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Isis Pharmaceuticals, Inc.’s (ISIS - Analyst Report) shares were up 29.2% shortly after the company presented impressive data on ISIS-APOCIIIRx at the American Diabetes Association (ADA).

The company said that ISIS-APOCIIIRx reduced triglyceride levels and increased good cholesterol levels in type II diabetes patients with high triglycerides. Results from a phase II study showed that patients in the ISIS-APOCIIIRx arm saw an 88% reduction in apolipoprotein C-III, a 72% reduction in triglyceride levels and a 40% improvement in good cholesterol levels (high-density lipoprotein cholesterol (HDL-C)).

Isis Pharma reported improvement in other lipid parameters as well as several measures of glucose control.

The candidate’s safety profile was also good with no discontinuations, clinically meaningful elevations in liver enzymes, flu-like symptoms, or major adverse events being reported. Results from another phase II study evaluating ISIS-APOCIIIRx in patients with moderate to severe high triglycerides should be out this summer.

ISIS-APOCIIIRx is one of the most promising candidates in Isis Pharma’s pipeline. The phase II data is encouraging and we look forward to seeing additional data on the candidate.

Isis Pharma currently carries a Zacks Rank #2 (Buy). We view Kynamro’s Jan 2013 approval in the US as a major milestone for the company. Kynamro was launched in late Mar 2013 and we expect investor focus to remain on the product's performance. The company has made significant progress with its pipeline – Isis Pharma has several candidates in phase II or phase III development including five that could reach the market by 2018. The next 12-18 months should be catalyst filled with the company expected to report results from several studies.

Other companies that currently look well-positioned include Biogen Idec (BIIB - Analyst Report), Aeterna Zentaris Inc. and Protalix BioTherapeutics, Inc. (PLX - Snapshot Report). All three are Zacks Rank #1 (Strong Buy) stocks.
 

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