Lantheus Holdings (NASDAQ: LNTH) and NanoString Technologies (NASDAQ:NSTG) are both small-cap medical companies, but which is the better business? We will contrast the two businesses based on the strength of their institutional ownership, valuation, analyst recommendations, profitability, dividends, earnings and risk.

Profitability

This table compares Lantheus Holdings and NanoString Technologies’ net margins, return on equity and return on assets.

Net Margins Return on Equity Return on Assets
Lantheus Holdings 8.44% -37.47% 15.16%
NanoString Technologies -44.28% -329.59% -36.94%

Risk and Volatility

Lantheus Holdings has a beta of 0.91, suggesting that its share price is 9% less volatile than the S&P 500. Comparatively, NanoString Technologies has a beta of 1.07, suggesting that its share price is 7% more volatile than the S&P 500.

Institutional and Insider Ownership

84.4% of Lantheus Holdings shares are held by institutional investors. Comparatively, 93.0% of NanoString Technologies shares are held by institutional investors. 2.3% of Lantheus Holdings shares are held by company insiders. Comparatively, 24.4% of NanoString Technologies shares are held by company insiders. Strong institutional ownership is an indication that endowments, hedge funds and large money managers believe a stock is poised for long-term growth.

Analyst Recommendations

This is a breakdown of recent ratings and recommmendations for Lantheus Holdings and NanoString Technologies, as provided by MarketBeat.com.

Sell Ratings Hold Ratings Buy Ratings Strong Buy Ratings Rating Score
Lantheus Holdings 0 1 3 0 2.75
NanoString Technologies 0 1 1 0 2.50

Lantheus Holdings currently has a consensus target price of $18.75, indicating a potential upside of 10.95%. NanoString Technologies has a consensus target price of $20.00, indicating a potential upside of 32.28%. Given NanoString Technologies’ higher probable upside, analysts clearly believe NanoString Technologies is more favorable than Lantheus Holdings.

Valuation & Earnings

This table compares Lantheus Holdings and NanoString Technologies’ top-line revenue, earnings per share (EPS) and valuation.

Gross Revenue Price/Sales Ratio EBITDA Earnings Per Share Price/Earnings Ratio
Lantheus Holdings $317.61 million 1.99 $75.23 million $0.72 23.47
NanoString Technologies $101.82 million 3.74 -$35.93 million ($2.13) -7.10

Lantheus Holdings has higher revenue and earnings than NanoString Technologies. NanoString Technologies is trading at a lower price-to-earnings ratio than Lantheus Holdings, indicating that it is currently the more affordable of the two stocks.

Summary

Lantheus Holdings beats NanoString Technologies on 8 of the 13 factors compared between the two stocks.

Lantheus Holdings Company Profile

Lantheus Holdings, Inc. is engaged in the development, manufacture and commercialization of diagnostic medical imaging agents and products that assist clinicians in the diagnosis and treatment of cardiovascular and other diseases. Its imaging agents and products are used across a range of imaging modalities, including echocardiography and nuclear imaging. It operates in two segments: U.S. Segment and International Segment. The U.S. Segment produces and markets its medical imaging agents and products throughout the United States. In the United States, it sells its products to radiopharmacies, integrated delivery networks, hospitals, clinics and group practices. The International Segment operations consist of production and distribution activities in Puerto Rico and direct distribution activities in Canada. Its portfolio of nine commercial products is diversified across a range of imaging modalities. Its products include an ultrasound contrast agent and medical radiopharmaceuticals.

NanoString Technologies Company Profile

NanoString Technologies, Inc. develops, manufactures and sells intuitive products that unlock scientifically valuable and clinically actionable biologic information from minute amounts of tissue. The Company is engaged in the development, manufacture and commercialization of instruments, consumables and services for profiling the activity of hundreds of genes and proteins simultaneously from a single tissue sample. The Company’s nCounter Analysis System is an automated, multi-application, digital detection and counting system, which directly profiles hundreds of molecules simultaneously using a barcoding technology. The Company markets systems and related consumables to researchers in academic, government and biopharmaceutical laboratories for use in understanding fundamental biology and the molecular basis of diseases, such as cancer, and to clinical laboratories and medical centers for diagnostic use.

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