Ionis Pharmaceuticals, Inc. (IONS) Downgraded by Zacks Investment Research

Zacks Investment Research lowered shares of Ionis Pharmaceuticals, Inc. (NASDAQ:IONS) from a buy rating to a hold rating in a report released on Thursday morning.

According to Zacks, “Ionis Pharmaceuticals, Inc. is a RNA-targeted drug discovery and development company which focuses on developing drugs for severe and rare diseases. Ionis Pharmaceuticals, Inc., formerly known as Isis Pharmaceuticals, Inc., is headquartered in Carlsbad, California. “

Several other analysts also recently commented on IONS. Needham & Company LLC reaffirmed a buy rating and set a $64.00 price objective on shares of Ionis Pharmaceuticals in a research note on Tuesday, October 17th. Jefferies Group LLC reaffirmed an underperform rating and set a $18.00 price objective (up from $17.00) on shares of Ionis Pharmaceuticals in a research note on Thursday, August 10th. Laidlaw reaffirmed a buy rating and set a $65.00 price objective on shares of Ionis Pharmaceuticals in a research note on Monday, August 14th. Sanford C. Bernstein assumed coverage on Ionis Pharmaceuticals in a research note on Thursday, July 27th. They set a market perform rating and a $57.00 price objective for the company. Finally, BMO Capital Markets upped their price objective on Ionis Pharmaceuticals from $67.00 to $69.00 and gave the company an outperform rating in a research note on Monday, August 14th. Three analysts have rated the stock with a sell rating, six have assigned a hold rating, six have assigned a buy rating and one has given a strong buy rating to the stock. The stock currently has a consensus rating of Hold and an average target price of $49.64.

Shares of Ionis Pharmaceuticals (IONS) traded up 3.83% on Thursday, hitting $56.40. The stock had a trading volume of 1,483,919 shares. The firm has a market cap of $7.01 billion, a PE ratio of 271.15 and a beta of 3.12. Ionis Pharmaceuticals has a 52-week low of $24.58 and a 52-week high of $65.51. The firm’s 50-day moving average price is $56.61 and its 200 day moving average price is $51.14.

Ionis Pharmaceuticals (NASDAQ:IONS) last posted its earnings results on Tuesday, August 8th. The company reported ($0.09) earnings per share for the quarter, missing the Thomson Reuters’ consensus estimate of ($0.06) by ($0.03). Ionis Pharmaceuticals had a net margin of 5.25% and a return on equity of 15.52%. The firm had revenue of $104.15 million during the quarter, compared to analysts’ expectations of $93.29 million. During the same period in the previous year, the firm posted ($0.47) earnings per share. The firm’s revenue for the quarter was up 170.7% on a year-over-year basis. On average, equities research analysts predict that Ionis Pharmaceuticals will post ($0.17) EPS for the current year.

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In other news, COO B Lynne Parshall sold 16,118 shares of the firm’s stock in a transaction on Wednesday, October 18th. The stock was sold at an average price of $65.00, for a total transaction of $1,047,670.00. Following the sale, the chief operating officer now owns 33,526 shares in the company, valued at $2,179,190. The transaction was disclosed in a legal filing with the Securities & Exchange Commission, which is available through the SEC website. Also, Chairman Stanley T. Crooke sold 27,500 shares of the firm’s stock in a transaction on Wednesday, October 4th. The stock was sold at an average price of $52.89, for a total value of $1,454,475.00. The disclosure for this sale can be found here. Insiders have sold 97,636 shares of company stock worth $5,665,565 in the last 90 days. Insiders own 2.13% of the company’s stock.

Several institutional investors and hedge funds have recently modified their holdings of IONS. BlackRock Inc. raised its position in shares of Ionis Pharmaceuticals by 37,569.7% in the 1st quarter. BlackRock Inc. now owns 6,559,808 shares of the company’s stock worth $263,704,000 after buying an additional 6,542,394 shares during the period. State Street Corp raised its position in shares of Ionis Pharmaceuticals by 20.5% in the 1st quarter. State Street Corp now owns 3,340,471 shares of the company’s stock worth $134,285,000 after buying an additional 567,792 shares during the period. Vanguard Group Inc. raised its position in shares of Ionis Pharmaceuticals by 4.4% in the 2nd quarter. Vanguard Group Inc. now owns 9,855,160 shares of the company’s stock worth $501,332,000 after buying an additional 417,364 shares during the period. First Trust Advisors LP raised its position in shares of Ionis Pharmaceuticals by 40.2% in the 3rd quarter. First Trust Advisors LP now owns 982,344 shares of the company’s stock worth $49,805,000 after buying an additional 281,733 shares during the period. Finally, Smith Asset Management Group LP purchased a new position in shares of Ionis Pharmaceuticals in the 2nd quarter worth $11,394,000. 89.21% of the stock is currently owned by institutional investors and hedge funds.

About Ionis Pharmaceuticals

Ionis Pharmaceuticals, Inc is engaged in discovering and developing ribonucleic acid (RNA)-targeted therapeutics. The Company, using its drug discovery platform, has developed a pipeline of drugs for patients with unmet medical needs. The Company’s segments include Ionis Core and Akcea Therapeutics. In the Ionis Core segment, the Company is engaged in exploiting a drug discovery platform to generate a pipeline of drugs for the Company and its partners.

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