Zacks Investment Research lowered shares of Ligand Pharmaceuticals (NASDAQ:LGND) from a buy rating to a hold rating in a report issued on Thursday morning.

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.”

Several other brokerages also recently issued reports on LGND. HC Wainwright reaffirmed a buy rating and issued a $159.00 price target on shares of Ligand Pharmaceuticals in a report on Wednesday, November 22nd. Roth Capital reaffirmed a buy rating and issued a $158.00 price target (up previously from $135.00) on shares of Ligand Pharmaceuticals in a report on Wednesday, October 11th. TheStreet raised shares of Ligand Pharmaceuticals from a c rating to a b- rating in a research note on Monday, August 7th. Finally, Deutsche Bank downgraded shares of Ligand Pharmaceuticals from a hold rating to a sell rating and set a $105.00 price objective on the stock. in a research note on Monday, November 20th. One equities research analyst has rated the stock with a sell rating, three have issued a hold rating and four have given a buy rating to the stock. Ligand Pharmaceuticals has a consensus rating of Hold and an average target price of $149.67.

Shares of Ligand Pharmaceuticals (NASDAQ LGND) traded down $1.28 during midday trading on Thursday, hitting $130.57. 171,357 shares of the company’s stock traded hands, compared to its average volume of 248,799. Ligand Pharmaceuticals has a 12 month low of $95.08 and a 12 month high of $149.31. The stock has a market capitalization of $2,760.00, a P/E ratio of 98.21, a PEG ratio of 2.01 and a beta of 0.93. 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 announced its quarterly earnings results on Thursday, November 9th. The biotechnology company reported $0.69 earnings per share (EPS) for the quarter, beating the consensus estimate of $0.37 by $0.32. Ligand Pharmaceuticals had a net margin of 12.76% and a return on equity of 7.83%. The company had revenue of $33.38 million for the quarter, compared to the consensus estimate of $31.04 million. During the same quarter in the prior year, the firm earned $0.62 earnings per share. The company’s revenue for the quarter was up 54.4% compared to the same quarter last year. equities research analysts expect that Ligand Pharmaceuticals will post 2.37 earnings per share for the current fiscal year.

In related news, 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 transaction of $650,000.00. Following the transaction, the chief executive officer now owns 144,171 shares of the company’s stock, valued at $18,742,230. The sale was disclosed in a legal filing with the Securities & Exchange Commission, which is accessible through this link. Also, CEO John L. Higgins sold 5,269 shares of the company’s stock in a transaction that occurred on Thursday, November 16th. The shares were sold at an average price of $142.53, for a total transaction of $750,990.57. Following the transaction, the chief executive officer now directly owns 143,542 shares in the company, valued at approximately $20,459,041.26. The disclosure for this sale can be found here. Insiders have sold 21,828 shares of company stock worth $3,045,051 in the last three months. Insiders own 8.30% of the company’s stock.

Several institutional investors and hedge funds have recently made changes to their positions in LGND. Strs Ohio raised its stake in Ligand Pharmaceuticals by 225.0% during the second quarter. Strs Ohio now owns 1,300 shares of the biotechnology company’s stock worth $157,000 after purchasing an additional 900 shares during the period. First Mercantile Trust Co. raised its stake in Ligand Pharmaceuticals by 1.6% during the second quarter. First Mercantile Trust Co. now owns 1,310 shares of the biotechnology company’s stock worth $159,000 after purchasing an additional 20 shares during the period. Harbor Advisors LLC purchased a new position in Ligand Pharmaceuticals during the third quarter worth approximately $204,000. Round Table Services LLC purchased a new position in Ligand Pharmaceuticals during the third quarter worth approximately $205,000. Finally, Teacher Retirement System of Texas purchased a new position in Ligand Pharmaceuticals during the second quarter worth approximately $203,000.

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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.

Analyst Recommendations for Ligand Pharmaceuticals (NASDAQ:LGND)

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