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Isis Pharma takes smaller 4Q loss on Regulus gain

CARLSBAD, Calif. (AP) -- Isis Pharmaceuticals Inc. said Thursday it took a smaller loss in the fourth quarter because of a gain on its investment in Regulus Therapeutics, which went public during the quarter.

Isis recorded a gain of $18.4 million as a result of the initial public offering. The company owns a 17-percent stake in Regulus, which develops microRNA drugs. Regulus went public in October, selling 11.25 million shares for $4 each.

Isis makes the drug Kynamro, which is designed to treat patients who are genetically predisposed to have high levels of LDL cholesterol, known as "bad" cholesterol. The Food and Drug Administration approved Kynamro in January.

The company took a loss of $2.6 million, or 3 cents per share, in the most recent quarter. A year ago it lost $20 million, or 20 cents per share. Revenue fell 39 percent, to $19.9 million from $32.4 million. Because Isis did not have any approved drugs on the market during the quarter, most of its revenue came in the form of payments from its drug development partners.

Analysts were expecting a loss of 23 cents per share and $15.8 million in revenue, according to FactSet.

Isis pared its loss to $65.5 million, or 65 cents per share, in 2012. It lost $84.8 million, or 85 cents per share, in 2011. Revenue grew 3 percent, to $102 million from $99.1 million.

French drugmaker Sanofi will market Kynamro. Isis received a $25 million milestone payment from Sanofi after the drug was approved, and earlier this month it received a $7.5 million from GlaxoSmithKline after the British drugmaker started a new clinical trial of a drug Isis developed.

Shares of Isis Pharmaceuticals rose 14 cents to $14.37 in morning trading.