Cerus (CERS) Lowered to “Hold” at Zacks Investment Research

Zacks Investment Research cut shares of Cerus (NASDAQ:CERS) from a buy rating to a hold rating in a research report sent to investors on Friday morning.

According to Zacks, “Cerus Corporation is developing medical products based on a platform technology that prevents nucleic acid replication. The company’s initial application of this technology is the development of systems to inactivate viruses, bacteria and other pathogens in blood components used for transfusion. The company is also focusing research and development efforts on other potential health care applications for this platform technology, including pathogen inactivation of source plasma used for fractionation, improving the outcomes of stem cell transplantation. “

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CERS has been the subject of a number of other reports. Cantor Fitzgerald restated a buy rating and issued a $5.00 price target on shares of Cerus in a research report on Tuesday, January 23rd. BTIG Research restated a hold rating on shares of Cerus in a research report on Thursday, January 25th. BidaskClub downgraded Cerus from a sell rating to a strong sell rating in a research report on Friday, December 29th. Finally, ValuEngine upgraded Cerus from a strong sell rating to a sell rating in a research report on Thursday, January 4th. Three equities research analysts have rated the stock with a hold rating, three have given a buy rating and one has issued a strong buy rating to the company’s stock. Cerus presently has a consensus rating of Buy and an average price target of $5.35.

NASDAQ CERS opened at $5.35 on Friday. The company has a quick ratio of 3.26, a current ratio of 3.89 and a debt-to-equity ratio of 0.77. The company has a market cap of $697.23, a PE ratio of -9.55 and a beta of 1.73. Cerus has a one year low of $1.93 and a one year high of $5.85.

Cerus (NASDAQ:CERS) last posted its earnings results on Thursday, March 8th. The biotechnology company reported ($0.10) EPS for the quarter, beating analysts’ consensus estimates of ($0.11) by $0.01. The firm had revenue of $16.20 million during the quarter, compared to the consensus estimate of $17.53 million. Cerus had a negative return on equity of 154.46% and a negative net margin of 139.06%. The company’s quarterly revenue was up 60.4% compared to the same quarter last year. During the same period in the prior year, the company earned ($0.13) EPS. sell-side analysts expect that Cerus will post -0.45 EPS for the current year.

In other Cerus news, insider Laurence M. Corash bought 150,011 shares of Cerus stock in a transaction on Thursday, March 15th. The shares were acquired at an average price of $5.15 per share, for a total transaction of $772,556.65. Following the completion of the purchase, the insider now directly owns 1,462,580 shares in the company, valued at approximately $7,532,287. The acquisition was disclosed in a legal filing with the SEC, which can be accessed through this link. Also, CEO William Mariner Greenman sold 7,735 shares of the stock in a transaction on Monday, March 12th. The stock was sold at an average price of $4.80, for a total value of $37,128.00. The disclosure for this sale can be found here. Over the last 90 days, insiders sold 14,381 shares of company stock valued at $69,685. 7.40% of the stock is owned by corporate insiders.

A number of hedge funds have recently added to or reduced their stakes in CERS. Teacher Retirement System of Texas purchased a new stake in Cerus in the fourth quarter worth $126,000. MetLife Investment Advisors LLC purchased a new stake in Cerus in the fourth quarter worth $197,000. Two Sigma Investments LP purchased a new stake in Cerus in the fourth quarter worth $249,000. Baird Financial Group Inc. increased its stake in Cerus by 17.6% in the fourth quarter. Baird Financial Group Inc. now owns 120,512 shares of the biotechnology company’s stock worth $407,000 after purchasing an additional 18,000 shares during the period. Finally, California State Teachers Retirement System increased its stake in Cerus by 9.2% in the fourth quarter. California State Teachers Retirement System now owns 178,503 shares of the biotechnology company’s stock worth $603,000 after purchasing an additional 15,005 shares during the period. Institutional investors and hedge funds own 51.93% of the company’s stock.

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About Cerus

Cerus Corporation, a biomedical products company, focuses on developing and commercializing the INTERCEPT Blood System to enhance blood safety. Its INTERCEPT Blood System is based on its proprietary technology for controlling biological replication; and targets and inactivates blood-borne pathogens, such as viruses, bacteria, and parasites, as well as harmful white blood cells, while preserving the therapeutic properties of platelet, plasma, and red blood cell transfusion products.

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