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Agenus' (AGEN) Q1 Loss Wider than Expected, Shares Down

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Agenus Inc. AGEN reported first-quarter 2018 adjusted  loss of 42 cents per share (excluding loss on early extinguishment of debt of 11 cents per share), wider than both the Zacks Consensus Estimate of a loss of 28 cents and the year-ago loss of 18 cents. The higher net loss was due to several one-time items as well as non-cash charges.

The company did not generate any revenues in the quarter. The Zacks Consensus Estimate was $16 million. However, the company reported revenues of $27 million in the prior-year period.

Shares of the company fell about 9.8% following the earnings release. So far this year, shares of Agenus have gained 1.8% as against the industry’s decline of 11.9%.

Quarterly Highlights

Agenus’ first-quarter research and development (R&D) expenses declined 9.8% to $29.4 million. General and administrative expenses decreased by 8.1% to $10.7 million.

Pipeline Update

Agenus is progressing well with various pipeline candidates. During the quarter under review, the company launched combination trials of CTLA-4 antibody, AGEN1884 and PD-1 targeting antibody AGEN2034 including trials in second line cervical cancer.

The company has shifted its strategy for first approval from first line non-small cell lung cancerto second line cervical cancer. The reasons for the strategy shift includes increasingly crowded lung cancer opportunities and Merck’s MRK recent data with Keytruda in combination with chemotherapy in first-line non-small cell lung cancer, which has set the bar higher for any future approvals.

The company remainson track to file six investigational new drugs (INDs) in 2018 and an additional two INDs in the first half of 2019. Amongst that, is the company’s next gen CTLA-4, designed to deplete cancer-prone Tregs and improve T-cell priming. 

 Zacks Rank & Stocks to Consider

Agenus has a Zacks Rank #3 (Hold).

A few better-ranked stocks from the same space worth considering are Ligand Pharmaceuticals LGND and Protagonist Therapeutics PTGX both sporting a Zacks Rank #1 (Strong Buy). You can see the complete list of today’s Zacks #1 Rank stocks here.

Ligand’s earnings per share estimates have moved up from $4.24 to $4.43 for 2018 over the last 60 days. The company delivered a positive earnings surprise in three of the trailing four quarters, with an average beat of 24.88%. The company’s shares have rallied 15% year to date.

Protagonist’s loss estimates narrowed from $1.30 to 66 cents for 2018 and from $1.99 to $1.26 for 2019, over the last 60 days. The company delivered a positive earnings surprise in three of the trailing four quarters, with an average beat of 24.95%.

Agenus Inc. Price, Consensus and EPS Surprise

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

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