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Ionis (IONS) Q4 Earnings & Revenues Beat Estimates, Stock Up

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Ionis Pharmaceuticals, Inc. IONS reported fourth-quarter 2021 earnings of $1.41 per share, which beat Zacks Consensus Estimate of 80 cents. In the year-ago period, the company had incurred a loss of $2.54 per share.

The bottom line includes expenses related to the Akcea acquisition and restructured European and North American operations and other items. Excluding these non-recurring expenses, the earnings per share were $1.55 per share. In the year-ago quarter, it had recorded earnings of 91 cents per share.

Ionis reported total revenues of $440 million, up 51.7% year over year due to higher R&D revenues. Sales beat the Zacks Consensus Estimate of $337.5 million.

Ionis’ shares were up 5.7% on Thursday in response to the better-than-expected earnings announcement. This year so far, Ionis’ shares have risen 6.8% in contrast to the industry’s decrease of 16.5%.

Zacks Investment Research
Zacks Investment Research


Image Source: Zacks Investment Research

Quarter in Detail

Ionis has licensed Spinraza to Biogen BIIB. Biogen is responsible for commercializing Spinraza, approved for treating spinal muscular atrophy, or SMA, worldwide. Ionis receives royalties from Biogen on Spinraza’s sales.

Ionis earns commercial revenues, primarily royalty payments on net sales of Spinraza and R&D revenues, from partnered medicines.

Commercial revenues were $87 million in the fourth quarter, down 9.4% year over year.

Commercial revenues from Spinraza royalties were $69 million, down 8% year over. Revenues from Tegsedi and Waylivra from distribution fees were $9 million compared with $19 million in the year-ago quarter. License and royalty revenues were $9 million in the quarter compared with $2 million in the year-ago quarter.

R&D revenues of $353 million were significantly higher than the year-ago quarter due to $200 million received from Ionis’ new collaboration with AstraZeneca AZN to jointly develop and commercialize eplontersen in the United States.

Adjusted operating costs rose 4.8% year over year to $196 million in the fourth quarter, mainly driven by higher R&D costs as the company rapidly advanced its wholly-owned late-stage pipeline. The SG&A expenses decreased in the quarter due to cost efficiencies realized from integrating Akcea and restructuring commercial operations.

Pipeline Update

Ionis has phase III studies ongoing for six medicines (internal as well as partnered) across eight indications, which include tofersen for SOD1-ALS (amyotrophic lateral sclerosis); pelacarsen for cardiovascular disease due to elevated Lp(a) levels; olezarsen for familial chylomicronemia syndrome, or FCS and severe hypertriglyceridemia, eplontersen for TTR amyloidosis, ION363 for amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, or ALS, with mutations in the fused in sarcoma gene, or FUS (FUS-ALS) and donidalorsen for hereditary angioedema or HAE.

Biogen and Novartis are its partners for tofersen and pelacarsen. Ionis expects nine mid- and late-stage data readouts in 2022, highlighted by eplontersen for which it signed a joint development/collaboration deal with AstraZeneca in December 2021. Enrollment is complete in the phase III NEURO-TTRansform study of eplontersen in TTR polyneuropathy with data expected in mid-2022. Ionis and AstraZeneca are also developing eplontersen for the treatment of cardiomyopathy in the phase III CARDIO-TTRansform study. The companies plan to seek approval for eplontersen for hATTR with polyneuropathy indication by the end of 2022 if the data from the NEURO-TTRansform study is positive.

Ionis is advancing and expanding its wholly-owned pipeline to drive future revenue growth. Ionis is developing olezarsen for FCS, ION363 for FUS-ALS and donidalorsen for HAE on its own in pivotal late-stage studies. Ionis began a second phase III study of olezarsen for severe hypertriglyceridemia in November 2021. Ionis also began a phase III study on donidalorsen for HAE in November 2021

Earlier this month, Ionis and partner Pfizer PFE announced the discontinuation of their partnered program for vupanorsen, which was being developed for cardiovascular (CV) risk reduction and severe hypertriglyceridemia (SHTG). The phase IIb study met its primary endpoint. Though the study achieved statistically significant reductions in non-high-density lipoprotein cholesterol (non-HDL-C) in triglycerides (TG) and angiopoietin-like 3 (ANGPTL3), the magnitude of reductions in non-HDL-C and TG observed did not support the continuation of the program for the abovementioned indications. Pfizer has decided to return the development rights to vupanorsen to Ionis. Pfizer bought rights to the candidate from Ionis in November

2022 Guidance

Ionis expects total revenues to be more than $575 million in 2022. Its adjusted net loss is expected to be less than $275 million.

Adjusted operating expense is expected to be in the range of $825 million to $850 million. R&D costs are expected to increase in the range of 25-30% in 2022 compared with 2021. SG&A costs are expected to be in line with 2021.

Ionis currently carries a Zacks Rank #3 (Hold). You can see the complete list of today’s Zacks #1 Rank (Strong Buy) stocks here.

Ionis Pharmaceuticals, Inc. Price, Consensus and EPS Surprise

Ionis Pharmaceuticals, Inc. Price, Consensus and EPS Surprise
Ionis Pharmaceuticals, Inc. Price, Consensus and EPS Surprise

Ionis Pharmaceuticals, Inc. price-consensus-eps-surprise-chart | Ionis Pharmaceuticals, Inc. Quote


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