Ligand Pharmaceuticals (LGND) Cut to Hold at Zacks Investment Research

Zacks Investment Research downgraded shares of Ligand Pharmaceuticals (NASDAQ:LGND) from a buy rating to a hold rating in a research report sent to investors on Thursday.

According to Zacks, “Ligand reported better-than-expected results in the third quarter of 2017 with both earnings and revenues beating estimates. The company’s Captisol formulation technology has resulted in partnerships with several leading drug companies like Novartis and Amgen that provide it with funds in the form of milestone and royalty payments. Also, with regard to Ligand’s internal pipeline, there are several candidates in development that could bring in future licensing opportunities. Additionally, the company’s entry into the Medical Devices Segment with the acquisition of multiple programs owned by CorMatrix is encouraging. Shares of Ligand have outperformed the broader industry this year so far. However, the company derives a substantial portion of its revenues from royalties associated with the sales of Promacta and Kyprolis. Any setback related to either of these two products could leave a substantial impact.”

LGND has been the topic of several other research reports. Stephens reiterated an overweight rating and set a $137.00 target price (up previously from $125.00) on shares of Ligand Pharmaceuticals in a report on Wednesday, August 9th. Craig Hallum restated a buy rating and issued a $170.00 price objective (up previously from $160.00) on shares of Ligand Pharmaceuticals in a research note on Wednesday, November 15th. Deutsche Bank upped their price objective on Ligand Pharmaceuticals from $103.00 to $104.00 and gave the company a hold rating in a research note on Tuesday, August 8th. HC Wainwright set a $157.00 price objective on Ligand Pharmaceuticals and gave the company a buy rating in a research note on Tuesday, October 24th. Finally, ValuEngine upgraded Ligand Pharmaceuticals from a sell rating to a hold rating in a research note on Thursday, August 10th. One research analyst has rated the stock with a sell rating, three have assigned a hold rating and four have given a buy rating to the company. The company has a consensus rating of Hold and an average target price of $149.67.

Ligand Pharmaceuticals (NASDAQ LGND) traded down $1.28 on Thursday, reaching $130.57. The company had a trading volume of 171,357 shares, compared to its average volume of 264,492. Ligand Pharmaceuticals has a fifty-two week low of $95.08 and a fifty-two week high of $149.31. The company has a market capitalization of $2,755.68, a price-to-earnings ratio of 98.17, a PEG ratio of 2.01 and a beta of 0.92. The company has a quick ratio of 0.95, a current ratio of 0.97 and a debt-to-equity ratio of 0.05.

Ligand Pharmaceuticals (NASDAQ:LGND) last released its earnings results on Thursday, November 9th. The biotechnology company reported $0.69 earnings per share (EPS) for the quarter, topping the consensus estimate of $0.37 by $0.32. Ligand Pharmaceuticals had a return on equity of 7.83% and a net margin of 12.76%. The business had revenue of $33.38 million for the quarter, compared to analyst estimates of $31.04 million. During the same quarter in the prior year, the company posted $0.62 earnings per share. Ligand Pharmaceuticals’s revenue was up 54.4% on a year-over-year basis. equities research analysts anticipate that Ligand Pharmaceuticals will post 2.37 earnings per share for the current year.

In other news, VP Matthew E. Korenberg sold 6,559 shares of the company’s stock in a transaction that occurred on Friday, November 17th. The stock was sold at an average price of $142.63, for a total value of $935,510.17. Following the transaction, the vice president now owns 8,147 shares of the company’s stock, valued at $1,162,006.61. The transaction was disclosed in a document filed with the Securities & Exchange Commission, which is available through the SEC website. Also, CEO John L. Higgins sold 5,000 shares of the company’s stock in a transaction that occurred on Tuesday, September 5th. The shares were sold at an average price of $130.00, for a total value of $650,000.00. Following the completion of the transaction, the chief executive officer now directly owns 144,171 shares in the company, valued at approximately $18,742,230. The disclosure for this sale can be found here. Insiders sold 21,828 shares of company stock worth $3,045,051 in the last 90 days. Corporate insiders own 8.30% of the company’s stock.

Institutional investors have recently bought and sold shares of the company. Strs Ohio grew its position in shares of Ligand Pharmaceuticals by 225.0% in the second quarter. Strs Ohio now owns 1,300 shares of the biotechnology company’s stock valued at $157,000 after purchasing an additional 900 shares during the last quarter. First Mercantile Trust Co. grew its position in shares of Ligand Pharmaceuticals by 1.6% in the second quarter. First Mercantile Trust Co. now owns 1,310 shares of the biotechnology company’s stock valued at $159,000 after purchasing an additional 20 shares during the last quarter. Teacher Retirement System of Texas acquired a new position in shares of Ligand Pharmaceuticals in the second quarter valued at approximately $203,000. Harbor Advisors LLC acquired a new position in shares of Ligand Pharmaceuticals in the third quarter valued at approximately $204,000. Finally, Round Table Services LLC acquired a new position in shares of Ligand Pharmaceuticals in the third quarter valued at approximately $205,000.

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About Ligand Pharmaceuticals

Ligand Pharmaceuticals Incorporated (Ligand) is a biopharmaceutical company that focuses on developing and acquiring technologies that help pharmaceutical companies discover and develop medicines. The Company is involved in the development and licensing of biopharmaceutical assets. The Company employs research technologies, such as nuclear receptor assays, high throughput computer screening, formulation science, liver targeted pro-drug technologies and antibody discovery technologies to assist companies in their work toward obtaining prescription drug approvals.

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