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Will Agenus (AGEN) Disappoint Investors This Earnings Season?

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Agenus Inc. AGEN is expected to report first-quarter 2018 on May 3.
In the last reported quarter, the company reported a negative earnings surprise of 25%. In the last four quarters the company delivered an average positive earnings surprise of 7.44%.

Notably, Agenus’ shares have outperformed the industry over a year. The stock has rallied 10.4%, as against the industry’s fall of 8.9%.

Let’s see how things are shaping up for the company this quarter.

Factors at Play

Agenus’ collaboration agreements with several companies, not only help it to procure funds in the form of upfront and milestone payments and future royalties but also validate its proprietary product platform. Agenus has collaborated with Merck MRK and Incyte to discover and develop multiple checkpoint antibodies. 

Under the Incyte collaboration, Agenus is evaluating the latter’s anti-GITR checkpoint antibody — INCAGN1876 — in a phase I/II study, its anti-OX40 agonist antibody — INCAGN1949 — in a phase I/II study and its anti-CTLA-4 antibody — AGEN1884 — in a phase II study. All three candidates are being evaluated for the treatment of solid tumors. In January 2018, the company announced the launch of its combination phase I/II study with AGEN1884 and anti-PD1 (AGEN2034) antibodies. 

Agenus has no approved product in its portfolio. With only a few candidates in mid-stages of development, including Prophage Series vaccine, the company is still a few years away from bringing a product to market. Any hiccup in the development process of these candidates may weigh on the stock.

In October 2017, Agenus established a separate business entity to advance its cell therapy program which is designed to be self-funded. The cell therapy company, AgenTus, will focus on the discovery, development, and commercialization of breakthrough “living drugs” to advance cures for cancer patients. The company took this decision to form smaller teams that can entirely focus on getting the products approved. The company expects the combined value of the separate companies to exceed the perceived value under one roof.

In the first quarter the company will focus on its pipeline candidates and provide updates on them.

What Our Model Indicates

Our proven model does not show an earnings beat for Agenus this quarter. This is because a stock needs to have both — a positive Earnings ESPand a Zacks Rank #1 (Strong Buy), 2 (Buy) or 3 (Hold) — for this to happen. However, that is not the case here as you will see below.

Zacks ESP: Agenus has an Earnings ESP of 0.00%. This is because both the Most Accurate estimate and the Zacks Consensus Estimate are pegged at a loss of 28 cents. You can uncover the best stocks to buy or sell before they’re reported with our Earnings ESP Filter.

Zacks Rank: Agenus has a Zacks Rank #4 (Sell), which decreases the predictive power of ESP. Note that we caution against stocks with a Zacks Rank #4 or 5 (Strong Sell) going into an earnings announcement.

 Stocks That Warrant a Look

Here are some biotech stocks that you may want to consider, as our model shows that these have the right combination of elements to post an earnings beat this quarter.

Pfizer Inc. PFE is scheduled to release quarterly results on May 1. The company has an Earnings ESP of +1.36% and a Zacks Rank #2. You can see the complete list of today’s Zacks #1 Rank (Strong Buy) stocks here.

Gilead Sciences, Inc. GILD is scheduled to release quarterly results on May 1. The company has an Earnings ESP of +0.32% and a Zacks Rank #2.


Agenus Inc. Price and EPS Surprise


Agenus Inc. Price and EPS Surprise | Agenus Inc. Quote

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