Market Overview

Ionis provides third quarter financial results and improved 2019 guidance


CARLSBAD, Calif., Nov. 6, 2019 /PRNewswire/ -- Ionis Pharmaceuticals, Inc. (NASDAQ:IONS) today reported its financial results for the third quarter and year-to-date 2019 and recent business highlights.

(PRNewsfoto/Ionis Pharmaceuticals, Inc.)

"Our commitment to innovation and to advancing our antisense technology has enabled us to produce a broad pipeline of potentially transformational medicines for patients with rare and common diseases. Our commercial medicines, SPINRAZA, TEGSEDI and WAYLIVRA, are important examples of the life-changing potential of our pipeline. In early October, we licensed AKCEA-ANGPTL3-LRx to Pfizer, which plans to develop it for the millions of people with certain cardiovascular and metabolic diseases. The favorable up-front and back-end economics we achieved with this transaction, coupled with the recent commitments by Novartis, Bayer and GSK to advance our medicines for broad patient populations, reflect the substantial and increasing value of our technology," said Stanley T. Crooke, M.D., Ph.D., chairman of the board and chief executive officer of Ionis. "Our significantly improved financial guidance is a result of the substantial economics we can command for our medicines and technology. As we continue to advance our pipeline and technology, we aim to deliver even greater value to patients and shareholders. In keeping with that goal, our board of directors has authorized a share repurchase program."

Revised 2019 Financial Guidance

The Company's revised full year 2019 financial guidance consists of the following components (on a non-GAAP basis):

Improved Guidance

Previous Guidance

Total Revenue

~$1 billion

>$725 million

R&D Expenses


~$360 million to $390 million

SG&A Expenses


~$260 million to $290 million

Operating Income

>$375 million

>$100 million

Net Income

>$300 million

achieve net income

Cash and Short-Term Investments

~$2.2 billion

~$2 billion

"Our strong financial results put us on track to achieve $1 billion in revenue and more than $300 million in net income this year. Our strong financial position is driven by growth in our commercial revenues primarily from SPINRAZA's continued blockbuster performance and substantial R&D revenues from our numerous partnerships, including our recent Pfizer collaboration. Based on these strong results, we are substantially increasing our 2019 revenue, operating income and net income guidance. We plan to deliver these full year results while continuing to invest aggressively in commercializing TEGSEDI and WAYLIVRA and advancing our pipeline and technology. Our ability to achieve these successes while maintaining a strong balance sheet and delivering value to patients and shareholders continues to set us apart from our peers," said Elizabeth L. Hougen, chief financial officer of Ionis.

Year-to-Date 2019 Financial Results and Highlights

  • Revenues for the first nine months ended September 30, 2019 increased by more than 50 percent, driven by SPINRAZA's continued blockbuster performance and increasing R&D revenue
    • Commercial revenue from SPINRAZA® (nusinersen) royalties increased by more than 25 percent to $212 million compared to 2018.
    • Product sales from TEGSEDI® (inotersen) and WAYLIVRA® (volanesorsen) were $29 million.
    • R&D revenue increased by more than 65 percent to $377 million compared to 2018.
  • On track to achieve the fourth consecutive year of operating income and third consecutive year of net income, both on a non-GAAP basis
    • Operating income and net income significantly improved to $105 million and $110 million, respectively, compared to 2018, on a GAAP basis.
    • Non-GAAP operating income increased by more than 8-fold compared to 2018.
    • Non-GAAP net income increased by more than 4-fold compared to 2018.
  • Maintained substantial cash position of $2.2 billion for the third quarter
  • Ionis' board of directors approved an initial share repurchase program of up to $125 million. The company may consider additional share repurchases in the future as part of the company's overall capital allocation strategy.

All non-GAAP amounts referred to in this press release exclude non-cash compensation expense related to equity awards. Please refer to the reconciliation of non-GAAP and GAAP measures, which is provided later in this release.

"With Phase 3 programs for AKCEA-APO(a)-LRx and AKCEA-TTR-LRx expected to begin soon, we are on track to achieve our goal of advancing four late-stage medicines into Phase 3 development this year. These programs, together with our medicines for Huntington's disease and SOD1-ALS, represent significant commercial opportunities. We had multiple new medicines enter development, including our medicine targeting LRRK2 for the treatment of people with Parkinson's disease. We also added multiple wholly owned programs to our already broad pipeline," said Brett P. Monia, chief operating officer at Ionis. "We are looking forward to numerous upcoming data events through the middle of next year, including Phase 2 data for AKCEA-ANGPTL3-LRx and AKCEA-APOCIII-LRx. We are also excited to report data from our aerosol-delivered medicine for cystic fibrosis, which has the potential to broaden the reach of our technology to treat diseases of the lung."

Recent Business Highlights

  • SPINRAZA – global foundation-of-care for the treatment of patients of all ages with spinal muscular atrophy (SMA)
    • Worldwide sales of SPINRAZA in the first nine months of 2019 increased by nearly 25 percent to over $1.5 billion compared to last year.
    • Patients on SPINRAZA treatment increased by approximately 11 percent compared to last quarter to approximately 9,300 patients across global commercial, clinical and expanded access settings.
    • Biogen plans to initiate the Phase 2/3 DEVOTE study evaluating the safety and potential to achieve increased efficacy with a higher dose of SPINRAZA in SMA patients of all ages, including adults.
    • Biogen presented new long-term follow up data from NURTURE and SHINE, adding to the body of evidence underscoring SPINRAZA's durable efficacy and established safety profile across a broad range of SMA patients.
      • NURTURE: Data from pre-symptomatic infants treated for up to nearly four years demonstrating consistent safety and unprecedented motor milestone achievement compared to natural history were published online in Neuromuscular Disorders.
      • SHINE: Data demonstrating continuing improvement or stabilization in one or more measures of motor function in patients with later-onset SMA treated with SPINRAZA for up to nearly six years were presented at the annual Congress of the European Pediatric Neurology Society.
  • TEGSEDI – launched in multiple markets for the treatment of polyneuropathy of hereditary transthyretin amyloidosis (hATTR) in adult patients
    • Approved in Brazil and preparing to launch through PTC Therapeutics
    • First commercial patients treated in the United Kingdom following acceptance by the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE) and the Scottish Medicines Consortium (SMC)
    • Successfully completed pricing negotiations in Germany
    • Launched in Sweden and Austria following successful completion of reimbursement negotiations
    • Preparing to launch in additional EU countries
  • WAYLIVRA – launched in the EU for the treatment of adults with genetically confirmed familial chylomicronemia syndrome (FCS) at high risk for pancreatitis
    • First commercial patients treated in Germany, and a reimbursed early access program (ATU) launched in France
    • Preparing to launch in additional EU countries
    • Published results from Phase 3 APPROACH study in patients with FCS in The New England Journal of Medicine (NEJM)
    • Reported top-line results from the BROADEN study of WAYLIVRA in patients with familial partial lipodystrophy (FPL), which met the primary endpoint and a key secondary endpoint
  • Biogen Collaboration – Developing robust pipeline of medicines for the treatment of neurological diseases
    • Dosed the first patient in a Phase 1/2 study targeting LRRK2 for the treatment of people with Parkinson's disease
    • Advanced multiple programs, with eight programs now in development
  • Ionis and Akcea generated $250 million when Pfizer licensed AKCEA-ANGPTL3-LRx to treat patients with certain cardiovascular and metabolic diseases.
    • The companies are eligible to receive up to $1.3 billion in milestone payments plus tiered double-digit royalties on worldwide net sales.
    • Ionis' 50 percent portion of the $250 million license fee is expected to be settled in Akcea common stock, demonstrating Ionis' confidence in the future of Akcea.
  • Ionis earned a $25 million license fee from GSK to develop and commercialize Ionis' program for the treatment of people with chronic hepatitis B virus infection.
  • Ionis generated $10 million from Bayer to advance IONIS-FXI-LRx for the treatment of people with clotting disorders.
  • Akcea and Ionis presented data from the Phase 1/2 study of AKCEA-TTR-LRx in healthy volunteers demonstrating >90 percent target reduction and a positive safety profile at the European ATTR Amyloidosis meeting and at the Heart Failure Society of America.
  • Roche expanded enrollment in the GENERATION HD1 Phase 3 study of IONIS-HTTRx (RG6042) in patients with Huntington's disease (HD).
  • Ionis initiated a Phase 2 study of IONIS-FB-LRx in patients with IgA nephropathy, the second disease indication under its collaboration with Roche to develop the medicine for complement-mediated diseases.

Key Upcoming Events

  • Ionis and GSK plan to report data from the HBV clinical program at the AASLD Liver Meeting in November 2019.
  • Ionis and Akcea plan to initiate the Phase 3 program for AKCEA-TTR-LRx in the fourth quarter of 2019.
  • Novartis plans to begin enrolling patients in the Phase 3 HORIZON cardiovascular outcomes study of AKCEA-APO(a)-LRx.
  • Akcea and Ionis plan to report top line results from Phase 2 studies of AKCEA-ANGPTL3-LRx and AKCEA-APOCIII-LRx in early 2020.
  • Ionis plans to report data from healthy volunteers evaluated in a Phase 1 study of IONIS-ENaC-2.5Rx, an aerosol-delivered medicine in development for the treatment of people with cystic fibrosis.
  • Roche plans to present data from the open-label extension portion of the Phase 1/2 study of IONIS-HTTRx (RG6042) and natural history study in patients with Huntington's disease.


Ionis' revenue increased by more than 50 percent for the first nine months of 2019 compared to the same period in 2018 and was comprised of the following (amounts in millions):

Three months ended,

Nine months ended

September 30,

September 30,






     Commercial revenue:

SPINRAZA royalties





Product sales, net





Licensing and royalty revenue





Total commercial revenue


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