Ionis Pharmaceuticals Inc Receives a Hold from Leerink Swann

By Carrie Williams

Leerink Swann analyst Paul Matteis reiterated a Hold rating on Ionis Pharmaceuticals Inc (NASDAQ: IONS) yesterday and set a price target of $40. The company’s shares opened today at $40.25.

Matteis said:

“We are assuming coverage of IONS from our colleague Michael Schmidt with a Market Perform rating and a $40 price target. IONS is a leading biotechnology company in the antisense oligonucleotide (ASO)-based therapeutics space. On the positive side, we expect IONS investors (via royalties) to participate in what may be one of the most exciting drug launches of 2017 – nusinersen, partnered with BIIB [OP] for Type 1 and 2 spinal muscular atrophy (SMA). Moreover, we are positive on IONS’s expanding neuro franchise, as we believe serious CNS disease represents an ideal area for antisense therapies: many of these indications are driven by simple, well understood genetics, and the central compartment is largely insulated from the immune system which allows for lower dosing, better safety and fewer side effects. Conversely, our neutral view on the stock is driven by counterbalancing caution surrounding not fully understood platelet count drops seen on key assets IONIS-TTRrx (TTR amyloidosis) and volanesorsen (FCS), as well as a generally more skeptical view on the size of the commercial opportunity for injectable antisense drugs in rare metabolic diseases.”

According to, Matteis is a 4-star analyst with an average return of 6.8% and a 56.5% success rate. Matteis covers the Healthcare sector, focusing on stocks such as Aquinox Pharmaceuticals, Paratek Pharmaceuticals, and ACADIA Pharmaceuticals.

Currently, the analyst consensus on Ionis Pharmaceuticals Inc is Moderate Buy and the average price target is $44, representing a 9.3% upside.

In a report issued on November 9, J.P. Morgan also reiterated a Hold rating on the stock with a $35 price target.

The company has a one year high of $63.71 and a one year low of $19.59. Currently, Ionis Pharmaceuticals Inc has an average volume of 2.16M.

Based on the recent corporate insider activity of 48 insiders, corporate insider sentiment is positive on the stock. This means that over the past quarter there has been an increase of insiders buying their shares of IONS in relation to earlier this year. Most recently, in February 2016, Spencer Berthelsen, a Director at IONS bought 12,500 shares for a total of $74,125.

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. The company was founded by Stanley T. Crooke in January 1989 and is headquartered in Carlsbad, CA.