Isis Heads South

Oct.17.12 | About: Ionis Pharmaceuticals, (IONS)

Isis Pharmaceuticals (ISIS) is retracing its recent rise. The big question, given that it does have a pipeline, is where is the bottom?

From Yahoo Finance

Chart forIsis Pharmaceuticals, Inc.

Isis was already under pressure, in that a head to head comparison of drugs seems to favor Aegerion's (NASDAQ:AEGR) drug, Lomitapide, over Mipomersen for homozygous familial hypercholesterolemia (HoFH). Now that the FDA briefing document for the Mepomerson advisory panel meeting on Thursday, October 18, 2012 is posted, new concerns over cancer risk have emerged. Efficacy of Mepomersen seems lower than Lomitapide, in term of percent drop in LDL cholesterol levels. Although injectable, some have argued the drug might be better tolerated than Lomitapide.

Often fighting a trend is futile, ISIS does have a pipeline as Cramer pointed out, but odds are it can reacquired much lower, perhaps near the previous recent low of about $6 per share. It should be kept in mind that ISIS has a history of drug development with partners, that could continue to steadily increase revenue. Isis does have revenue, so the fate of mepomerson is not a cataclysmic event for Isis. Vitravene the first antisense drug, used for cytolomegalovirus infections, demonstrates this is a viable platform and can lead to more rapid drug development. Although it is a second line drug, it bodes well for the development of drugs with this platform. Indeed, Isis has more than 20 drugs under development, eight are in PhASE II trials. OGX-011 is licensed to Teva Pharmaceutical Industries (NYSE:TEVA) and has entered stage 3 trials for cancer.

The advisory meeting for Aegerion is in progress, trading is halted. Adam Feuerstein is covering both with a live-blog powered by coveritlive, which is an interesting company in itself. The live-blog on the meeting on Lomitapide is up and running. If news, as predicted, on Lomatapide is favorable, that is even more reason to sell ISIS.

Trading will likely be halted for the meeting on Mepomerson on Thursday, October 18, 2012.

Disclosure: I have no positions in any stocks mentioned, and no plans to initiate any positions within the next 72 hours. I wrote this article myself, and it expresses my own opinions. I am not receiving compensation for it (other than from Seeking Alpha). I have no business relationship with any company whose stock is mentioned in this article.