By Rajesh Patel, Ph.D.
Shares of ISIS Pharmaceuticals (ISIS) were up over 8% at the close of trading on Monday, just days ahead of the American Association of Neurology (AAN) conference which begins March 16th. In our last article about ISIS we suggested that the AAN conference would be the next catalyst for ISIS, as the company would be presenting data from their Phase 1 trial of ISIS-SMNRx, an investigational drug candidate to treat spinal muscular neuropathy in children and infants (You can read the abstract of the presentation here). At the end of January, we anticipated that the stock would climb on the back of the Kynamro approval, in anticipation of this early-stage presentation, and in advance of numerous data releases in the first half of the year; shares are up 13% since.
Monday's gains appear to be the beginning of the move we predicted earlier, with the stock moving higher than its previous highs before the Kynamro Advisory Committee meeting late last year. The close above the $16 level, followed by further upward movement on Tuesday, would be a strong signal that the stock is ready to break out from the round-bottom pattern evident on the 2-year chart.
At a $1.65B market capitalization, we see ISIS as significantly undervalued given the number of pipeline candidates (and noteworthy partnerships) the company has. With up to 8 Phase II and one Phase III trial reading out this year, ISIS has numerous potential value drivers throughout the year. And in the eyes of many, the Kynamro approval in January offered clear validation of Isis' antisense technology, a platform that had been met with trepidation for years. Following the AAN conference, the next catalysts for ISIS are the top-line results from Phase 2 trials of ISIS-APOCIIIRx and ISIS-CRPRx -- for the treatment of very high triglyceride levels (>500 mg/dL) and rheumatoid arthritis respectively -- before the end of Q2. With numerous catalysts and relatively defined time frames around which to trade, Isis should continue to gain visibility and pique interest within the biotech segment.
Read our prior article on Isis by clicking here.
Disclosure: I have no positions in any stocks mentioned, and no plans to initiate any positions within the next 72 hours.
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