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Ionis Receives $5 Million Milestone from J&J Unit for GI Drug

Ionis Pharmaceuticals, Inc.IONS announced that it has earned $5 million milestone payment from Janssen Biotech, Inc., a pharmaceutical division of Johnson & Johnson JNJ .

The payment is associated with the validation of an undisclosed target to treat patients with a gastrointestinal (GI) autoimmune disease.

Ionis's one-month share price movement shows that the stock has significantly outperformed the Zacks classified Medical - Drugs industry. Specifically, Ionis has surged 13.7% during this period, while the industry lost 2.1%.

We remind investors that Ionis had entered into the aforesaid collaboration with Janssen in Dec 2014, with an aim to discover and develop antisense drugs that can be administered locally, including oral delivery, to treat autoimmune disorders of the GI tract.

As of Sep 2016, Ionis had received nearly $47 million in payments under this collaboration. The company earned license fees of $10 million in Jul 2016 when Janssen licensed IONIS-JBI1-2.5Rx, an orally delivered antisense drug for the treatment of a GI autoimmune disease.

The company is further eligible to receive up to nearly $800 million in license fees and substantive milestone payments under the terms of the agreement, which covers three programs. These includes up to $175 million for the achievement of development milestones, up to $420 million for the achievement of regulatory milestones and up to $180 million for the achievement of commercialization milestones. In addition, the company is eligible to receive tiered royalties in up to the low teens on sales from any drug developed under the collaboration.

We note that Ionis is actively using its proprietary antisense technology to create a large pipeline of first-in-class or best-in-class drugs, with over a dozen drugs in mid- to late-stage development. Drugs currently in phase III development include volanesorsen (chylomicronemia syndrome or familial partial lipodystrophy), IONIS-TTRRx (TTR amyloidosis) and Spinraza (children with spinal muscular atrophy).

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Zacks Rank & Key Picks

Ionis currently carries a Zacks Rank #3 (Hold). A couple of better-ranked stocks in the health care sector include Heska Corp. HSKA and Cambrex Corp. CBM . Each of these stocks sports a Zacks Rank #1 (Strong Buy). You can see the complete list of today's Zacks #1 Rank stocks here .

Heska's earnings estimates increased from $1.13 to $1.35 for 2016 and from $1.38 to $1.53 for 2017 over the last 60 days. The company posted a positive earnings surprise in all of the four trailing quarters with an average beat of 301.64%. Its share price has increased 83.6% year to date.

Cambrex's earnings estimates increased from $2.46 to $2.55 for 2016 and from $2.91 to $3.06 for 2017 over the last 60 days. The company posted a positive earnings surprise in three of the four trailing quarters with an average beat of 19.78%. Its share price has increased 11.8% year to date.

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The views and opinions expressed herein are the views and opinions of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Nasdaq, Inc.


The views and opinions expressed herein are the views and opinions of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Nasdaq, Inc.

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