Just when you thought the strategic creativity had run out for the company’s top tier, Ionis Pharmaceuticals Inc (NASDAQ:IONS) announced a new collaboration with Roche to develop IONIS-FB-LRx for the treatment of complement-mediated diseases. This could be quite interesting, as those who follow this story closely will understand.

According to the release, “This collaboration will leverage Ionis’ leadership in RNA-targeted therapeutics to develop IONIS-FB-LRx targeting Factor B (FB) for a broad range of diseases. The first indication the two companies will pursue is the treatment of patients with Geographic Atrophy (GA), the advanced stage of dry age-related macular degeneration (AMD). A Phase 2 study in patients with GA is planned to begin in early 2019.”

Ionis Pharmaceuticals Inc (NASDAQ:IONS) bills itself as a company that discovers and develops RNA-targeted therapeutics.

The company has a strong balance sheet, with cash levels far exceeding current liabilities ($2B against $248.6M).

The company offers SPINRAZA for spinal muscular atrophy (SMA) in pediatric and adult patients; and Kynamro an oligonucleotide inhibitor for use in patients with homozygous familial hypercholesterolemia to reduce low-density lipoprotein cholesterol, apolipoprotein B, total cholesterol, and non-high density lipoprotein.

It is also developing inotersen, an antisense drug Ionis to treat patients with hereditary transthyretin amyloidosis; and volanesorsen, an antisense drug for the treatment of familial chylomicronemia syndrome and familial partial lipodystrophy.

In addition, the company is developing drugs for various indications, such as cardiometabolic diseases caused by lipid disorders; cardiovascular disease, clotting disorders, and Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s diseases; and acromegaly, amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, beta-thalassemia, and Huntington’s disease.

Ionis Pharmaceuticals, Inc. has a collaboration agreement with AstraZeneca to discover and develop antisense therapies for treating cardiovascular and metabolic diseases, and cancer; Biogen Inc. to develop and commercialize therapies for neurological disorders, SMA, and neurodegenerative diseases; Roche to develop therapeutics for the treatment of complement-mediated diseases; and drug research collaboration with SRI International for the intracellular delivery of nucleic acid-based drugs, as well as a research collaboration agreement with Cerveau Technologies, Inc.

The company was formerly known as Isis Pharmaceuticals, Inc. and changed its name to Ionis Pharmaceuticals, Inc. in December 2015. Ionis Pharmaceuticals, Inc. was founded in 1989 and is headquartered in Carlsbad, California.

 

Between a Roche and a Hard Place

As noted above, IONS just announced a new collaboration with Roche to develop IONIS-FB-LRx for the treatment of complement-mediated diseases. Over the past week, shares of the stock have suffered from clear selling pressure, dropping by roughly -8%. In addition, the listing has seen interest climb, with an increase in recent trading volume of 64% over the long run average.

“Ionis is committed to bringing new therapies to patients living with unmet medical needs. The collaboration is designed to maximize both the potential benefit to patients and the likelihood of success while optimizing our commercial participation in IONIS-FB-LRx. This new agreement builds upon our productive relationship with Roche on IONIS-HTTRx (RG6042), an antisense drug for the treatment of people with Huntington’s disease,” said Brett P. Monia, chief operating officer at Ionis.

“Our antisense technology is the first to demonstrate robust, dose-dependent and sustained reduction of FB in a clinical study. We believe that we have found the right partner whose experience in retinal disease drug development and commercialization will enhance our efforts to effectively develop IONIS-FB-LRx for patients who currently have no adequate treatment options,” continued Mr. Monia.

Ionis Pharmaceuticals Inc (NASDAQ:IONS) managed to rope in revenues totaling $117.7M in overall sales during the company’s most recently reported quarterly financial data — a figure that represents a rate of top-line growth of 13.1%, as compared to year-ago data in comparable terms.



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