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Watch me launch

Investors front-run Kynamro launch with $171M for Isis

Isis Pharmaceuticals Inc. (NASDAQ:ISIS) didn't wait for investors to learn launch details of hypercholesterolemia drug Kynamro mipomersen. Instead, the biotech took advantage of recent share price gains to raise $171 million in the largest follow-on this quarter.

In March, the Genzyme Corp. unit of Sanofi (Euronext:SAN; NYSE:SNY) launched Kynamro in the U.S. to treat homozygous familial hypercholesterolemia (hoFH). Neither Isis nor Genzyme, which has rights from Isis, divulged details in earnings announcements this month.

On an analyst call, Isis said the launch is "going very well."

"There are many physicians qualified under the REMS program, payers are granting reimbursement for Kynamro and there are a number of scripts written," said COO Lynne Parshall. "It's too early in the launch to be providing a lot of granularity about this progress, but we're excited."

Sanofi CEO Christopher Viehbacher sent a more somber message on his quarterly call, saying the launch "is going to be a very slow build, I mean very expensive; getting reimbursement, finding the patients is something that is going to take some time."

Competitor Aegerion Pharmaceuticals Inc. (NASDAQ:AEGR) reported $1.2 million in 1Q13 net product sales for its hoFH product, Juxtapid lomitapide, which launched in the U.S. in late January. Aegerion said it expects global net product sales of $15-$25 million in 2013 from 250-300 patients receiving the oral small molecule inhibitor of microsomal triglyceride transfer protein (MTP).

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