Ionis Pharmaceuticals Inc (NASDAQ:IONS) announced that the Company expects to significantly improve upon its 2016 financial guidance.  Ionis expects to end 2016 with pro forma net operating income in the low to mid $20 million range and more than $650 million in cash.  The Company’s significantly improved financial guidance is the result of numerous accomplishments across all areas of its business, most notably the recent approval of SPINRAZA for the treatment of spinal muscular atrophy in pediatric and adult patients.

“2016 was marked by major regulatory and development achievements with SPINRAZA and the continued success in advancing our pipeline of drugs to treat both rare and more prevalent diseases across multiple therapeutic areas.  In 2016, we generated more than $340 million in revenue, including more than $150 million in the fourth quarter,” said Elizabeth L. Hougen, chief financial officer at Ionis Pharmaceuticals.  “As a result of our business accomplishments, we expect to end 2016 with pro forma net operating income in the low to mid $20 million range, a significant improvement over our original guidance of a pro forma net operating loss in the low $60 million range.  In 2016, we received $280 million from our partners to end the year with more than $650 million in cash, substantially exceeding our year-end cash guidance by more than $50 million.  We believe our strong financial position will enable us to continue to execute on our corporate goals throughout 2017.  Importantly, we look forward to adding commercial revenue from SPINRAZA to our existing base of partner revenue this year.”

“The U.S. approval of SPINRAZA is truly a landmark event for infants, children and adults with spinal muscular atrophy and their families, and we look forward to the therapeutic benefit SPINRAZA can provide to patients with this devastating disease,” said B. Lynne Parshall, chief operating officer at Ionis Pharmaceuticals.  “Looking ahead, we expect 2017 to be a transformational year with two Phase 3 studies completing, and the addition of commercial revenues from SPINRAZA.  We and Akcea plan to report pivotal data from the Phase 3 APPROACH study evaluating volanesorsen in patients with familial chylomicronemia syndrome in the first quarter of 2017.  Akcea is gearing up to rapidly complete regulatory submissions for volanesorsen in the U.S., E.U., and Canada upon positive data and is poised for the launch of its first commercial drug.  In the second quarter of 2017, we and our partner GSK look forward to announcing Phase 3 results from the NEURO-TTR study with IONIS-TTRRx in patients with familial amyloid polyneuropathy.  We and GSK are well along in preparing for the launch of IONIS-TTRRx.” (Original Source)

Shares of Ionis Pharmaceuticals closed today at $47.83, up $0.74 or +1.57%. IONS has a 1-year high of $59.04 and a 1-year low of $19.59. The stock’s 50-day moving average is $47.48 and its 200-day moving average is $34.84.

On the ratings front, Ionis Pharmaceuticals has been the subject of a number of recent research reports. In a report released today, BMO analyst Do Kim reiterated a Buy rating on IONS. Separately, on the same day, Jefferies Co.’s Eun Yang reiterated a Sell rating on the stock and has a price target of $17.

According to TipRanks.com, which ranks over 7,500 financial analysts and bloggers to gauge the performance of their past recommendations, Do Kim and Eun Yang have a yearly average return of 4.8% and 0.7% respectively. Kim has a success rate of 54% and is ranked #1676 out of 4348 analysts, while Yang has a success rate of 51% and is ranked #2035.

Overall, one research analyst has rated the stock with a Sell rating, 4 research analysts have assigned a Hold rating and 5 research analysts have given a Buy rating to the stock. When considering if perhaps the stock is under or overvalued, the average price target is $47.00 which is -5.9% under where the stock opened today.

Ionis Pharmaceuticals, Inc. engages in the development and commercialization of antisense drug discovery. It operates its business through the Ionis Core and Akea Therapeutics segments. The Ionis Core segment involves a a novel drug discovery platform generate a broad pipeline of drugs. The Akea Therapeutics segment develops and commercializes drugs for cardiometabolic disorders.