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The share price of Isis Pharmaceuticals, Inc. (ISIS - Analyst Report) reached a new 52-week high, touching $30.09 on Jul 5, 2013. The closing price of this Carlsbad, Calif - based drug discovery and development company that focuses on the development of products using antisense technology reflects a massive year-to-date return of 177.3%. The average trading volume for the last three months was about 1.8 million shares. The company had a market capitalization of $3.35 billion on Jul 5.

Growth Drivers

Isis Pharma, a Zacks Rank #2 (Buy) stock, received a major boost earlier this year when the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approved Kynamro, developed in collaboration with Genzyme, a Sanofi (SNY - Analyst Report) company. We view Kynamro’s Jan 2013 approval as a major milestone for Isis Pharma. Kynamro is approved for cholesterol management in patients suffering from homozygous familial hypercholesterolemia (HoFH). Kynamro was launched in late Mar 2013 and we expect investor focus to remain on the product’s performance. We believe Kynamro has significant commercial potential.

Meanwhile, Isis Pharma has made significant progress with its pipeline. The company has several candidates in phase II or phase III including five that could reach the market by 2018. The next 12-18 months should be catalyst-filled with Isis Pharma expected to report results from
several studies.

In fact, last month Isis Pharma saw its share price moving up by 29.2% after the company presented impressive phase II data on one of its most promising candidates ISIS-APOCIIIRx (cholesterol management), at the American Diabetes Association.

Estimate Revisions

Over the last 60 days, the Zacks Consensus Estimate for 2013 has gone down from a loss of $1.01 per share to a loss of $0.78 per share. Meanwhile, the Zacks Consensus Estimate for the second quarter of 2013 has gone down to a loss of $0.26 from a loss of $0.32 per share over the last 60 days.

Other Stocks to Consider

Other companies that currently look well-positioned include Biogen Idec Inc. (BIIB - Analyst Report) and Protalix BioTherapeutics, Inc. (PLX - Snapshot Report) with both carrying a Zacks Rank #1 (Strong Buy).

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