Incyte (NASDAQ: INCY) and Ligand Pharmaceuticals (NASDAQ:LGND) are both healthcare companies, but which is the superior investment? We will contrast the two companies based on the strength of their profitability, analyst recommendations, dividends, risk, valuation, earnings and institutional ownership.

Valuation & Earnings

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

Gross Revenue Price/Sales Ratio Net Income Earnings Per Share Price/Earnings Ratio
Incyte $1.54 billion 11.93 -$313.14 million ($1.56) -55.52
Ligand Pharmaceuticals $141.10 million 23.78 $12.55 million $2.06 77.19

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

Volatility and Risk

Incyte has a beta of 0.64, suggesting that its share price is 36% less volatile than the S&P 500. Comparatively, Ligand Pharmaceuticals has a beta of 1.1, suggesting that its share price is 10% more volatile than the S&P 500.


This table compares Incyte and Ligand Pharmaceuticals’ net margins, return on equity and return on assets.

Net Margins Return on Equity Return on Assets
Incyte -20.38% -11.85% -8.05%
Ligand Pharmaceuticals 8.90% 14.44% 8.65%

Analyst Recommendations

This is a summary of current recommendations and price targets for Incyte and Ligand Pharmaceuticals, as reported by

Sell Ratings Hold Ratings Buy Ratings Strong Buy Ratings Rating Score
Incyte 0 5 16 0 2.76
Ligand Pharmaceuticals 1 0 4 0 2.60

Incyte currently has a consensus price target of $142.37, indicating a potential upside of 64.38%. Ligand Pharmaceuticals has a consensus price target of $154.60, indicating a potential downside of 2.77%. Given Incyte’s stronger consensus rating and higher probable upside, research analysts clearly believe Incyte is more favorable than Ligand Pharmaceuticals.

Insider and Institutional Ownership

89.4% of Incyte shares are owned by institutional investors. 17.7% of Incyte shares are owned by company insiders. Comparatively, 8.3% of Ligand Pharmaceuticals shares are owned by company insiders. Strong institutional ownership is an indication that endowments, large money managers and hedge funds believe a company is poised for long-term growth.


Ligand Pharmaceuticals beats Incyte on 8 of the 14 factors compared between the two stocks.

Incyte Company Profile

Incyte Corporation is a biopharmaceutical company focused on the discovery, development and commercialization of therapeutics. Its portfolio includes compounds in various stages, ranging from preclinical to late-stage development, and commercialized products, such as JAKAFI (ruxolitinib) and ICLUSIG (ponatinib). JAKAFI (ruxolitinib) is indicated for the treatment of patients with intermediate or high risk myelofibrosis (MF) and for the treatment of patients with polycythemia vera (PV) having had an inadequate response to or are intolerant of hydroxyurea. As of December 31, 2016, the Food and Drug Administration had granted JAKAFI orphan drug status for MF, PV and essential thrombocythemia. The primary target for ICLUSIG is B Cell Receptor-ABL, an abnormal tyrosine kinase that is expressed in chronic myeloid leukemia and Philadelphia-chromosome positive acute lymphoblastic leukemia. The Company also has a portfolio of selective janus associated kinases 1 (JAK1) inhibitors.

Ligand Pharmaceuticals Company Profile

Ligand Pharmaceuticals Incorporated (Ligand) is a biopharmaceutical company that focuses on developing and acquiring technologies that help pharmaceutical companies discover and develop medicines. The Company is involved in the development and licensing of biopharmaceutical assets. The Company employs research technologies, such as nuclear receptor assays, high throughput computer screening, formulation science, liver targeted pro-drug technologies and antibody discovery technologies to assist companies in their work toward obtaining prescription drug approvals. As of December 31, 2016, it had partnerships and license agreements with over 85 pharmaceutical and biotechnology companies, and over 140 various programs under license with it were in various stages of commercialization and development. It has contributed research and technologies for approved medicines that treat cancer, osteoporosis, fungal infections and low blood platelets, among others.

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