Why Isis Pharmaceuticals, Inc. Shares Briefly Jumped

Isis shares momentarily charge higher after reporting positive mid-stage results for experimental type 2 diabetes therapy ISIS-GCGR.

May 14, 2014 at 1:48PM

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 Isis Pharmaceuticals (NASDAQ:ISIS), a biopharmaceutical company focused on developing therapies using its proprietary antisense drug development platform, vaulted higher by as much as 12% earlier this morning after reporting positive results for ISIS-GCGR in a mid-stage type 2 diabetes study. Shares have since given back the bulk of their gains and are now up less than 4% as of this writing.

So what: According to Isis' early morning press release, "the absolute mean reductions in hemoglobin A1c (HbA1c) were greater than 2 percentage points (p=0.001) and greater than 1 percentage point (p=0.001) in the 200 mg and 100 mg cohorts, respectively, compared to baseline after 13 weeks of treatment." In addition to rapid effectiveness, Isis also notes an increase in GLP-1 levels which would indicate preservation of pancreatic functions that could enhance insulin secretion, ultimately helping to maintain glycemic balance. Given the statistically significant reduction in HbA1c levels Isis plans to optimize the dose and move forward with additional studies.

Now what: For a number of other companies whose type 2 diabetes therapies have been working their way through clinical trials recently, an HbA1c reduction of 0.5%-1% was fairly normal and impressive. These results, however, with mean reductions of 1%-2% appear to be above and beyond anything we've been privy to recently. Early indications demonstrated that ISIS-GCGR is well-tolerated and also doesn't negatively affect blood pressure, which are all key safety components that the Food and Drug Administration will hone in on. Keep in mind that Isis is still in the "dose-optimizing" state, so we're nowhere near the new drug filing stage or anything, but I believe these are incredible results worth keeping your eyes on. I've already encouraged investors to watch Isis simply because of its 30-plus compounds in development, which are either in-house, such as ISIS-GCGR, or collaborative. Today's news merely gives you an even bigger reason to add Isis to your watchlist.

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A Financial Plan on an Index Card

Keeping it simple.

Aug 7, 2015 at 11:26AM

Two years ago, University of Chicago professor Harold Pollack wrote his entire financial plan on an index card.

It blew up. People loved the idea. Financial advice is often intentionally complicated. Obscurity lets advisors charge higher fees. But the most important parts are painfully simple. Here's how Pollack put it:

The card came out of chat I had regarding what I view as the financial industry's basic dilemma: The best investment advice fits on an index card. A commenter asked for the actual index card. Although I was originally speaking in metaphor, I grabbed a pen and one of my daughter's note cards, scribbled this out in maybe three minutes, snapped a picture with my iPhone, and the rest was history.

More advisors and investors caught onto the idea and started writing their own financial plans on a single index card.

I love the exercise, because it makes you think about what's important and forces you to be succinct.

So, here's my index-card financial plan:


Everything else is details. 

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