Ionis Pharmaceuticals, Inc. (IONS)

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Ionis Pharmaceuticals (IONS)

Q1 2018 Earnings Conference Call

May 04, 2018 11:30 AM ET


Wade Walke - IR

Stan Crooke - CEO

Beth Hougen - CFO

Sarah Boyce - President of Akcea Therapeutics

Brett Monia - COO


Jessica Fye - JPMorgan

Yale Jen - Laidlaw & Company

Stephen Willey - Stifel

Gena Wang - Barclays

Laura Christianson - Cowen



Good morning and welcome to Ionis Pharmaceuticals First Quarter 2018 Financial Results Conference Call. As a reminder, this call is being recorded.

At this time, I would like to turn the call over to Wade Walke, Vice President, Corporate Communications and Investor Relations to lead off the call. Please begin.

Wade Walke

Thank you, Brian. Before we begin, I encourage everyone to go to the investors section of the Ionis website to find the press release and related financial tables, including a reconciliation of the GAAP to pro forma financial measures that we will discuss today. We believe pro forma financial results better represent the economics of our business and how we manage our business. We have also posted slides on our website that accompany our discussion today.

Before I introduce our speakers for the call today, I would like to introduce you to the latest member of our communications team. Roslyn Patterson has joined us as Vice President of Communications. She will be working closely with me to strengthen our Investor Relations and Communications functions and we are already working closely on this front.

Now, let me introduce the speakers for the call today. With me today are Stan Crooke, Chairman of the Board and Chief Executive Officer; Beth Hougen, our Chief Financial Officer; Sarah Boyce, President of Akcea Therapeutics and Brett Monia, Chief Operating Officer.

I would like to point out that today, we will be making forward-looking statements, which are based on our current expectations and beliefs. These statements are subject to certain risks and uncertainties and our actual results may differ materially. I encourage you to consult our risk factors discussed in the SEC filings that we have on our website or available from the company for additional detail.

With that, I'll turn the call over to Stan.

Stan Crooke

Thanks, Wade and good morning and thanks everyone for joining us on today’s call. And let me add my welcome to Roslyn, delighted to have you join us Ros.

Before we get into our financial results, let me start with the news on inotersen, which we now refer to by its commercial name TEGSEDI. As Akcea announced yesterday, the FDA decided they needed additional time to review the TEGSEDI NDA and the data analysis we provided them and responses to their standard information requests. The new PDUFA date is October 6, 2018. We are confident that TEGSEDI will be highly competitive in the marketplace. The early access program is continuing to enroll patients and the demand continues to be high. The Akcea team is ready to launch as soon as TEGSEDI is approved.

Now, turning to our first quarter earnings update. We began 2018 in our strongest position ever, both operationally and financially on the verge of becoming a multiproduct profitable company with innovation at our core. Since our last earnings call, we further strengthened our financial position and we continue to be profitable with pro forma operating profit in the first quarter of 2018 of 25 million, driven by a 25% increase in revenue compared to the first quarter last year. We earned 144 million of revenue and we ended the first quarter with more than $1 billion in cash.

Plus, we received a $1 billion payment from Biogen, under our expanded collaboration for neurological disease for approximately $2 billion in cash. This increase financial strength reflects the value of our antisense technology and the pipeline we've created combined with our development and commercialization strategy in which we create tailored plans for each of our drugs.

We consider the efficiency and breadth of opportunity of our antisense technology to be two of the strategic advantages of technology. By using the technology to its fullest to create a very large, diverse and broad innovative pipeline, we transform the strategic advantages of the technology into the largest possible strategic business advantage, as we convert those drugs in the pipeline to a large product line. We then leverage those strategic advantages massively by coupling them to our partnering strategy.

By partnering those opportunities that need a large infrastructure to develop and commercialize, while retaining opportunities that can be developed and commercialized with our infrastructure. In that way, we maximize the opportunities, while minimizing risk. Recent extension and expansion for Biogen research collaboration in neurological diseases and our investment in commercialization of TEGSEDI globally through our affiliate Akcea are excellent examples of our strategy and action.

Our development and commercialization strategy is designed to maximize the potential benefit to patients, maximize the potential for success of each drug, optimize our participation in the commercial success of these drugs and then fully exploit the breadth of the opportunity provided by our antisense technology. Our strategy is succeeded in delivering on these goals today.

We have demonstrated the value of antisense technology to patients in many therapeutic areas. Our research collaborations are more strategic in nature and are focused on advancing our technology in select therapeutic areas, such as neurological diseases and cancer. These therapeutic areas share many similar characteristics. It represents enormous therapeutic spaces. They involve multiple targets and a variety of diseases or disease manifestations. This means that they often require ID specialized knowledge about many diseases, access to and understanding of a wide range of complex disease models and experience with clinical testing paradigms, novel approaches to measuring pharmacological benefit.

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