TearLab (OTCMKTS: TEAR) and LightPath Technologies (NASDAQ:LPTH) are both small-cap medical companies, but which is the better investment? We will contrast the two companies based on the strength of their earnings, institutional ownership, profitability, analyst recommendations, risk, dividends and valuation.

Insider and Institutional Ownership

12.2% of TearLab shares are held by institutional investors. Comparatively, 32.6% of LightPath Technologies shares are held by institutional investors. 12.0% of TearLab shares are held by insiders. Comparatively, 12.7% of LightPath Technologies shares are held by insiders. Strong institutional ownership is an indication that large money managers, endowments and hedge funds believe a company is poised for long-term growth.

Analyst Recommendations

This is a summary of current ratings for TearLab and LightPath Technologies, as provided by MarketBeat.com.

Sell Ratings Hold Ratings Buy Ratings Strong Buy Ratings Rating Score
TearLab 0 0 4 0 3.00
LightPath Technologies 0 0 2 0 3.00

TearLab presently has a consensus target price of $5.75, suggesting a potential upside of 1,374.36%. LightPath Technologies has a consensus target price of $2.80, suggesting a potential upside of 17.15%. Given TearLab’s higher probable upside, equities research analysts plainly believe TearLab is more favorable than LightPath Technologies.

Profitability

This table compares TearLab and LightPath Technologies’ net margins, return on equity and return on assets.

Net Margins Return on Equity Return on Assets
TearLab -60.22% N/A -75.54%
LightPath Technologies 25.13% 31.44% 19.09%

Earnings and Valuation

This table compares TearLab and LightPath Technologies’ revenue, earnings per share and valuation.

Gross Revenue Price/Sales Ratio Net Income Earnings Per Share Price/Earnings Ratio
TearLab $28.01 million 0.08 -$19.92 million ($2.98) -0.13
LightPath Technologies $28.37 million 2.07 $7.70 million $0.32 7.47

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

Volatility & Risk

TearLab has a beta of 2.71, indicating that its stock price is 171% more volatile than the S&P 500. Comparatively, LightPath Technologies has a beta of -0.66, indicating that its stock price is 166% less volatile than the S&P 500.

Summary

LightPath Technologies beats TearLab on 9 of the 12 factors compared between the two stocks.

About TearLab

TearLab Corporation is an in-vitro diagnostic company. The Company has commercialized a tear testing platform, the TearLab Osmolarity System, which enables eye care practitioners to test for sensitive and specific biomarkers using nanoliters of tear film at the point-of-care. The Company, through its subsidiary TearLab Research, Inc., develops technologies to enable eye care practitioners to test a range of biomarkers (chemistries, metabolites, genes and proteins) at the point-of-care. Its product, the TearLab Osmolarity System, enables the measurement of tear osmolarity in the doctor’s office. The TearLab Osmolarity System consists of approximately three components: the TearLab disposable, the TearLab Pen, and the TearLab Reader. The TearLab disposable is a single-use microfluidic microchip. The TearLab Pen is a hand-held device that interfaces with the TearLab disposable. The TearLab Reader is a small desktop unit that allows for the docking of the TearLab Pen.

About LightPath Technologies

LightPath Technologies, Inc. is a manufacturer and integrator of families of precision molded aspheric optics, fiber-optic collimator, GRADIUM glass lenses and other optical materials used to produce products that manipulate light. The Company designs, develops, manufactures and distributes optical components and assemblies utilizing the optical processes and manufacturing technologies. The Company also performs research and development for optical solutions for the traditional optics markets and communications markets. The Company’s products are incorporated into a range of applications by its customers in various industries, including defense products, medical devices, laser aided industrial tools, automotive safety applications, barcode scanners, optical data storage, hybrid fiber coax datacom, telecommunications, machine vision and sensors.

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