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Isis shares jump after experimental drug cuts blood fat

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(Globalpost/GlobalPost)

(Reuters) - Shares of Isis Pharmaceuticals Inc <ISIS.O> rose as much as 24 percent after the drugmaker said its experimental drug reduced triglycerides, a type of fat, in blood and increased the level of "good" cholesterol.

The results were "well beyond expectations and suggest an unprecedented treatment benefit in type 2 diabetics with (high cholesterol levels)," BMO Capital Markets analyst Jim Birchenough said.

"A blockbuster opportunity could emerge," said Birchenough, who forecast the drug's peak sales at about $850 million, if approved.

Isis said on Sunday that its drug cut patients' triglyceride levels by 72 percent and increased high-density lipoprotein cholesterol, or "good cholesterol," levels by 40 percent.

The study, the first of three mid-stage studies, comprised 11 patients and was conducted for 13 weeks.

Needham & Co analyst Chad Messer, who has a "buy" rating on the stock with a target price of $29, said the program is "one of the more significant of many potential drivers for Isis shareholders over the next 12-18 months."

Birchenough has an "outperform" rating on the company's stock with a target price of $31.

Isis shares were up 22 percent at $26.89 on the Nasdaq after touching a 13-year-high of $27.34 on Monday morning.

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration approved Isis' and Sanofi SA's <SASY.PA> Kynamro which targets a rare genetic disorder that causes dangerously high levels of bad cholesterol.

The company has several drug candidates in clinical development in cardiovascular, inflammatory, cancer and other areas. All the drugs are based on Isis' antisense technology — which seeks to prevent the production of proteins involved in the disease.

(Reporting by Pallavi Ail in Bangalore; Editing by Joyjeet Das)

http://www.globalpost.com/dispatch/news/thomson-reuters/130624/isis-shares-jump-after-experimental-drug-cuts-blood-fat