Agenus Inc (NASDAQ:AGEN) saw its shares tumbling over 8% today, after H.C. Wainwright analyst Swayampakula Ramakanth downgraded the stock from Outperform to Neutral, while slashing the price target to $5.00 (from $10.00).
Ramakanth explained, “While we continue to believe that Agenus’ broad immunotherapy portfolio, which includes over a dozen CPM candidates as well as three cancer vaccine platforms, has great potential, we find it puzzling that management did not choose a product candidate targeting next generation checkpoint targets such as TIM-3 or CEACAM1, where the company could become a market leader, as the lead product.”
“We believe the focus on CTLA-4 and PD-1 significantly increases the risk of any future commercialization plans due to the presence of proven and well-established competitor products in the market. Furthermore, we believe there is a lack of clarity regarding the company’s cancer vaccine development programs with regards to potential targets, partners and timelines. Therefore, in our view the only expected near-term events for the company are the initiations of Phase 1 clinical studies, which we believe are unlikely to drive the stock price, and any significant clinical results are at least 12-18 months away,” the analyst continued.
Separately, yesterday, Maxim’s Jason McCarthy reiterated a Buy rating on the stock and has a price target of $7.00.
According to TipRanks.com, which ranks over 7,500 financial analysts and bloggers to gauge the performance of their past recommendations, Swayampakula Ramakanth and Jason McCarthy have a yearly average loss of 20.5% and 9.7% respectively. Ramakanth has a success rate of 26% and is ranked #4030 out of 4188 analysts, while McCarthy has a success rate of 27% and is ranked #3987.
Sentiment in the Street is still mostly bullish on AGEN stock. Out of 4 analysts who cover the stock, 3 suggest a Buy rating and one recommends to Hold the stock.
Agenus, Inc. is a biotechnology company, which is focused on the development and commercialization of technologies to treat cancers and infectious diseases, primarily based on immunological approaches. Its core technology portfolio consists of Saponin platform and Heat Shock Protein platform. The company within its Saponin Platform is QS-21 Stimulon adjuvant, or QS-21 Stimulon, which is used by its licensees in numerous vaccines under development in clinical trials, some as advanced as phase 3, for a variety of diseases, including cancer, shingles, malaria, Alzheimer’s disease, human immunodeficiency virus and tuberculosis. Agenus within its HSP Platform is developing its recombinant series and prophage series vaccines. The company’s HerpV, a therapeutic vaccine candidate from the recombinant series, which contains QS-21 Stimulon, has been tested in a phase 1 clinical trial for the treatment of genital herpes.