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Isis Phamaceuticals changes name to distance itself from terrorist group

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Shutterstock photo - -- ISIS Pharmaceuticals Inc (O:ISIS) announced on Friday that it has switched its title to Ionis Pharmaceuticals in an apparent attempt to differentiate itself with the terrorist group from the Islamic State, which shared an acronym with its former company name.

Ionis Pharmaceuticals, which is based in Carlsbad, California outside of San Diego, initially considered the name change last month in the wake of the Paris' terrorist attacks which claimed the lives of at least 120 citizens. Days later, the terrorist cell claimed responsibility for a series of bombings and mass-shooting which engulfed the capital of France in arguably the most publicized act of violence since the September 11th tragedy in 2001.

On December 2, a married couple opened fire at a holiday party in San Bernardino, Calif. killing 14 workers and injuring 22 others. While ISIS reportedly claimed to play a role in the attack, the FBI said on Wednesday that it has still been unable to establish a direct link to the organization.

Founded in 1989, Ionis Pharmaceuticals specializes in RNA-targeted drug discovery and development focused on advancing drugs for patients with severe and rare diseases. Carlsbad is located approximately 80 miles southwest of San Bernardino.

The Southern California biotech company is named after Isis, the Egyptian goddess of health, marriage and wisdom who was first worshipped in Egyptian religion in third century B.C. Her worship later spread to the Ancient Roman empire, as well as a number of denominations of Greco-Roman culture.

"Our goal is to create medicines that will save patients' lives, and we are proud to be at the forefront of creating innovative medicines," said Lynne Parshall, chief operating officer at Ionis Pharmaceuticals. "We decided to change our company name because, when people see or hear our name, we want them to think about the life-saving medicines we are developing."

A day earlier, Ionis announced the initiation of an investigator-sponsored, open-label Phase 2 study evaluating patients with wild-type Transthyretin Amyloidosis (TTR), known commonly as Senile Systemic Amyloidosis (SSA). While Transthyretin Amyloidosis is a slowly progressive condition characterized by the buildup of amyloid proteins in the body's organs and tissues, a patient's heart is typically the dominant site of involvement. The presence of amyloidosis can disrupt normal cellular processes and tissue functioning. Unlike familial TTR-associated forms of amyloid (ATTR), which feature TTR gene mutations and amyloid-forming TTR mutant proteins, SSA is a late onset disease that is acquired, not inherited, according to the Boston University Amyloidosis Center.

Ionis' treatment involves the evaluation of its IONS-TTRRxx therapy in approximately 50 patients with TTR Amyloidosis, who demonstrated evidence of suffering from cardiac disease. The effects of Ionis Pharmaceuticals' therapy will be measured by cardiac imaging at 6, 12 and 18 months, the company said in a statement.

"We have demonstrated that (IONS-TTRRx), given as one, once a week, self-administered, at home injection, can robustly reduce TTR levels in patients with both the polyneuropathy and cardiomyopathy forms of the disease, and we have preliminary evidence of disease stabilization in patients with TTR-related cardiomyopathy," said Brett Monia, Ph.D., senior vice president of drug discovery and franchise leader for oncology and rare diseases at Ionis Pharmaceuticals

During the third quarter, Ionis reported Pro Forma Net Income of $25 million a marked increase from the same quarter in 2014. In conjunction with the corporate name change, the company will trade on the NASDAQ Global Select Market under the new ticker symbol IONS. The new ticker symbol will become effective at the open of the market on Tuesday.

Shares in Ionis Pharmaceuticals closed on Friday at 57.84, down 0.36 or 0.62% on the session. offers an extensive set of professional tools for the financial markets.

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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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