Ionis Pharmaceuticals, Inc. (IONS)

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Ionis Pharmaceuticals, Inc. (IONS)

Q3 2017 Results Earnings Conference Call

November 07, 2017 11:30 AM ET


Dr. Stan Crooke - Ionis' Chairman and CEO

Lynne Parshall - COO

Sarah Boyce - Chief Business Officer

Beth Hougen - CFO

Brett Monia - SVP, Drug Discovery

Wade Walke - VP, Corporate Communications and IR


Eric Schmidt - Cowen & Company

Jim Birchenough - Wells Fargo Securities

Stephen Wiley - Stifel

David Lebowitz - Morgan Stanley

Jessica Fye - JP Morgan

Paul Matteis - Leerink Partners

Gena Wang - Barclays

Yale Jen - Laidlaw & Company



Welcome to Ionis Pharmaceuticals Third Quarter 2017 Financial Results Conference Call. As a reminder, this call is being recorded. Leading the call today from Ionis is Dr. Stan Crooke, Ionis’ Chairman and CEO.

Dr. Crooke, please begin.

Dr. Stan Crooke

Good morning, and thanks, everyone, for joining us on today’s call to discuss our third quarter 2017 financial results and recent business highlights. In the past year -- in the past week, we’ve reported substantial progress with inotersen. We’ve provided more detailed data from a Phase 3 study that demonstrated strong evidence of benefit in a well-defined manageable safety profile.

Yesterday, we announced we had filed an NDA, an important accomplishment that follows the MAA we filed last week. We believe that meeting the last 2017 filing date for an EU accelerated assessment provides an additional competitive advantage. We’ve announced that we are initiating our expanded access program and that our commercial team has made substantial strides in preparing to launch inotersen. We’ve also had an opportunity to spend a great deal of time with TTR amyloidosis investigators and patients in the last week, and we’re gratified by the uniform enthusiasm displayed for inotersen. We’re optimistic that inotersen will achieve a significant fraction of the market for ATTR after approval and be not only a medical, but also a significant commercial success.

What I find particularly exciting is that inotersen is only one part of our story. SPINRAZA sales to date suggests its launch will be one of the most successful rare disease drug launches in history. Inotersen is progressing through registration for STF, a serious disease for which there is no current therapy and no therapy on the horizon. The rest of our pipeline is also progressing nicely. We’re profitable with a pro forma operating income of $90 million, and we project steadily growing revenue in the coming years. We have cash of more than $1 billion and are on track to meet or potential exceed our financial values. In short, we’re in a very strong position.

As you likely have already seen this morning, we announced a planned set of transitions in our management structure. This transition demonstrates that our succession planning has indeed been successful. Starting on January 15th of next year, Lynne Parshall, who’s been with Ionis for 27 years, will become a Strategic Adviser to Ionis. She’ll remember -- she’ll remain a member of the Board of Directors of Ionis and Akcea. And in her new role, Lynne will continue to be involved in strategic planning, business development, regulatory and financing, and will play a significant role in our important relationships with Biogen and Akcea. In short, she’ll focus on the areas where she has always brought the most value and the areas that I think the company most needs are going forward.

For nearly 30 years, Lynne and I have worked together to navigate the course for Ionis. So as we progressed to an even more substantial success, I’m pleased that Lynne will continue to play the vital strategic role she’s always played, while also being able to devote more time to her family. And I want to personally thank Lynne for the many years of hard work and putting up with me through the good times and bad and being my very close friend. Brett Monia, who is currently Senior Vice President of Drug Discovery, will become Chief Operating Officer, reporting to me. Brett is one of the founding members of the Ionis team, and his leadership has been instrumental to the productivity of our drug discovery program. Brett has played a key role in leading the discovery and development of inotersen. He’s also been instrumental in achieving and managing our many partnerships. Additionally, he’s contributed to our decision-making and building of a productive culture at Ionis. The board and I are confident that Brett is the ideal choice to be Chief Operating Officer and is fully prepared to assume his new responsibilities and that this step is an important step in assuring long-term continuity of the leadership and approach at Ionis.

Now, let me introduce the members of the management team who will be joining us on today’s call. Lynne Parshall, Chief Operating Officer; Sarah Boyce, Chief Business Officer; Beth Hougen, Chief Financial Officer; and Brett Monia, Senior Vice President, Drug Discovery, will be available to answer questions. Wade Walke, Vice President, Corporate Communications and Investor Relations.

And now Wade, would you please read our forward-looking language statement.

Wade Walke

Thanks, Stan. A reminder to everyone that this conference call includes forward-looking statements regarding the financial outlook for Ionis, Ionis’ business, the business of Akcea Therapeutics and the therapeutic and commercial potential of Ionis’ technologies and products in development. Any statement describing Ionis’ goals, expectations, financial or other projections, intentions or beliefs, including the commercial potential of SPINRAZA, inotersen and volanesorsen, is a forward-looking statement and should be considered an at-risk statement. Such statements are subject to certain risks and uncertainties, particularly those inherent in the process of discovering, developing and commercializing drugs that are safe and effective for use as human therapeutics and any endeavor of building a business around such drugs.

Read the rest of this transcript for free on seekingalpha.com