Aviragen Therapeutics (NASDAQ: AVIR) and La Jolla Pharmaceutical (NASDAQ:LJPC) are both small-cap medical companies, but which is the better stock? We will contrast the two companies based on the strength of their dividends, valuation, risk, institutional ownership, analyst recommendations, earnings and profitability.

Institutional and Insider Ownership

23.9% of Aviragen Therapeutics shares are owned by institutional investors. 4.9% of Aviragen Therapeutics shares are owned by company insiders. Comparatively, 25.5% of La Jolla Pharmaceutical shares are owned by company insiders. Strong institutional ownership is an indication that endowments, hedge funds and large money managers believe a company is poised for long-term growth.

Analyst Ratings

This is a breakdown of recent ratings for Aviragen Therapeutics and La Jolla Pharmaceutical, as reported by MarketBeat.

Sell Ratings Hold Ratings Buy Ratings Strong Buy Ratings Rating Score
Aviragen Therapeutics 0 2 1 0 2.33
La Jolla Pharmaceutical 0 0 6 0 3.00

Aviragen Therapeutics currently has a consensus price target of $5.00, suggesting a potential upside of 585.03%. La Jolla Pharmaceutical has a consensus price target of $54.60, suggesting a potential upside of 73.44%. Given Aviragen Therapeutics’ higher possible upside, analysts clearly believe Aviragen Therapeutics is more favorable than La Jolla Pharmaceutical.

Earnings and Valuation

This table compares Aviragen Therapeutics and La Jolla Pharmaceutical’s gross revenue, earnings per share and valuation.

Gross Revenue Price/Sales Ratio EBITDA Earnings Per Share Price/Earnings Ratio
Aviragen Therapeutics $8.90 million 3.17 -$27.30 million ($0.76) -0.96
La Jolla Pharmaceutical $128,999.00 5,398.74 -$95.32 million ($5.14) -6.12

Aviragen Therapeutics has higher revenue and earnings than La Jolla Pharmaceutical. La Jolla Pharmaceutical is trading at a lower price-to-earnings ratio than Aviragen Therapeutics, indicating that it is currently the more affordable of the two stocks.

Profitability

This table compares Aviragen Therapeutics and La Jolla Pharmaceutical’s net margins, return on equity and return on assets.

Net Margins Return on Equity Return on Assets
Aviragen Therapeutics -330.34% -107.54% -56.01%
La Jolla Pharmaceutical -12,692.37% -91.66% -80.61%

Volatility & Risk

Aviragen Therapeutics has a beta of 0.01, indicating that its share price is 99% less volatile than the S&P 500. Comparatively, La Jolla Pharmaceutical has a beta of 1.71, indicating that its share price is 71% more volatile than the S&P 500.

Summary

Aviragen Therapeutics beats La Jolla Pharmaceutical on 7 of the 13 factors compared between the two stocks.

About Aviragen Therapeutics

Aviragen Therapeutics, Inc., formerly Biota Pharmaceuticals, Inc., is focused on the discovery and development of direct-acting antivirals to treat infections that affect patients globally. The Company has three product candidates in clinical development that address viral infections that have limited therapeutic options. Its products include vapendavir, an oral treatment for human rhinovirus (HRV) upper respiratory infections in moderate-to-severe asthmatics in Phase IIb SPIRITUS trial; BTA585, an oral fusion (F) protein inhibitor in Phase II development for the treatment and prevention of respiratory syncytial virus (RSV) infections, and BTA074, a topical antiviral treatment in Phase II development for condyloma caused by human papillomavirus Types 6 and 11. It has preclinical RSV non-fusion inhibitor program. It has focused its research and drug development capabilities on discovering and developing small molecule compounds that can prevent or treat infectious diseases.

About La Jolla Pharmaceutical

La Jolla Pharmaceutical Company is a biopharmaceutical company. The Company is focused on the discovery, development and commercialization of therapies to improve outcomes in patients suffering from life-threatening diseases. LJPC-501 is its formulation of angiotensin II for the potential treatment of catecholamine-resistant hypotension (CRH). It has initiated a Phase III trial of LJPC-501 for the treatment of CRH, called the Angiotensin II for the Treatment of High-Output Shock 3 (ATHOS) Phase III trial. LJPC-401 is its formulation of synthetic human hepcidin for the potential treatment of conditions characterized by iron overload, such as hereditary hemochromatosis, beta thalassemia, sickle cell disease and myelodysplastic syndrome. LJPC-30S is its next-generation gentamicin derivative program that is focused on therapeutics for the potential treatment of serious bacterial infections, as well as rare genetic disorders, such as cystic fibrosis and Duchenne muscular dystrophy.

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