Agenus (NASDAQ: AGEN) and Ionis Pharmaceuticals (NASDAQ:IONS) are both medical companies, but which is the better stock? We will contrast the two businesses based on the strength of their analyst recommendations, valuation, risk, profitability, institutional ownership, earnings and dividends.

Profitability

This table compares Agenus and Ionis Pharmaceuticals’ net margins, return on equity and return on assets.

Net Margins Return on Equity Return on Assets
Agenus -280.96% N/A -65.05%
Ionis Pharmaceuticals 5.25% 15.52% 2.59%

Analyst Recommendations

This is a summary of recent recommendations for Agenus and Ionis Pharmaceuticals, as reported by MarketBeat.

Sell Ratings Hold Ratings Buy Ratings Strong Buy Ratings Rating Score
Agenus 0 1 3 0 2.75
Ionis Pharmaceuticals 2 6 6 0 2.29

Agenus currently has a consensus price target of $6.33, indicating a potential upside of 73.04%. Ionis Pharmaceuticals has a consensus price target of $49.62, indicating a potential downside of 13.12%. Given Agenus’ stronger consensus rating and higher probable upside, equities analysts clearly believe Agenus is more favorable than Ionis Pharmaceuticals.

Valuation & Earnings

This table compares Agenus and Ionis Pharmaceuticals’ gross revenue, earnings per share (EPS) and valuation.

Gross Revenue Price/Sales Ratio EBITDA Earnings Per Share Price/Earnings Ratio
Agenus $41.19 million 8.86 -$92.05 million ($1.27) -2.88
Ionis Pharmaceuticals $485.73 million 14.62 $80.88 million $0.21 271.97

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

Risk & Volatility

Agenus has a beta of 2.11, meaning that its stock price is 111% more volatile than the S&P 500. Comparatively, Ionis Pharmaceuticals has a beta of 2.9, meaning that its stock price is 190% more volatile than the S&P 500.

Insider and Institutional Ownership

39.6% of Agenus shares are owned by institutional investors. Comparatively, 89.0% of Ionis Pharmaceuticals shares are owned by institutional investors. 7.6% of Agenus shares are owned by company insiders. Comparatively, 2.1% of Ionis Pharmaceuticals shares are owned by company insiders. Strong institutional ownership is an indication that hedge funds, large money managers and endowments believe a stock will outperform the market over the long term.

Summary

Ionis Pharmaceuticals beats Agenus on 10 of the 13 factors compared between the two stocks.

Agenus Company Profile

Agenus Inc. (Agenus) is an immuno-oncology (I-O) company. The Company focuses on the discovery and development of therapies that engage the body’s immune system to fight cancer. It is developing a I-O portfolio driven by platforms and programs, such as antibody discovery platforms, including Retrocyte Display, SECANT yeast display and phage display technologies designed to produce human antibodies; antibody candidate programs, including checkpoint modulator (CPM) programs; vaccine programs, including Prophage, AutoSynVax and PhosPhoSynVax, and saponin-based vaccine adjuvants, principally QS-21 Stimulon adjuvant (QS-21 Stimulon). The Company’s discovery pipeline includes a range of checkpoint modulating (CPM) antibodies. The Company’s vaccine platforms include its heat shock protein (HSP)-based Prophage vaccine candidates, and its synthetic vaccine candidates, ASV and PSV.

Ionis Pharmaceuticals Company Profile

Ionis Pharmaceuticals, Inc. is engaged in discovering and developing ribonucleic acid (RNA)-targeted therapeutics. The Company, using its drug discovery platform, has developed a pipeline of drugs for patients with unmet medical needs. The Company’s segments include Ionis Core and Akcea Therapeutics. In the Ionis Core segment, the Company is engaged in exploiting a drug discovery platform to generate a pipeline of drugs for the Company and its partners. The Akcea Therapeutics segment includes the operations of the Company’s subsidiary, Akcea Therapeutics, Inc. (Akcea Therapeutics). Akcea Therapeutics is focused on developing and commercializing volanesorsen and other clinical-stage drugs for serious cardiometabolic diseases caused by lipid disorders. The Company is developing volanesorsen to treat two severe and rare, genetically defined diseases, familial chylomicronemia (FCS) and familial partial lipodystrophy (FPL). The Company offers SPINRAZA, a Generation 2.0+ antisense drug.

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