Vital Therapies (NASDAQ: VTL) and Stemline Therapeutics (NASDAQ:STML) are both small-cap medical companies, but which is the better investment? We will contrast the two companies based on the strength of their analyst recommendations, institutional ownership, earnings, profitability, valuation, dividends and risk.

Profitability

This table compares Vital Therapies and Stemline Therapeutics’ net margins, return on equity and return on assets.

Net Margins Return on Equity Return on Assets
Vital Therapies N/A -70.76% -64.35%
Stemline Therapeutics -4,689.63% -75.50% -64.20%

Analyst Recommendations

This is a summary of current ratings and target prices for Vital Therapies and Stemline Therapeutics, as reported by MarketBeat.com.

Sell Ratings Hold Ratings Buy Ratings Strong Buy Ratings Rating Score
Vital Therapies 0 1 2 0 2.67
Stemline Therapeutics 0 0 6 0 3.00

Vital Therapies currently has a consensus target price of $8.00, suggesting a potential upside of 56.86%. Stemline Therapeutics has a consensus target price of $33.40, suggesting a potential upside of 131.14%. Given Stemline Therapeutics’ stronger consensus rating and higher possible upside, analysts clearly believe Stemline Therapeutics is more favorable than Vital Therapies.

Valuation and Earnings

This table compares Vital Therapies and Stemline Therapeutics’ revenue, earnings per share (EPS) and valuation.

Gross Revenue Price/Sales Ratio NetIncome Earnings Per Share Price/Earnings Ratio
Vital Therapies N/A N/A -$40.96 million ($1.35) -3.78
Stemline Therapeutics $1.04 million 351.39 -$38.30 million ($2.57) -5.62

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

Insider and Institutional Ownership

25.4% of Vital Therapies shares are held by institutional investors. Comparatively, 46.5% of Stemline Therapeutics shares are held by institutional investors. 32.6% of Vital Therapies shares are held by insiders. Comparatively, 16.7% of Stemline Therapeutics shares are held by insiders. Strong institutional ownership is an indication that large money managers, hedge funds and endowments believe a company is poised for long-term growth.

Risk and Volatility

Vital Therapies has a beta of 5.3, suggesting that its share price is 430% more volatile than the S&P 500. Comparatively, Stemline Therapeutics has a beta of -0.07, suggesting that its share price is 107% less volatile than the S&P 500.

Summary

Stemline Therapeutics beats Vital Therapies on 7 of the 12 factors compared between the two stocks.

Vital Therapies Company Profile

Vital Therapies, Inc. is a biotherapeutic company. The Company is focused on developing a human hepatic cell-based treatment targeting acute forms of liver failure. Its product candidate, the ELAD System, is an extracorporeal human allogeneic cellular liver therapy designed to allow the patient’s liver to regenerate to a healthy state, or to stabilize the patient until transplant. The ELAD System is a liver support system containing immortal human liver-derived cells, or VTL C3A cells. The Company initiated a Phase III clinical trial in severe acute alcoholic hepatitis (sAAH), referred to as VTL-308. Its VTL-308 is a randomized, open-label, multicenter, controlled, pivotal study, designed to evaluate the ELAD System in subjects with sAAH. It is based on pre-specified and post-hoc analyses of its VTI-208 phase III clinical trial in alcohol-induced liver decompensation (AILD). The Company’s ELAD System consists of approximately four disposable ELAD C3A cell cartridges.

Stemline Therapeutics Company Profile

Stemline Therapeutics, Inc. is a clinical-stage biopharmaceutical company focused on discovering, acquiring, developing and commercializing oncology therapeutics. The Company is developing approximately three clinical stage product candidates, including SL-401, SL-701 and SL-801. SL-401 is a targeted therapy directed to the interleukin-3 receptor (IL-3R) (CD123), present on a range of hematologic cancers. SL-401 consists of IL-3 recombinantly fused to a truncated diphtheria toxin payload. SL-701 is an immunotherapy designed to activate the immune system to attack tumors. SL-701 comprises various short synthetic peptides that correspond to epitopes of targets, including IL-13 receptor subunit alpha-2 (IL-13Ra2), ephrin type-A receptor 2 (EphA2) and survivin, present on brain cancer. SL-801 is an oral, small molecule that reversibly inhibits Exportin-1 (XPO1), also known as Chromosome Region Maintenance-1 (CRM-1), a nuclear transport protein.

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