Leerink Partners Assumes Ionis Pharmaceuticals (IONS) at Market Perform
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Leerink Partners assumes coverage on Ionis Pharmaceuticals (NASDAQ: IONS) with a Market Perform rating and a price target of $40.00.
Analyst Paul Matteis commented, "IONS is a leading biotechnology company in the antisense oligonucleotide (ASO)-based therapeutics space. On the positive side, we expect IONS investors (via royalties) to participate in what may be one of the most exciting drug launches of 2017 – nusinersen, partnered with BIIB [OP] for Type 1 and 2 spinal muscular atrophy (SMA). Moreover, we are positive on IONS's expanding neuro franchise, as we believe serious CNS disease represents an ideal area for antisense therapies: many of these indications are driven by simple, well understood genetics, and the central compartment is largely insulated from the immune system which allows for lower dosing, better safety and fewer side effects. Conversely, our neutral view on the stock is driven by counterbalancing caution surrounding not fully understood platelet count drops seen on key assets IONIS-TTRrx (TTR amyloidosis) and volanesorsen (FCS), as well as a generally more skeptical view on the size of the commercial opportunity for injectable antisense drugs in rare metabolic diseases. Trading at ~$40/share, we see the stock after recent strong performance as fairly valued: our PT is comprised of ~$14/shr for nusinersen, ~$3/shr for TTR, ~$4/share for volanesorsen, ~$17/share to the rest of the pipeline and ~$2/share to net cash."
Shares of Ionis Pharmaceuticals closed at $38.38 yesterday.
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