Agenus (AGEN) Stock Higher Following Coverage Initiation

NEW YORK (TheStreet) -- Shares of Agenus (AGEN) are soaring 5.2% to $9.38 in Thursday's morning trading session after analysts at Oppenheimer initiated coverage of the company with an "outperform" rating and a price target of $14.

Agenus is an immunotherapy company that engages in discovering and developing treatments for patients with cancer and other diseases.

This action comes after the company announced last week that Merck & Co. (MRK) has extended its collaborative research term for the discovery and development of therapeutic antibodies to Merck proprietary immune checkpoints for the treatment of cancer.     

"Uniquely, the company has an in-house toolkit of immuno-oncology checkpoint antibodies, anti-tumor vaccines and vaccine adjuvants," analysts said.

The firm added that the company has valuable partnerships with Incyte (INCY) and Merck offering potential access to IDO-inhibitors, anti-PD1 and other therapeutics molecules that may augment its full-spectrum immuno-oncology program.

Separately, TheStreet Ratings team rates AGENUS INC as a Sell with a ratings score of D. TheStreet Ratings Team has this to say about their recommendation:

"We rate AGENUS INC (AGEN) a SELL. This is driven by a number of negative factors, which we believe should have a greater impact than any strengths, and could make it more difficult for investors to achieve positive results compared to most of the stocks we cover. The company's weaknesses can be seen in multiple areas, such as its deteriorating net income, disappointing return on equity and feeble growth in its earnings per share."

Highlights from the analysis by TheStreet Ratings Team goes as follows:

  • The company, on the basis of change in net income from the same quarter one year ago, has significantly underperformed when compared to that of the S&P 500 and the Biotechnology industry. The net income has significantly decreased by 2842.2% when compared to the same quarter one year ago, falling from -$0.64 million to -$18.74 million.
  • Return on equity has greatly decreased when compared to its ROE from the same quarter one year prior. This is a signal of major weakness within the corporation. Compared to other companies in the Biotechnology industry and the overall market, AGENUS INC's return on equity significantly trails that of both the industry average and the S&P 500.
  • AGENUS INC has experienced a steep decline in earnings per share in the most recent quarter in comparison to its performance from the same quarter a year ago. This company has reported somewhat volatile earnings recently. We feel it is likely to report a decline in earnings in the coming year. During the past fiscal year, AGENUS INC continued to lose money by earning -$0.67 versus -$1.15 in the prior year. For the next year, the market is expecting a contraction of 20.9% in earnings (-$0.81 versus -$0.67).
  • Net operating cash flow has significantly increased by 132.54% to $3.30 million when compared to the same quarter last year. Despite an increase in cash flow, AGENUS INC's cash flow growth rate is still lower than the industry average growth rate of 152.56%.
  • AGEN's debt-to-equity ratio is very low at 0.25 and is currently below that of the industry average, implying that there has been very successful management of debt levels. Along with this, the company maintains a quick ratio of 3.90, which clearly demonstrates the ability to cover short-term cash needs.
  • You can view the full analysis from the report here: AGEN Ratings Report

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