Ionis Pharmaceuticals, Inc. IONS announced that it has entered into a collaboration with a private California-based gene editing company, Metagenomi, to add gene editing to its extensive technology platform.
With this partnership, the companies seek to leverage Ionis’ expertise in RNA-targeted therapies with Metagenomi’s next-generation gene editing systems to develop novel gene targets.
Initially, the companies will jointly research and develop investigational drugs for up to four genetic targets, with IONS reserving the right to add four additional targets after reaching certain predetermined development milestones.
Pursuant to the agreement, Ionis will make an upfront payment of $80 million to Metagenomi, as well as potential future milestone payments and royalties.
The collaboration appears to be a good strategic fit for Ionis as it is likely to help the company diversify its vast technology platform of RNA-targeted therapies and deliver precision genetic drugs with gene-editing technology. Genoa.
Shares of Ionis are up 44.8% so far this year against a 29.5% decline in the sector.
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We note that Ionis’ antisense RNA technology has enabled the company to form an impressive set of partnerships with leading drugmakers for the development and commercialization of its drugs.
Ionis has collaboration agreements with pharmaceutical giants such as biogenic BIB, Astra Zeneca AZN and Novartis NVS.
Ionis generates commercial revenue, primarily royalty payments from Biogen’s Spinraza net sales and R&D revenue from partnered drugs.
Biogen is responsible for commercializing Spinraza, which is approved for the treatment of spinal muscular atrophy worldwide. Ionis receives royalties from BIIB on Spinraza sales. The companies are also developing several other candidates, including tofersen for the treatment of SOD1-ALS (amyotrophic lateral sclerosis) and other neurological diseases.
Meanwhile, AstraZeneca and Novartis are Ionis’ partners for pipeline candidates eplontersen and pelacarsen.
Ionis and AZN will file a new drug application seeking approval of eplontersen for TTR polyneuropathy later in 2022. Ionis and AstraZeneca are also developing eplontersen for the treatment of cardiomyopathy in the Phase III CARDIO-TTRansform study.
Ionis and Novartis are evaluating pelacarsen in the Phase III cardiovascular outcomes study, HORIZON, in patients with established cardiovascular disease and elevated lipoprotein(a) or Lp(a).
Ionis currently wears a Zacks Rank #2 (Buy). You can see the full list of today’s Zacks #1 Rank (Strong Buy) stocks here.
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