LONDON, UK / ACCESSWIRE / February 17, 2017 / Active Wall St. blog coverage looks at the headline from Ionis Pharmaceuticals, Inc. (NASDAQ: IONS) and Novartis AG (NYSE: NVS). On February 16, 2017, Ionis Pharma and Akcea Therapeutics, a wholly-owned subsidiary of Ionis Pharmaceuticals, Inc., announced that they have closed on their exclusive, worldwide option and collaboration agreement with Novartis to develop and commercialize AKCEA-APO(a)-LRx and AKCEA-APOCIII-LRx following clearance under the Hart-Scott-Rodino Antitrust Improvements Act. Register with us now for your free membership and blog access at: http://www.activewallst.com/register/.
Following the approval and closing of the transaction, Novartis will pay Ionis and Akcea a $75 million up-front payment and make a $100 million equity investment in Ionis, which equates to 1,631,435 shares at $61.30 per share. Novartis has an obligation to make a further equity investment of $50 million in the next 18 months in either Ionis at the same premium as the initial investment or in Akcea. Ionis and Akcea are also eligible to receive a license fee as well as development, regulatory, and commercial milestone payments for each drug as it advances. In addition, Ionis and Akcea are eligible to receive tiered royalties in the mid-teens to low twenty percent range on net sales of each drug.
The worldwide option and collaboration agreement with Novartis was announced by Ionis on January 06, 2017 to develop and commercialize AKCEA-APO(a)-LRx and AKCEA-APOCIII-LRx. Under the agreement, Ionis and Akcea were eligible to receive $225 million in near-term payments. As per the original announcement, Ionis and Akcea plan to conduct a Phase-2 dose-ranging study for each drug, to choose the optimal dose and evaluate alternative dose schedules, such as monthly dosing, for the Phase-3 study. Following the successful completion of each Phase-2 dose-ranging study, and prior to initiation of the Phase-3 study, Novartis will be able to exercise its option to license and commercialize each drug.
For each drug, upon option exercise, Novartis will pay Ionis and Akcea a $150 million license fee, will initiate a global Phase-3 cardiovascular outcome study in a high-risk population and will be responsible for worldwide development and commercialization activities. Akcea retains the right to co-commercialize any successful drug through its specialty sales force focused on lipid specialists on terms and conditions to be agreed with Novartis. Ionis and Akcea are also eligible to receive up to $315 million and $265 million in development and regulatory milestone payments for AKCEA-APO (a)-LRx and AKCEA-APOCIII-LRx, respectively, as well as up to $285 million and $265 million in commercialization milestone payments, for each drug, respectively.
ABOUT Lp (a)
Lp (a) is considered a key driver for cardiovascular disease due to its association with an increased risk of coronary heart disease. Lp (a) is a lipoprotein particle that is assembled in the liver and consists of the apolipoprotein (a) protein covalently linked to LDL-cholesterol. Diet and lifestyle changes have little impact on Lp (a) levels and current therapies are not able to adequately reduce elevated levels of Lp (a) to acceptable levels in patients who have severely elevated Lp(a).
In a Phase-1/2a study in healthy volunteers with elevated Lipoprotein (a), AKCEA-APO(a)-LRx produced significant and sustained reductions in Lp(a) of up to 97% with mean reduction of 79% after only a single, small volume dose and with multiple doses, observed reductions of Lp(a) of up to 99% with a mean reduction of 92%.
AKCEA-APOCIII-LRx is currently being evaluated in a Phase-1/2a study in healthy volunteers with elevated triglycerides.
At the closing bell, on Thursday, February 16, 2017, Ionis Pharma's stock slightly slipped 0.38%, ending the trading session at $46.79. A total volume of 1.55 million shares were traded at the end of the day. In the last twelve months, shares of the Company have surged 26.49%. At Thursday's closing price, the stock's net capitalization stands at $5.75 billion.
Earnings Alerts - On February 15, 2017, Ionis Pharma announced that it will host a live webcast on February 28 at 11:30 a.m. ET to discuss its FY16 financial results and report on pipeline and business progress.
On Thursday, February 16, 2017, the stock closed the trading session at $76.73, rising 1.19% from its previous closing price of $75.83. A total volume of 2.50 million shares have exchanged hands. Novartis' stock price advanced 6.73% in the last month, 6.72% in the past three months, and 8.15% in the previous twelve months. Furthermore, since the start of the year, shares of the Company have gained 5.34%. The stock is trading at a PE ratio of 27.42 and has a dividend yield of 3.58%. The stock currently has a market cap of $202.17 billion.
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SOURCE: Active Wall Street