Why Isis Pharmaceuticals Inc. Shares Roared Higher

Isis shares soar after reporting positive phase 2 results from an investigational blood-thinning agent.

May 22, 2014 at 2:28PM

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:IONS), a biopharmaceutical company developing a wide array of therapies using its antisense drug discovery platform, spiked higher by as much as 13% after reporting positive mid-stage data on ISIS-FXI in the prevention of venous thrombosis in patients undergoing total knee replacement surgery.

So what: According to the early morning press release, ISIS-FXI, which inhibits Factor XI, a coagulation factor that plays a role in forming blood clots, produced a dose-dependent decrease in venous thrombotic events (VTE), as well as a reduced number of bleeding events compared to Lovenox. As noted by Isis, the highest dose (300 mg) produced a seven-fold lower incidence of VTEs than Lovenox. Furthermore, there were no observed differences in safety between ISIS-FXI and Lovenox. Isis announced its intentions to report its full data from the trial at an upcoming scientific meeting.

Now what: Chalk up yet another impressive study for Isis which is swinging for the fences with close to three dozen in-house and partnered therapies currently in its pipeline. Because Isis' pipeline is so diverse, and it has so many large-scale partners, its chances of hitting a home run are greatly increased. Early indications from ISIS-FXI demonstrate that it could be a very successful blood-thinning agent, and as Isis points out, it could represent another major licensing opportunity for the company which means more money upfront to fuel its ongoing research. Of the predominantly clinical-stage crowd (Isis has one FDA approved therapy) Isis is among my favorites due to its extensive pipeline and collaborative capacity, and I would suggest you add it to your watchlist.

Isis shares may have soared today, but they'll likely have a difficult time keeping pace with this top stock over the long run
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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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