Sometimes the importance of a clinical trial extends way beyond the specific drug under study.
That’s the case with the Phase II data recently released by Ionis for FIXRx. The trial did show efficacy in the treatment of kidney disease. But the most important results in the trial were what it didn’t show. There was no evidence that patients receiving the drug as part of the trial saw any reduction in platelet levels and no treatment-related bleeding events. Kidney disease can expose patients to a high risk of bleeding events because of defective platelet function so this result is important for the specific drug and the specific condition being treated. But the lack of a meaningful decline in platelet levels also starts to remove some of the worries that hang over all of Ionis’ pipeline. The company’s innovative antisense technology is incredibly promising for a wide range of disease applications, but there’s a worry about the safety of the entire antisense approach. A result like that in this trial removes some of that worry and has already started to lead Wall Street to revise the deep discount that it’s placed on the Ionis pipeline.
The combination of news from clinical trials and the “enthusiasm” for drug and biotech stocks following on Donald Trump’s victory in the Presidential election has produced a massive rally in Ionis Shares. The stock is up 82% from the close on October 28 to the close on November 14. The shares have pulled back a bit recently–falling 2.87% today, November 18, for example. But I think that’s only to be expected after that huge run up in such a short period of time.
Ionis Pharmaceuticals is a member of my Jubak Picks portfolio. Ionis shares are up 80.8% as of the close on November 18 from my purchase on May 22, 2014. As of today, November 18, I’m raising my target price on these shares to $65 from the prior $55 a share.