Versartis (NASDAQ: VSAR) and Exelixis (NASDAQ:EXEL) are both medical companies, but which is the superior business? We will compare the two companies based on the strength of their dividends, earnings, risk, profitability, analyst recommendations, institutional ownership and valuation.

Volatility and Risk

Versartis has a beta of 2.36, suggesting that its share price is 136% more volatile than the S&P 500. Comparatively, Exelixis has a beta of 1.88, suggesting that its share price is 88% more volatile than the S&P 500.

Analyst Recommendations

This is a breakdown of current recommendations and price targets for Versartis and Exelixis, as provided by MarketBeat.

Sell Ratings Hold Ratings Buy Ratings Strong Buy Ratings Rating Score
Versartis 0 7 2 0 2.22
Exelixis 0 6 6 0 2.50

Versartis presently has a consensus price target of $5.63, suggesting a potential upside of 155.68%. Exelixis has a consensus price target of $31.71, suggesting a potential upside of 4.32%. Given Versartis’ higher possible upside, equities research analysts plainly believe Versartis is more favorable than Exelixis.

Profitability

This table compares Versartis and Exelixis’ net margins, return on equity and return on assets.

Net Margins Return on Equity Return on Assets
Versartis N/A -131.09% -79.18%
Exelixis 36.80% 105.47% 27.22%

Valuation and Earnings

This table compares Versartis and Exelixis’ revenue, earnings per share (EPS) and valuation.

Gross Revenue Price/Sales Ratio Net Income Earnings Per Share Price/Earnings Ratio
Versartis N/A N/A -$95.81 million ($3.93) -0.56
Exelixis $191.45 million 46.98 -$70.22 million $0.49 62.04

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

Institutional & Insider Ownership

49.2% of Versartis shares are owned by institutional investors. Comparatively, 81.2% of Exelixis shares are owned by institutional investors. 10.9% of Versartis shares are owned by company insiders. Comparatively, 5.1% of Exelixis shares are owned by company 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.

Summary

Exelixis beats Versartis on 10 of the 13 factors compared between the two stocks.

Versartis Company Profile

Versartis, Inc. is an endocrine-focused biopharmaceutical company. The Company is engaged in developing a long-acting form of recombinant human growth hormone, somavaratan (VRS-317), for growth hormone deficiency (GHD), an orphan disease. The Company’s first indication for somavaratan is pediatric GHD. The Company may develop somavaratan for additional growth disorders, such as idiopathic short stature (ISS), small for gestational age (SGA) and Turner Syndrome. Somavaratan is engineered using XTEN technology to extend the residence time in the bloodstream by reducing the clearance of recombinant human growth hormone (rhGH) from the body by the two primary mechanisms, kidney filtration and receptor mediated clearance.

Exelixis Company Profile

Exelixis, Inc. is a biopharmaceutical company. The Company is focused on discovery, development and commercialization of new medicines to manage care and outcomes for people with cancer. The Company’s cabozantinib product is an inhibitor of multiple tyrosine kinases, including MET, AXL, and VEGF receptors. The Company’s CABOMETYX tablets are approved for previously treated advanced kidney cancer and COMETRIQ capsules are approved for progressive, metastatic medullary thyroid cancer. The third product, Cotellic, is a formulation of cobimetinib, a selective inhibitor of MEK is approved as part of a combination regimen to treat advanced melanoma. Both cabozantinib and cobimetinib have shown potential in a range of forms of cancer and are the subjects of broad clinical development programs. The Company’s XL888 is a small molecule oral inhibitor of Heat Shock Protein 90 (HSP90), a molecular chaperone protein.

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