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

Earnings and Valuation

This table compares Aptose Biosciences and Arbutus Biopharma Corporation’s top-line revenue, earnings per share and valuation.

Gross Revenue Price/Sales Ratio EBITDA Earnings Per Share Price/Earnings Ratio
Aptose Biosciences N/A N/A -$12.87 million ($0.73) -1.96
Arbutus Biopharma Corporation $1.85 million 174.74 -$65.74 million ($5.13) -1.15

Aptose Biosciences has higher revenue, but lower earnings than Arbutus Biopharma Corporation. Aptose Biosciences 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.

Profitability

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

Net Margins Return on Equity Return on Assets
Aptose Biosciences N/A -145.95% -124.12%
Arbutus Biopharma Corporation N/A -28.97% -21.71%

Volatility & Risk

Aptose Biosciences has a beta of 1.81, indicating that its stock price is 81% more volatile than the S&P 500. Comparatively, Arbutus Biopharma Corporation has a beta of 1.01, indicating that its stock price is 1% more volatile than the S&P 500.

Insider & Institutional Ownership

4.6% of Aptose Biosciences shares are owned by institutional investors. Comparatively, 67.0% of Arbutus Biopharma Corporation shares are owned by institutional investors. 10.0% of Arbutus Biopharma Corporation shares are owned by insiders. Strong institutional ownership is an indication that endowments, hedge funds and large money managers believe a stock is poised for long-term growth.

Analyst Recommendations

This is a breakdown of recent recommendations for Aptose Biosciences and Arbutus Biopharma Corporation, as reported by MarketBeat.

Sell Ratings Hold Ratings Buy Ratings Strong Buy Ratings Rating Score
Aptose Biosciences 0 1 4 0 2.80
Arbutus Biopharma Corporation 0 0 5 0 3.00

Aptose Biosciences currently has a consensus target price of $7.00, indicating a potential upside of 389.51%. Arbutus Biopharma Corporation has a consensus target price of $15.00, indicating a potential upside of 155.32%. Given Aptose Biosciences’ higher possible upside, equities research analysts plainly believe Aptose Biosciences is more favorable than Arbutus Biopharma Corporation.

Summary

Arbutus Biopharma Corporation beats Aptose Biosciences on 7 of the 11 factors compared between the two stocks.

About Aptose Biosciences

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.

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.

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