AP News

Isis Pharma slumps following analyst downgrade

NEW YORK (AP) — Shares of Isis Pharmaceuticals Inc. have nearly doubled in value over the last three months, but the stock dropped Thursday after downgrade from a Jefferies & Co. analyst.

THE SPARK: Analyst Eun Yang downgraded the shares to "Underperform" from "Buy," saying the facts about Isis have not changed much even though its stock price has surged. Yang said potential positives for the company, like favorable regulatory reviews for its drug Kynamro, are now included in the stock price, and risks like delays or negative opinions could hurt the stock. She added that the launch of Kynamro in Europe will be slower than Wall Street expects.

Yang said the stock is trading well above her target price of $10 per share.

THE BIG PICTURE: Kynamro is designed to treat a rare genetic condition that causes very high levels of "bad" LDL cholesterol. Isis and Genzyme filed for European Union marketing approval of the drug in July 2011, and they asked filed for U.S. approval in March 2012. Isis expects EU regulators to approve the drug before the end of 2012, and the FDA is scheduled to return a decision in late January.

Yang said advisory panels could make recommendations that have major effects on Isis shares before the final reviews are completed.

SHARE ACTION: Isis shares fell $1.15, or 8.2 percent, to $12.87 in afternoon trading. The stock is up 98 percent since April 19.

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