Critical Comparison: Acceleron Pharma (XLRN) & AveXis (AVXS)

Acceleron Pharma (NASDAQ:XLRN) and AveXis (NASDAQ:AVXS) are both mid-cap medical companies, but which is the superior stock? We will contrast the two businesses based on the strength of their dividends, risk, institutional ownership, earnings, profitability, valuation and analyst recommendations.

Analyst Ratings

This is a breakdown of current ratings and price targets for Acceleron Pharma and AveXis, as reported by MarketBeat.com.

Sell Ratings Hold Ratings Buy Ratings Strong Buy Ratings Rating Score
Acceleron Pharma 0 5 8 0 2.62
AveXis 0 12 4 0 2.25

Acceleron Pharma presently has a consensus price target of $56.30, suggesting a potential upside of 5.95%. AveXis has a consensus price target of $136.07, suggesting a potential downside of 37.53%. Given Acceleron Pharma’s stronger consensus rating and higher possible upside, analysts clearly believe Acceleron Pharma is more favorable than AveXis.

Institutional and Insider Ownership

88.7% of Acceleron Pharma shares are owned by institutional investors. Comparatively, 84.1% of AveXis shares are owned by institutional investors. 3.0% of Acceleron Pharma shares are owned by company insiders. Comparatively, 18.6% of AveXis shares are owned by company insiders. Strong institutional ownership is an indication that endowments, large money managers and hedge funds believe a company is poised for long-term growth.

Profitability

This table compares Acceleron Pharma and AveXis’ net margins, return on equity and return on assets.

Net Margins Return on Equity Return on Assets
Acceleron Pharma -795.94% -30.78% -29.10%
AveXis N/A -93.95% -83.75%

Valuation and Earnings

This table compares Acceleron Pharma and AveXis’ top-line revenue, earnings per share (EPS) and valuation.

Gross Revenue Price/Sales Ratio Net Income Earnings Per Share Price/Earnings Ratio
Acceleron Pharma $13.48 million 181.34 -$108.45 million ($2.68) -19.83
AveXis N/A N/A -$218.05 million ($7.28) -29.92

Acceleron Pharma has higher revenue and earnings than AveXis. AveXis is trading at a lower price-to-earnings ratio than Acceleron Pharma, indicating that it is currently the more affordable of the two stocks.

Volatility and Risk

Acceleron Pharma has a beta of 1.38, indicating that its stock price is 38% more volatile than the S&P 500. Comparatively, AveXis has a beta of 1.55, indicating that its stock price is 55% more volatile than the S&P 500.

Summary

Acceleron Pharma beats AveXis on 10 of the 13 factors compared between the two stocks.

Acceleron Pharma Company Profile

Acceleron Pharma Inc., a clinical stage biopharmaceutical company, focuses on the discovery, development, and commercialization of therapeutics to treat serious and rare diseases. Its therapeutic candidates include luspatercept, which is in Phase III clinical trials for the treatment of myelodysplastic syndromes and beta-thalassemia; Phase II clinical trials for the treatment of patients with transfusion-dependent beta-thalassemia and myelofibrosis. The company is also developing and sotatercept for the treatment of patients with pulmonary arterial hypertension. In addition, the company is developing ACE-083, a neuromuscular candidate that is in Phase II clinical trials for the treatment of patients with facioscapulohumeral dystrophy and Charcot-Marie-Tooth disease; and ACE-2494, which is in Phase I clinical trials for the treatment of systemic muscle disorders. It has a collaboration, license, and option agreement with Celgene Corporation. The company was formerly known as Phoenix Pharma, Inc. Acceleron Pharma Inc. was founded in 2003 and is headquartered in Cambridge, Massachusetts.

AveXis Company Profile

AveXis, Inc., a clinical-stage gene therapy company, engages in developing and commercializing treatments for patients suffering from rare and life-threatening neurological genetic diseases. Its initial product candidate is AVXS-101, a gene therapy product candidate that has completed Phase I clinical trial for the treatment of spinal muscular atrophy Type 1. The company also intends to identify, acquire, develop, and commercialize gene therapy product candidates for the treatment of other rare and life-threatening neurological genetic diseases. It has strategic collaboration and license agreements with Nationwide Children's Hospital; The Research Institute at Nationwide Children's Hospital; REGENXBIO Inc.; and Asklepios Biopharmaceutical, Inc. The company was formerly known as BioLife Cell Bank, Inc. and changed its name to AveXis, Inc. in January 2014. AveXis, Inc. was founded in 2010 and is headquartered in Bannockburn, Illinois.

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