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Agenus' (AGEN) Q1 Loss Wider than Expected, Revenue Miss

Agenus Inc. AGEN reported first-quarter 2016 loss of 37 cents per share, wider than the Zacks Consensus Estimate of a loss of 23 cents and the year-ago loss of 28 cents.

Revenues surged 50.7% year over year to almost $6 million. Revenues, however, failed to beat the Zacks Consensus Estimate of $7 million.

Quarter in Detail

Agenus’ first-quarter research and development (R&D) expenses surged 171.6% to $25 million. Likewise, general and administrative expenses shot up 68.3% to $9.2 million.

Pipeline Update

Agenus is progressing with the development of its Prophage vaccine, which is scheduled to enter phase III study for newly-diagnosed glioblastoma in 2016. The company also plans to evaluate Prophage in combination with other approved and/or experimental immunotherapeutic agents.

Agenus received a major boost when the FDA cleared its Investigational New Drug (IND) application for AGEN1884 and INCAGN01876. A phase I study on AGEN1884 has been initiated to treat solid tumors.

Meanwhile, Agenus’ partner GlaxoSmithKline’s GSK intends to submit regulatory application for its shingles vaccine candidate, Shingrix, which contains Agenus’ QS-21 Stimulon adjuvant, in the second half of 2016.

In addition, the company expects to initiate a phase I study on experimental vaccine, AutoSynVax, in 2016.

Our Take

Agenus first-quarter results were disappointing with the company reporting a wider-than-expected loss and missing bottom-line estimates. However, we are encouraged by the company’s efforts to develop its pipeline and expect investor focus on further updates from the company regarding Prophage and other programs.

Agenus currently carries a Zacks Rank #4 (Sell). A couple of better-ranked stocks in the health care sector are Aegerion Pharmaceuticals, Inc. AEGR and Emergent BioSolutions, Inc. EBS, both sporting a Zacks Rank #1 (Strong Buy).

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