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

Profitability

This table compares Inovio Pharmaceuticals and Aptose Biosciences’ net margins, return on equity and return on assets.

Net Margins Return on Equity Return on Assets
Inovio Pharmaceuticals -221.55% -72.19% -53.91%
Aptose Biosciences N/A -129.12% -111.84%

Analyst Ratings

This is a breakdown of current recommendations for Inovio Pharmaceuticals and Aptose Biosciences, as provided by MarketBeat.

Sell Ratings Hold Ratings Buy Ratings Strong Buy Ratings Rating Score
Inovio Pharmaceuticals 0 2 8 0 2.80
Aptose Biosciences 0 1 3 0 2.75

Inovio Pharmaceuticals presently has a consensus target price of $20.20, indicating a potential upside of 350.89%. Aptose Biosciences has a consensus target price of $6.00, indicating a potential upside of 141.94%. Given Inovio Pharmaceuticals’ stronger consensus rating and higher possible upside, equities analysts clearly believe Inovio Pharmaceuticals is more favorable than Aptose Biosciences.

Institutional and Insider Ownership

32.1% of Inovio Pharmaceuticals shares are owned by institutional investors. Comparatively, 0.8% of Aptose Biosciences shares are owned by institutional investors. 10.6% of Inovio Pharmaceuticals shares are owned by insiders. Strong institutional ownership is an indication that large money managers, hedge funds and endowments believe a stock is poised for long-term growth.

Volatility and Risk

Inovio Pharmaceuticals has a beta of 2.75, meaning that its stock price is 175% more volatile than the S&P 500. Comparatively, Aptose Biosciences has a beta of 2.18, meaning that its stock price is 118% more volatile than the S&P 500.

Earnings & Valuation

This table compares Inovio Pharmaceuticals and Aptose Biosciences’ top-line revenue, earnings per share and valuation.

Gross Revenue Price/Sales Ratio Net Income Earnings Per Share Price/Earnings Ratio
Inovio Pharmaceuticals $35.37 million 11.44 -$73.74 million ($1.20) -3.73
Aptose Biosciences N/A N/A -$14.06 million ($0.60) -4.13

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

Summary

Inovio Pharmaceuticals beats Aptose Biosciences on 10 of the 13 factors compared between the two stocks.

About Inovio Pharmaceuticals

Inovio Pharmaceuticals, Inc. (Inovio) is a clinical-stage pharmaceutical company, which is involved in developing deoxyribonucleic acid (DNA) immunotherapies and vaccines focused on treating and preventing cancers and infectious diseases. The Company’s DNA-based immunotherapies, in combination with its electroporation delivery devices, generates immune responses, in particular T cells, in the body to fight target diseases. It has completed, current or planned clinical programs of its SynCon immunotherapies for human papillomavirus (HPV)-caused pre-cancers and cancers, influenza, prostate cancer, breast/lung/pancreatic cancer, hepatitis C virus (HCV), hepatitis B virus (HBV), human immunodeficiency virus (HIV), Ebola, Middle East Respiratory Syndrome (MERS) and Zika virus. With its immunotherapy platform, as well as with its CELLECTRA electroporation delivery technology, it has a pipeline of pre-clinical and clinical stage products that have generated in vivo immune responses.

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.

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