Icon Plc (NASDAQ: ICLR) and Aptose Biosciences (NASDAQ:APTO) are both medical companies, but which is the superior stock? We will compare the two companies based on the strength of their risk, valuation, analyst recommendations, earnings, profitability, institutional ownership and dividends.

Insider & Institutional Ownership

90.6% of Icon Plc shares are held by institutional investors. Comparatively, 4.5% of Aptose Biosciences shares are held by institutional investors. 44.0% of Icon Plc shares are held by insiders. Strong institutional ownership is an indication that hedge funds, endowments and large money managers believe a company is poised for long-term growth.


This table compares Icon Plc and Aptose Biosciences’ net margins, return on equity and return on assets.

Net Margins Return on Equity Return on Assets
Icon Plc 15.97% 28.72% 15.01%
Aptose Biosciences N/A -145.95% -124.12%

Valuation and Earnings

This table compares Icon Plc and Aptose Biosciences’ top-line revenue, earnings per share (EPS) and valuation.

Gross Revenue Price/Sales Ratio EBITDA Earnings Per Share Price/Earnings Ratio
Icon Plc $1.72 billion 3.53 $393.57 million $4.94 22.77
Aptose Biosciences N/A N/A -$12.50 million ($0.73) -2.29

Icon Plc has higher revenue and earnings than Aptose Biosciences. Aptose Biosciences is trading at a lower price-to-earnings ratio than Icon Plc, indicating that it is currently the more affordable of the two stocks.

Risk and Volatility

Icon Plc has a beta of 0.61, suggesting that its share price is 39% less volatile than the S&P 500. Comparatively, Aptose Biosciences has a beta of 1.64, suggesting that its share price is 64% more volatile than the S&P 500.

Analyst Recommendations

This is a summary of recent ratings and price targets for Icon Plc and Aptose Biosciences, as provided by MarketBeat.

Sell Ratings Hold Ratings Buy Ratings Strong Buy Ratings Rating Score
Icon Plc 0 2 7 1 2.90
Aptose Biosciences 0 1 4 0 2.80

Icon Plc presently has a consensus price target of $111.50, indicating a potential downside of 0.86%. Aptose Biosciences has a consensus price target of $7.75, indicating a potential upside of 364.07%. Given Aptose Biosciences’ higher possible upside, analysts clearly believe Aptose Biosciences is more favorable than Icon Plc.


Icon Plc beats Aptose Biosciences on 11 of the 13 factors compared between the two stocks.

Icon Plc Company Profile

ICON public limited company is a contract research organization (CRO), which is engaged in providing outsourced development services to the pharmaceutical, biotechnology and medical device industries. The Company is engaged in the strategic development, management and analysis of programs that support the various stages of the clinical development process, from compound selection to Phase I-IV clinical studies. Its services include clinical trials management, biometric activities, consulting, imaging, contract staffing, informatics and laboratory services. The Company’s information systems offerings include ICONIK, Firecrest, ADDPLAN, AptivAdvantage and Aptiv Insite. It conducts various laboratory tests on the patient’s blood, urine and other bodily fluids at appropriate intervals during the trial. The Company offers clinical development services, including investigator recruitment, patient registries, outcomes research, clinical data management, immunoassay development and others.

Aptose Biosciences Company Profile

Aptose Biosciences Inc. (Aptose) is a clinical-stage biotechnology company. The Company is engaged in the development of anticancer drugs that target specific epigenetic processes and signal transduction abnormalities that underlie a particular life-threatening malignancy. Its product pipeline includes cancer drug candidates that exert activity as stand-alone agents and that enhance the activities of other anticancer agents without causing overlapping toxicities. The Company develops therapeutics focused on epigenetic processes and signal transduction abnormalities at the edge of cancer research, coupled with companion diagnostics to identify the optimal patient population for its products. The Company’s APTO-253 is a small molecule that can induce expression of the genes that codes for the Kruppel-like factor 4 (KLF4) master transcription factor and the p21 cell cycle inhibitor protein.

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