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Antares Pharma Inc (ATRS), ISIS Pharmaceuticals, Inc. (ISIS), Ligand Pharmaceuticals Inc. (LGND): 3 Pharma Stocks You Need to Watch for the Rest of 2013

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It’s hard to believe, but 2013 is already more than halfway over. This year has been a good one for many pharmaceutical stocks — at least so far. No one knows what the remainder of the year holds in store, but some pharma stocks are sure to move one way or the other based on big upcoming events. Here are three pharma stocks you need to watch for the rest of 2013.

1. Antares Pharma Inc (NASDAQ:ATRS)
Antares has experienced a roller-coaster ride so far this year. The stock was up more than 10% early in January, then proceeded to fall by more than 20% by late February. Since then, Antares Pharma Inc (NASDAQ:ATRS) has clawed its way back and now stands up a little over 10% for the year.

The big event on the calendar for Antares Pharma Inc (NASDAQ:ATRS) is the Food and Drug Administration decision on Otrexup scheduled for Oct. 14. Otrexup allows patients to self-administer methotrexate for treating rheumatoid arthritis and psoriasis. Methotrexate is widely used in the treatment of rheumatoid arthritis and other autoimmune diseases. Otrexup uses Antares Pharma Inc (NASDAQ:ATRS)’s Medi-Jet technology, which has a shielded needle that makes it easier for patients to self-administer the drug.

Otrexup is more convenient than taking methotrexate via regular injection methods. Methotrexate can be taken orally, but patients can experience gastrointestinal side effects, and absorption of the drug tends to decrease as dosage levels increase. Otrexup should prove appealing to patients, assuming it gets cleared for commercialization. I expect the FDA approval to come through and that Antares Pharma Inc (NASDAQ:ATRS) shares will get a nice bump later this year.

2. ISIS Pharmaceuticals, Inc. (NASDAQ:ISIS)
ISIS Pharmaceuticals, Inc. (NASDAQ:ISIS) shareholders are likely thrilled with 2013 thus far. The stock has soared over 170% year-to-date. These huge gains were driven primarily by FDA approval of Kynamro in January for treating rare disease homozygous familial hypercholesterolemia, or HoFH. More recently, ISIS Pharmaceuticals, Inc. (NASDAQ:ISIS) shares jumped on positive mid-stage data for its ISIS-APOCIII Rx drug, which targets treatment of patients with high triglycerides and type 2 diabetes.

ISIS Pharmaceuticals, Inc.

There are plenty of catalysts remaining for ISIS Pharmaceuticals, Inc. (NASDAQ:ISIS) throughout the remainder of 2013. The company is expected to announce mid-stage clinical results for several experimental drugs, including ISIS-CRPRx for rheumatoid arthritis, ISIS-FXIRx for clotting disorders in patients undergoing knee replacement surgery, ISIS-EIF4ERx for lung cancer and prostate cancer, OGX-427 for metastatic castration-resistant prostate cancer, and iCo-007 for diabetic macular edema. Yep, the folks at ISIS Pharmaceuticals, Inc. (NASDAQ:ISISare quite busy these days.

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