Although Isis Pharmaceuticals Inc. has invested heavily in its antisense programs in cancer, infectious diseases and autoimmune disorders, a minor bet on antisense compounds for metabolic disorders has yielded a payoff in just 18 months.

Last week, ISIP granted Merck & Co. Inc. (MRK, Whitehouse Station, N.J.) an exclusive license to a preclinical antisense compound for Type II diabetes and obesity. The compound, ISIS 113715, is