Head to Head Analysis: DURECT Corporation (DRRX) and Calithera Biosciences (CALA)

DURECT Corporation (NASDAQ: DRRX) and Calithera Biosciences (NASDAQ:CALA) are both small-cap medical companies, but which is the better investment? We will compare the two companies based on the strength of their earnings, institutional ownership, analyst recommendations, risk, valuation, dividends and profitability.


This table compares DURECT Corporation and Calithera Biosciences’ net margins, return on equity and return on assets.

Net Margins Return on Equity Return on Assets
DURECT Corporation -221.01% -629.35% -85.43%
Calithera Biosciences N/A -26.72% -20.91%

Analyst Ratings

This is a breakdown of recent ratings for DURECT Corporation and Calithera Biosciences, as provided by MarketBeat.

Sell Ratings Hold Ratings Buy Ratings Strong Buy Ratings Rating Score
DURECT Corporation 0 0 2 0 3.00
Calithera Biosciences 0 1 5 0 2.83

DURECT Corporation presently has a consensus price target of $3.00, suggesting a potential upside of 47.06%. Calithera Biosciences has a consensus price target of $14.40, suggesting a potential downside of 18.41%. Given DURECT Corporation’s stronger consensus rating and higher possible upside, analysts clearly believe DURECT Corporation is more favorable than Calithera Biosciences.

Earnings & Valuation

This table compares DURECT Corporation and Calithera Biosciences’ top-line revenue, earnings per share and valuation.

Gross Revenue Price/Sales Ratio EBITDA Earnings Per Share Price/Earnings Ratio
DURECT Corporation $16.15 million 18.57 -$33.04 million ($0.25) -8.16
Calithera Biosciences $11.45 million 54.69 -$29.12 million ($1.26) -14.01

Calithera Biosciences has higher revenue, but lower earnings than DURECT Corporation. Calithera Biosciences is trading at a lower price-to-earnings ratio than DURECT Corporation, indicating that it is currently the more affordable of the two stocks.

Volatility and Risk

DURECT Corporation has a beta of 1.79, meaning that its share price is 79% more volatile than the S&P 500. Comparatively, Calithera Biosciences has a beta of 3.26, meaning that its share price is 226% more volatile than the S&P 500.

Insider & Institutional Ownership

45.8% of DURECT Corporation shares are owned by institutional investors. Comparatively, 71.9% of Calithera Biosciences shares are owned by institutional investors. 10.3% of DURECT Corporation shares are owned by company insiders. Comparatively, 16.3% of Calithera Biosciences shares are owned by company insiders. Strong institutional ownership is an indication that hedge funds, endowments and large money managers believe a company is poised for long-term growth.


Calithera Biosciences beats DURECT Corporation on 9 of the 13 factors compared between the two stocks.

About DURECT Corporation

Durect Corporation is a biopharmaceutical company with research and development programs. The Company’s products candidates include DUR-928, oral for metabolic/lipid disorders, and DUR-928, injectable for acute organ injuries. Its other product candidates include POSIMIR (controlled release injection of bupivacaine), REMOXY (oral controlled release oxycodone), ORADUR-ADHD, ELADUR (controlled release injection of bupivicane), Relday (risperidone), ORADUR-based opioid (hydromorphone) and SABER-based ophthalmic. The Company’s ALZET product line consists of miniature, implantable osmotic pumps and accessories used for experimental research in mice, rats and other laboratory animals. The Company also manufactures and sells osmotic pumps used in laboratory research and design; and develops and manufactures a range of standard and custom biodegradable polymers and excipients for pharmaceutical and medical device clients for use as raw materials in their products.

About Calithera Biosciences

Calithera Biosciences, Inc. is a clinical-stage pharmaceutical company. The Company focuses on discovering and developing small molecule drugs directed against tumor and immune cell targets that control key metabolic pathways in the tumor microenvironment. It is engaged in developing agents that take advantage of the metabolic requirements of tumor cells and cancer-fighting immune cells, such as cytotoxic T-cells. The Company’s lead product candidate, CB-839, is a critical enzyme in tumor cells. Its other product candidate, CB-1158, is being developed for hematology and oncology indications. CB-1158 is a potent and selective orally bioavailable inhibitor of the enzyme arginase. CB-839 is a selective, reversible and orally bioavailable inhibitor of human glutaminase. CB-1158 has single agent anti-tumor activity in syngeneic mouse tumor models that has been demonstrated to act through an immune mechanism. CB-1158 is being tested in a Phase I clinical trial in patients with solid tumors.

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