What's in Store for Agenus (AGEN) This Earnings Season?

Agenus Inc.AGEN is expected to report fourth-quarter 2017 on Mar 8.

In the last quarter, the company's earnings met estimates. In the last four quarters the company delivered an average positive earnings surprise of 15.99%.

Notably, Agenus' shares have outperformed the industry over a year. The stock has rallied 3.6%, as against the industry 's fall of 2.8%.

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 I study. All the 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.

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 October 2017, the FDA granted marketing authorization to GlaxoSmithKline's (GSK) 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. In the same month, Health Canada also granted marketing authorization to Shingrix. The approval in Canada marks the first approval for Shingrix and the first approval of a vaccine containing QS-21 Stimulon. This is a good news for Agenus and can impact its business positively as it has the potential to significantly increase the market share for Shingrix.

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

What Our Model Indicates

Our proven model does not conclusively show an earnings beat for Agenusthis quarter. This is because a stock needs to have both - a positive Earnings ESP and 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: Agenushas 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 #3, which increases the predictive power of ESP. However, we need to have a positive ESP to be confident about an earnings beat.

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

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 these have the right combination of elements to deliver an earnings beat this quarter.

Exelixis EXEL is scheduled to release fourth-quarter 2017 results on Feb 26, after the market closes . The company has an Earnings ESP of +8.94% and a Zacks Rank #2. You can see the complete list of today's Zacks #1 Rank stocks here .

Gemphire Therapeutics GEMP is expected to releasefourth-quarter 2017 results on Mar 21. The company has an Earnings ESP of +6.62% and a Zacks Rank #2.

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The views and opinions expressed herein are the views and opinions of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Nasdaq, Inc.

The views and opinions expressed herein are the views and opinions of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Nasdaq, Inc.

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