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Is a Beat in Store for Agenus (AGEN) This Earnings Season?

Zacks Equity Research

Agenus Inc. AGEN is expected to report third-quarter 2017 on Oct 26.
In the last reported quarter, the company delivered a positive earnings surprise of 11.11%, with a trailing four-quarter average of 4.27%.

Notably, Agenus’ shares have underperformed the industry year to date. The stock has been down 9.5%, as against the industry’s gain of 8.1%.

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

Earnings Whispers

Our proven model shows that Agenus is likely to beat earnings in this quarter as it has the right combination of two key ingredients — a positive Earnings ESP and a Zacks Rank #1 (Strong Buy), 2 (Buy) or 3 (Hold) — which have a significantly higher chance of beating earnings.

Zacks ESP: Agenus has an Earnings ESP of +8.11%. This is because the Most Accurate estimate of a loss of 34 cents comes in lower than the Zacks Consensus Estimate of a loss of 37 cents. You can uncover the best stocks to buy or sell before they’re reported with our Earnings ESP Filter.

Zacks Rank: Agenus’ Zacks Rank #2 when combined with a positive ESP makes us reasonably confident of an earnings beat.

Note that we caution against stocks with a Zacks Rank #4 or 5 (Sell rated) going into the earnings announcement.

Factors at Play

Agenus is an immuno-oncology company focused on the discovery and development of checkpoint modulators, vaccines and adjuvants for the treatment of cancer. It earns revenues only through fees received under collaboration and license agreements.

Currently, the company is evaluating AGEN1884 in a phase I study and INCAGN01876 in a phase I/II study, for the treatment of solid tumors. In fact, Agenus has initiated phase I study for anti-OX40 agonist antibody – INCAGN1949 – in a phase I/II study in collaboration with Incyte. It expects to begin combination studies on AGEN2034 and AGEN1884 in the second half of 2017.

In its third-quarter conference call, investors are likely to remain focused on the company’s update on the initiation of combination studies on these antibodies. They are expected to focus on the advancement of additional checkpoint modulator antibodies and vaccines into the clinic in the coming quarters.

In January 2017, Agenus entered into a clinical trial collaboration with the National Cancer Institute (NCI) to evaluate Prophage (HSPPC-96) in conjunction with Merck & Co., Inc.’s MRK PD-1 therapy, Keytruda. A phase II study will evaluate the effect of Prophage, in conjunction with Keytruda, on the overall survival rate of patients with newly diagnosed glioblastoma (ndGBM).

Agenus recently announced that the FDA granted marketing authorization to GlaxoSmithKline's herpes zoster vaccine, Shingrix, containing Agenus' proprietary immune adjuvant QS-21 Stimulon. Shingrix is indicated for prevention of herpes zoster (also known as shingles) in adults aged 50 years and older. This is a positive for Agenus and can impact its business. 


Agenus Inc. Price and EPS Surprise

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

Stocks That Warrant a Look

Here are some health care stocks that you may want to consider as our model shows that it has the right combination of elements to post an earnings beat this quarter.

Seattle Genetics, Inc. SGEN has an Earnings ESP of +5.74% and a Zacks Rank #3. The company is scheduled to release results on Oct 26. You can see the complete list of today’s Zacks #1 Rank stocks here.

Gilead Sciences, Inc. GILD has an Earnings ESP of +0.57% and a Zacks Rank #3. The company is scheduled to release results on Oct 26.

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