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Agenus' Stock Up 23% on Immuno-Oncology Deal With Gilead

Zacks Equity Research

Shares of Agenus Inc. AGEN soared 23.4% after it inked a collaboration agreement with Gilead Sciences, Inc. GILD to develop and commercialize up to five immuno-oncology (I-O) therapies. However, year to date, shares of Agenus have decreased 23.9% compared with the industry’s decline of 25.7%.

 

Per the agreement, Agenus will get an upfront $120-million cash payment and a $30-million equity investment. The company is also eligible for about $1.7 billion in potential future fees and milestones.

Gilead will receive worldwide exclusive rights to AGEN1423, which has an estimated investigational new drug (IND) filing by 2018 end. Gilead will also receive the exclusive option to license two additional programs: AGEN1223 (IND has been filed for it by Agenus) and AGEN2373 (IND filing is planned for the first half of 2019).

Agenus will look after development of the option programs up to the point when Gilead decides to acquire exclusive rights to the programs. For one of the option programs, Agenus will have the rights to opt for shared development and commercialization in the United States. Gilead will also receive right of first negotiation for two additional, undisclosed preclinical programs.  

For Agenus, the collaboration will enable it to advance its growing pipeline. Agenus will have 6 INDs filed by the end of 2018, and 13 INDs by the first half of 2019. With this deal, Agenus will receive a much-needed infusion of cash. Gilead’s global presence and commitment to disruptive therapies will enable Agenus to build a broad pipeline in I-O.

Agenus Inc. Price

Agenus Inc. Price | Agenus Inc. Quote

Zacks Rank and Stocks to Consider

Agenus currently carries a Zacks Rank #3 (Hold).

Some better-ranked stocks worth considering are Alexion Pharmaceuticals Inc. ALXN and Anika Therapeutics Ltd. ANIK. Both the companies sport a Zacks Rank #1 (Strong Buy). You can see the complete list of today’s Zacks #1 Rank stocks here.

Alexion’s earnings per share estimates have increased from $7.23 to $7.61 for 2018 and from 8.59 to $8.77 for 2019 over the past 60 days. The company delivered a positive earnings surprise in all the trailing four quarters, with average of 16.77%.

Anika’s earnings per share estimates have increased from 95 cents to $1.11 for 2018 and $1.49 to $1.60 for 2019 over the past 60 days. The company delivered a positive earnings surprise in two of the trailing four quarters, with average of 31.76%.

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