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Isis Pharma Earns Milestone Payment on Study Initiation

Zacks Equity Research

Isis Pharmaceuticals, Inc. (ISIS) announced that it has initiated a phase I study on ISIS-DMPKRx for the treatment of myotonic dystrophy type I (DM1). With the initiation of this study, Isis Pharma earned a milestone payment of $14 million from Biogen Idec (BIIB).

We remind investors that Isis Pharma had inked a deal with Biogen in Jun 2012 for the development and commercialization of ISIS-DMPKRx. According to the deal, Isis Pharma is responsible for the development of ISIS-DMPKRx through the completion of the first phase II study on the candidate. The company could receive up to $259 million from Biogen once certain milestones are achieved.

Nearly 150,000 individuals, according to Isis Pharma, suffer from DM1 in the U.S., Europe and Japan.  

Meanwhile, Isis Pharma and partner Biogen are progressing with their spinal muscular atrophy (SMA) candidate, ISIS-SMNRx. The companies intend to initiate phase III studies on ISIS-SMNRx for the treatment of spinal muscular atrophy (SMA) in infants shortly and in children later this year.

Isis Pharma and Biogen have four collaboration agreements – one for ISIS-SMNRx, the second for the development of antisense drugs to treat myotonic dystrophy type 1, the third for the discovery and development of antisense drugs against three novel targets for neurological disorders and the final agreement is for the use of Isis Pharma's antisense technology for the development of treatments for neurological diseases.

Isis Pharma carries a Zacks Rank #3 (Hold). Some better-ranked stocks in the health care sector include Gilead Sciences Inc. (GILD) and ANI Pharmaceuticals, Inc. (ANIP). Both carry a Zacks Rank #1 (Strong Buy).

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