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New Power for Ancient Names in Biotech

Their flagship product, Kynamro, is an apo-B synthesis inhibitor in development for the reduction of low-density lipoprotein cholesterol. The company has collaboration agreements with Biogen Idec to develop and commercialize ISIS-SMNRx for the treatment of spinal muscular atrophy. It's also working with Bristol-Myers Squibb (BMY) to discover, develop, and commercialize antisense drugs targeting proprotein convertase subtilisin/kexin type 9; and Ortho-McNeil-Janssen Pharmaceuticals to discover, develop and commercialize antisense drugs to treat metabolic diseases, including type 2 diabetes.

Isis also has a strategic relationship with Eli Lilly (LLY) for the development of LY2181308, an antisense inhibitor of surviving as well as a strategic alliance with GlaxoSmithKline (GSK) to develop new drugs against targets for rare and serious diseases. These valuable collaborations and strategic relationships put the Carlsbad, Calif.-headquartered Isis on the radar screen of the "Smart Money" and a large number of savvy investors.

There's one big possible "fly-in-the-ointment" so to speak. Another biopharmaceutical named Aegerion Pharmaceutical (AEGR - Get Report) has a similar cholesterol-fighting drug that the FDA is about to anoint as "safe and effective."

On Monday Oct. 15 (a busy day in the world of medical drugs and companies) an FDC regulatory staff report expressed its support of a possible approval of a plan that manages the risks of AEGR's drug, Lomitapide. It combats the most life-threatening forms of extremely high cholesterol levels. An advisory panel will meet Oct. 17 on the drug, which is Aegerion's most promising product candidate, with the FDA scheduled to make a final decision by the end of December.

AEGR shares were up an astounding 12.4% on Monday hitting a new 52-week high of $18.15. ISIS shares rose as well, up as high as $14 intra-day before cooling down after the good news on AEGR's drug.

The chart below compares the 1-year price gains of both ISIS and AEGR to colorfully illustrate how hot the biopharmaceutical sector has been. Biotech and biopharma stocks are in the mid stages of a long-awaited bull market.

ISIS Chart ISIS data by YCharts

Careful investors might want to start nibbling on GILD, ISIS and AEGR on any pullbacks in anticipation of more possible good news about their blockbuster medicines and their potentially life-saving array of yet-to-be-approved products. Accumulate carefully and as Jim Cramer likes to admonish, use limit orders. These kinds of stocks are very volatile.

At of the time of publication the author held no positions in any of the companies mentioned in this article.

Jim Cramer and Stephanie Link actively manage a real money portfolio for his charitable trust- enjoy advance notice of every trade, full access to the portfolio, and deep coverage of the latest economic events and market movements.

This article is commentary by an independent contributor, separate from TheStreet's regular news coverage.
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ISIS $40.97 -0.05%
AEGR $2.85 0.00%
GILD $88.21 0.00%
AAPL $93.74 0.00%
FB $117.58 0.00%


Chart of I:DJI
DOW 17,773.64 -57.12 -0.32%
S&P 500 2,065.30 -10.51 -0.51%
NASDAQ 4,775.3580 -29.9330 -0.62%

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