Isis Pharmaceuticals, Inc. (NASDAQ:ISIS) and AstraZeneca plc (ADR) (NYSE:AZN) announced a strategic collaboration to discover and develop antisense therapies for cardiovascular, metabolic and renal diseases. The new collaboration builds on a broad existing relationship between the two companies and supports AstraZeneca’s strategic approach in these therapeutic areas using novel RNA-targeted treatments. It also enablesIsis Pharmaceuticals to extend use of its antisense technology to diseases of the kidney.

Antisense drugs are short, chemically modified, single-stranded nucleic acids (antisense oligonucleotides) that have the ability to target any gene product of interest. They offer new opportunities for therapeutic intervention because they act inside the cell to influence protein production by targeting RNA to either prevent the production of disease-causing proteins, increase the production of proteins deficient in disease, or target toxic RNAs that are unable to generate proteins.

AstraZeneca will pay an upfront fee of $65 million to Isis Pharmaceuticals plus development and regulatory milestones for each program that AstraZenecaadvances to clinical development. Isis Pharmaceuticals is also eligible to earn tiered double-digit royalties on annual net sales for each program.

Mene Pangalos, Executive Vice President, Innovative Medicines & Early Development at AstraZeneca, said: “Antisense-based therapies are rapidly gaining momentum in the clinic and becoming an important component of our early stage pipeline. This collaboration combines the world-class antisense drug research capabilities of Isis with our expertise in cardiovascular, metabolic and renal disease drug discovery and development. By working together, we aim to uncover targets and pathways that can be manipulated using antisense drug therapy.”

B. Lynne Parshall, Chief Operating Officer at Isis Pharmaceuticals, said: “This expansion of our collaboration with AstraZeneca establishes our second strategic relationship. This new collaboration will help broaden the application of our antisense technology to targets in the kidney. AstraZeneca is committed to finding novel best-in-class therapies for some of the largest, most complex and fastest growing disease segments in the developed world. Combining our antisense technology with AstraZeneca’s strong knowledge, leadership and commitment in these areas should be very valuable in fully exploiting these opportunities and moving new therapies effectively and efficiently toward the market.”

This transaction is subject to clearances under the Hart-Scott Rodino Antitrust Improvements Act. (Original Source)

Shares of Isis Pharmaceuticals closed last Friday at $54.93 . ISIS has a 1-year high of $77.80 and a 1-year low of $29.17. The stock’s 50-day moving average is $57.20 and its 200-day moving average is $63.70.

On the ratings front, Isis Pharmaceuticals has been the subject of a number of recent research reports. In a report issued on June 23, Needham analyst Chad Messer reiterated a Buy rating on ISIS, with a price target of $91, which represents a potential upside of 65.7% from where the stock is currently trading. Separately, on June 22, Deutsche Bank’s Alethia Young reiterated a Buy rating on the stock and has a price target of $78.

According to, which ranks over 7,500 financial analysts and bloggers to gauge the performance of their past recommendations, Chad Messer and Alethia Young have a total average return of 7.2% and 3.9% respectively. Messer has a success rate of 37.0% and is ranked #969 out of 3722 analysts, while Young has a success rate of 44.4% and is ranked #1501.

Isis Pharmaceuticals Inc is engaged in antisense drug discovery and development, exploiting a novel drug discovery platform it created to generate a broad pipeline of first-in-class drugs.