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Isis Pharmaceuticals, Inc. (ISIS - Analyst Report) recently announced encouraging results from a phase I study on its candidate, ISIS-CRP. In the study, ISIS-CRP demonstrated significant reduction of the endotoxin-induced CRP response without impacting other key immune modulators including TNF-alpha, IL-6, and other cytokines and chemokines in healthy humans.

The company stated in its press release that selective reduction of CRP could offer a safer approach for treating patients suffering from chronic inflammatory diseases, such as rheumatoid arthritis.

Isis Pharma is evaluating the use of ISIS-CRP in RA patients with chronically elevated CRP levels. Data from the phase II study is expected in mid-2013.

Isis Pharma is also evaluating the safety and efficacy of the candidate in patients suffering from paroxysmal atrial fibrillation (AF) in another phase II study. Data is expected in the first half of 2014.

Last month, Isis Pharma received a $7.5 million milestone payment from GlaxoSmithKline (GSK - Analyst Report). The payment primarily relates to the initiation of a phase II/III clinical study of ISIS-TTRRx. The study will span 15 months enrolling 200 patients. Isis is developing ISIS-TTRRx in collaboration with Glaxo for the potential treatment of transthyretin (TTR) amyloidosis.

We note that Isis Pharma’s lead product, Kynamro (mipomersen sodium), received FDA approval in Jan 2013 for the treatment of familial hypercholesterolemia (FH). Isis Pharma’s partner Sanofi (SNY - Analyst Report) is marketing the product in the US. Sanofi is also looking to get the drug approved in the rest of the world including Europe.

Isis Pharma currently carries a Zacks Rank #3 (Hold). Cytokinetics, Incorporated (CYTK - Snapshot Report) looks more attractive in the pharma sector with a Zacks Rank #1 (Strong Buy).

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