Wells Fargo top analyst Jim Birchenough recently held diligence calls with five prominent experts in the field of spinal muscular atrophy (SMA) to assess data updates as well as the emerging treatment landscape from Ionis Pharmaceuticals Inc (NASDAQ:IONS).

Overall, Birchenough notes that experts are impressed with SMA-treating nusinersen results, particularly following positive ENDEAR phase 3 results. On back of experts singing the praise of nusinersen, from a commercial perspective as well as from a clinical standpoint, Birchenough reiterates an Outperform rating on shares of IONS. Additionally, the analyst increases his valuation.

Birchenough notes, “We estimate 5000 patients globally with type 1 SMA each year, with 500 in the US and Europe, and expect the EAP program to enroll a large proportion of patients to nusinersen, albeit leaving room for competing gene therapy development. Upcoming NURTURE data in presymptomatic SMA could support earlier adoption and provide a temporary edge over gene therapy competitor AVXS101, but expert feedback suggests that ultimately both drugs may be used in combination for optimal patient benefit. We look to NURTURE update, and ENDEAR study detail to better assess longer prospects to further expand nusinersen commercial potential in type 1 SMA.”

As usual, we like to include the analyst’s track record when reporting on new analyst notes to give a perspective on the effect it has on stock performance According to TipRanks, top five-star analyst Jim Birchenough has achieved a high ranking of #84 out of 4,124 analysts. Birchenough upholds a steady 52% success rate while realizing 20.6% in his yearly returns. When recommending IONS, Birchenough earns 56.4% in average profits on the stock.

TipRanks analytics demonstrate IONS as a Buy. Based on 8 analysts polled in the last 3 months, 3 rate a Buy on IONS, 4 maintain a Hold, while 1 issues a Sell. The 12-month average price target stands at $37.17, marking an 8% upside from where the stock is currently trading.

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