Arbutus Biopharma Corporation (NASDAQ: ABUS) and Agenus (NASDAQ:AGEN) are both small-cap medical companies, but which is the superior investment? We will contrast the two businesses based on the strength of their analyst recommendations, institutional ownership, profitability, valuation, dividends, earnings and risk.

Volatility & Risk

Arbutus Biopharma Corporation has a beta of 0.94, meaning that its share price is 6% less volatile than the S&P 500. Comparatively, Agenus has a beta of 2.1, meaning that its share price is 110% more volatile than the S&P 500.

Profitability

This table compares Arbutus Biopharma Corporation and Agenus’ net margins, return on equity and return on assets.

Net Margins Return on Equity Return on Assets
Arbutus Biopharma Corporation N/A -28.97% -21.71%
Agenus -280.96% -37,577.49% -65.05%

Analyst Recommendations

This is a summary of recent ratings and price targets for Arbutus Biopharma Corporation and Agenus, as reported by MarketBeat.

Sell Ratings Hold Ratings Buy Ratings Strong Buy Ratings Rating Score
Arbutus Biopharma Corporation 0 0 5 0 3.00
Agenus 0 1 3 0 2.75

Arbutus Biopharma Corporation currently has a consensus price target of $16.00, indicating a potential upside of 189.59%. Agenus has a consensus price target of $6.33, indicating a potential upside of 51.88%. Given Arbutus Biopharma Corporation’s stronger consensus rating and higher probable upside, equities research analysts plainly believe Arbutus Biopharma Corporation is more favorable than Agenus.

Insider & Institutional Ownership

67.0% of Arbutus Biopharma Corporation shares are owned by institutional investors. Comparatively, 39.5% of Agenus shares are owned by institutional investors. 10.0% of Arbutus Biopharma Corporation shares are owned by insiders. Comparatively, 7.9% of Agenus shares are owned by insiders. Strong institutional ownership is an indication that hedge funds, endowments and large money managers believe a company will outperform the market over the long term.

Earnings & Valuation

This table compares Arbutus Biopharma Corporation and Agenus’ gross revenue, earnings per share and valuation.

Gross Revenue Price/Sales Ratio EBITDA Earnings Per Share Price/Earnings Ratio
Arbutus Biopharma Corporation $1.85 million 164.33 -$65.74 million ($5.13) -1.08
Agenus $41.19 million 10.09 -$92.05 million ($1.27) -3.28

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

Summary

Arbutus Biopharma Corporation beats Agenus on 10 of the 13 factors compared between the two stocks.

About Arbutus Biopharma Corporation

Arbutus Biopharma Corporation, formerly Tekmira Pharmaceuticals Corporation, is a therapeutic solutions company. The Company is engaged in discovering, developing and commercializing a cure for patients suffering from chronic hepatitis B infection (HBV), a disease of the liver caused by the hepatitis B virus (HBV). It is developing a pipeline focused on advancing Ribo Nucleic Acid interference therapeutics (RNAi) using its Lipid Nanoparticle technology. The Company’s lead RNAi HBV candidate, ARB-1467, eliminates HBV surface antigen expression in patients chronically infected with HBV. ARB-1467 is being developed as a multi-component RNAi therapeutic that targets various sites on the HBV genome. It is also developing small molecule covalently closed circular deoxyribonucleic acid (cccDNA) formation inhibitors, multiple small molecule orally bioavailable inhibitors of HBV surface antigen production and secretion, cccDNA epigenetic modifiers and stimulator of interferon genes agonists.

About Agenus

Agenus Inc. (Agenus) is an immuno-oncology (I-O) company. The Company focuses on the discovery and development of therapies that engage the body’s immune system to fight cancer. It is developing a I-O portfolio driven by platforms and programs, such as antibody discovery platforms, including Retrocyte Display, SECANT yeast display and phage display technologies designed to produce human antibodies; antibody candidate programs, including checkpoint modulator (CPM) programs; vaccine programs, including Prophage, AutoSynVax and PhosPhoSynVax, and saponin-based vaccine adjuvants, principally QS-21 Stimulon adjuvant (QS-21 Stimulon). The Company’s discovery pipeline includes a range of checkpoint modulating (CPM) antibodies. The Company’s vaccine platforms include its heat shock protein (HSP)-based Prophage vaccine candidates, and its synthetic vaccine candidates, ASV and PSV.

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