Editor's Note: TheStreet ratings do not represent the views of TheStreet's staff or its contributors. Ratings are established by computer based on metrics for performance (which includes growth, stock performance, efficiency and valuation) and risk (volatility and solvency). Companies with poor cash flow or high debt levels tend to earn lower ratings in our model





-- Astex Pharmaceuticals



) has been downgraded by TheStreet Ratings from buy to hold. The company's strengths can be seen in multiple areas, such as its robust revenue growth, largely solid financial position with reasonable debt levels by most measures and reasonable valuation levels. However, as a counter to these strengths, we also find weaknesses including disappointing return on equity, poor profit margins and weak operating cash flow.

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Highlights from the ratings report include:

  • ASTX's very impressive revenue growth greatly exceeded the industry average of 9.7%. Since the same quarter one year prior, revenues leaped by 70.4%. This growth in revenue does not appear to have trickled down to the company's bottom line, displaying stagnant earnings per share.
  • ASTX has no debt to speak of therefore resulting in a debt-to-equity ratio of zero, which we consider to be a relatively favorable sign. Along with this, the company maintains a quick ratio of 6.75, which clearly demonstrates the ability to cover short-term cash needs.
  • The gross profit margin for ASTEX PHARMACEUTICALS INC is currently extremely low, coming in at 6.40%. It has decreased from the same quarter the previous year. Along with this, the net profit margin of 6.20% significantly trails the industry average.
  • Net operating cash flow has significantly decreased to -$3.74 million or 554.99% when compared to the same quarter last year. In addition, when comparing to the industry average, the firm's growth rate is much lower.


Astex Pharmaceuticals, Inc. engages in the discovery and development of small molecule therapeutics with a focus on oncology and hematology. It develops small molecule therapeutics using its fragment-based drug discovery platform, Pyramid. The company has a P/E ratio of 131.5, above the average drugs industry P/E ratio of 87.7 and above the S&P 500 P/E ratio of 17.7. Astex has a market cap of $245.3 million and is part of the health care sector and drugs industry. Shares are up 39.2% year to date as of the close of trading on Friday.

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-- Written by a member of TheStreet Ratings Staff

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