Why Isis Pharmaceuticals Shares Popped

Although we don't believe in timing the market or panicking over market movements, we do like to keep an eye on big changes -- just in case they're material to our investing thesis.

What: Shares of biotech firm Isis Pharmaceuticals (Nasdaq: ISIS  ) rallied as much as 12.6% after the company reported better-than-expected second-quarter results.

So what: For the quarter, Isis' loss narrowed to just $0.01 from a year-ago loss of $0.18 while revenue spiked 91% to $47.3 million. The company recognized a $25 million milestone payment from Genzyme, now owned by Sanofi (NYSE: SNY  ) , in the quarter related to the acceptance of its new drug application for Kynamro, which is used to treat a genetic condition affecting LDL ("bad") cholesterol levels. Isis ended the quarter with a robust $336 million in cash and also announced a collaboration and licensing agreement with Biogen Idec (Nasdaq: BIIB  ) to develop a drug to treat myotonic dystrophy. Isis received an up-front payment of $12 million from Biogen Idec.

Now what: Now we wait. The next big hurdle for Isis is whether or not the Food and Drug Administration and the European regulators approve Kynamro, although all signs are pointing toward a "yes" at the moment. Isis has ample cash and a premier marketing team, so the drug's launch shouldn't be a worry -- however, nothing is a given in the biotech sector. As for me, I'm happy being an innocent bystander and watching the decisions unfold over the next few months.

Craving more input? Start by adding Isis Pharmaceuticals to your free and personalized Watchlist so you can keep up on the latest news with the company.

Fool contributor Sean Williams has no material interest in any companies mentioned in this article. You can follow him on CAPS under the screen name TMFUltraLong, track every pick he makes under the screen name TrackUltraLong, and check him out on Twitter, where he goes by the handle @TMFUltraLong.

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