Why Agenus was up on Tuesday

What happened

A rather choppy title even in the choppy world of biotech, Agenus (NASDAQ: AGEN) experienced a slight spike on Tuesday. By mid-afternoon, the company’s shares were up 7.5% on an encouraging earnings report.

So what

That morning, Agenus released its third quarter results. These have shown that treatment focused on immuno-oncology biotechnologies recorded just under $253 million in revenue, well up from $14.8 million in the same quarter last year. It also made a net profit — more specifically, $177.3 million ($0.72 per share), a dramatic improvement from the nearly $52 million the company lost in the third quarter of 2020.

Image source: Getty Images.

According to Zack’s, analysts’ average earnings estimate was nearly 40% lower. Meanwhile, those tipsters were anticipating net earnings of just $0.46 per share.

Agenus’ cash position also improved significantly over the one-year period. At the end of this third quarter, it held more than $261 million in cash, cash equivalents and short-term investments. A year ago, the figure was less than $100 million. The main driver of the increase was an upfront payment of $200 million the company received from Bristol Myers Squibb to dismiss his AGEN1777 antibody program.

Now what

Agenus was a company that definitely needed good news. In October, he incurred the ire of many investors when he withdrew the biologics license application he had filed for balstilimab for the treatment of second-line cervical cancer. Balstilimab is a cancer immunotherapy treatment that is prominent in the company’s pipeline.

Agenus will continue to develop balstilimab as part of combination therapies, but investors weren’t too happy with the setback. The company’s comfortable pace in the third quarter should restore some confidence in its current operations and future direction.

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Eric Volkman has no position in the stocks mentioned. The Motley Fool owns shares and recommends Bristol Myers Squibb. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy.

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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