EPS) and valuation.

Gross Revenue Price/Sales Ratio EBITDA Earnings Per Share Price/Earnings Ratio
Voyager Therapeutics $8.31 million 46.52 -$59.32 million ($2.30) -6.25
Merrimack Pharmaceuticals $144.27 million 11.79 -$87.01 million $31.50 0.41

Voyager Therapeutics has higher revenue, but lower earnings than Merrimack Pharmaceuticals. Voyager Therapeutics is trading at a lower price-to-earnings ratio than Merrimack Pharmaceuticals, indicating that it is currently the more affordable of the two stocks.

Summary

Merrimack Pharmaceuticals beats Voyager Therapeutics on 7 of the 13 factors compared between the two stocks.

Voyager Therapeutics Company Profile

Voyager Therapeutics, Inc. is a clinical-stage gene therapy company. The Company focuses on developing treatments for patients suffering from severe diseases of the central nervous system (CNS). The Company’s pipeline consists of programs for CNS indications, including advanced Parkinson’s disease; a monogenic form of amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS); Huntington’s disease; Friedreich’s ataxia; frontotemporal dementia/Alzheimer’s disease, and severe chronic pain. The Company’s clinical candidate, VY-AADC01, is an adeno-associated virus (AAV) gene therapy product candidate, for the treatment of advanced Parkinson’s disease. VY-AADC01 consists of the AAV2 capsid, which has been used in multiple AAV gene therapy clinical trials for various diseases, and the cytomegalovirus promoter that drives expression of the aromatic L-amino acid decarboxylase (AADC) transgene. Its pipeline also includes VY-SOD101, VY-FXN01, VY-HTT01, VY-TAU01 and VY-NAV01.

Merrimack Pharmaceuticals Company Profile

Merrimack Pharmaceuticals, Inc. is a biopharmaceutical company. The Company is engaged in discovering, developing and commercializing medicines consisting of therapeutics paired with companion diagnostics for the treatment of cancer. The Company has one marketed therapeutic oncology product and multiple targeted therapeutic oncology candidates in clinical development. Its advanced program is its therapeutic MM-398, which it markets in the United States under the brand name ONIVYDE. Its other clinical stage product candidates include MM-121, MM-141, MM-310, MM-302 and MM-151. The Company is developing in vitro and in vivo diagnostics for use with each of its oncology therapeutic product candidates. Its in vitro diagnostic agents employ biophysical or biochemical markers of cancer, or biomarkers. Its in vivo diagnostics take the form of imaging agents that may help identify patients likely to benefit from its therapeutic products by measuring deposition of its products in the tumor.

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