Ophthotech (NASDAQ: OPHT) and Flex Pharma (NASDAQ:FLKS) are both small-cap healthcare companies, but which is the better stock? We will contrast the two companies based on the strength of their analyst recommendations, valuation, institutional ownership, risk, earnings, dividends and profitability.

Institutional & Insider Ownership

62.5% of Ophthotech shares are held by institutional investors. Comparatively, 27.3% of Flex Pharma shares are held by institutional investors. 2.0% of Ophthotech shares are held by company insiders. Comparatively, 45.4% of Flex Pharma shares are held by company insiders. Strong institutional ownership is an indication that endowments, hedge funds and large money managers believe a company will outperform the market over the long term.

Analyst Ratings

This is a summary of current ratings and recommmendations for Ophthotech and Flex Pharma, as reported by MarketBeat.

Sell Ratings Hold Ratings Buy Ratings Strong Buy Ratings Rating Score
Ophthotech 0 1 0 0 2.00
Flex Pharma 0 1 3 0 2.75

Ophthotech presently has a consensus price target of $4.00, indicating a potential upside of 37.93%. Flex Pharma has a consensus price target of $10.50, indicating a potential upside of 128.26%. Given Flex Pharma’s stronger consensus rating and higher possible upside, analysts plainly believe Flex Pharma is more favorable than Ophthotech.

Profitability

This table compares Ophthotech and Flex Pharma’s net margins, return on equity and return on assets.

Net Margins Return on Equity Return on Assets
Ophthotech 26.69% -69.40% 24.91%
Flex Pharma -2,655.19% -71.39% -65.49%

Earnings & Valuation

This table compares Ophthotech and Flex Pharma’s gross revenue, earnings per share and valuation.

Gross Revenue Price/Sales Ratio Net Income Earnings Per Share Price/Earnings Ratio
Ophthotech $50.91 million 2.15 -$193.42 million $1.56 1.95
Flex Pharma $1.01 million 81.84 -$39.49 million ($2.02) -2.28

Flex Pharma has lower revenue, but higher earnings than Ophthotech. Flex Pharma is trading at a lower price-to-earnings ratio than Ophthotech, indicating that it is currently the more affordable of the two stocks.

Summary

Ophthotech beats Flex Pharma on 7 of the 13 factors compared between the two stocks.

About Ophthotech

Ophthotech Corporation is a biopharmaceutical company. The Company is engaged in the development of therapeutics to treat ophthalmic diseases, with a focus on diseases of the back of the eye. Its primary focus is developing therapeutics for age-related macular degeneration (AMD), which is a disorder of the central portion of the retina, known as the macula, that may result in blindness. Its product candidates include Fovista and Zimura. Fovista is designed to target platelet derived growth factor (PDGF) in combination with anti-vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF) drugs to disrupt the formation of abnormal new blood vessels in wet AMD. Zimura targets complement factor C5, a central component of the complement cascade. The Company has initiated a Phase II/III clinical trial investigating Zimura for treatment of geographic atrophy.

About Flex Pharma

Flex Pharma, Inc. is a biotechnology company. The Company develops treatments for nocturnal leg cramps, muscle cramps and spasms associated with severe neuromuscular conditions, and exercise associated muscle cramps (EAMCs). The Company’s product candidates activate certain receptors in primary sensory neurons, which then act through neuronal circuits to reduce the repetitive firing, or hyperexcitability, of alpha-motor neurons in the spinal cord, thereby preventing or reducing the frequency and intensity of muscle cramps and spasms. The Company operates through developing and commercializing products for nocturnal leg cramps, muscle cramps, spasms and spasticity associated with severe neuromuscular conditions, and exercise-associated muscle cramps segment. The Company’s lead drug product candidate is FLX-787, which is in the Phase II clinical trial stage. It is developing a consumer brand and products specifically formulated to treat athletes suffering from EAMCs.

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