Ionis Pharmaceuticals Inc (NASDAQ:IONS) shares have plunged by 35% this morning after GlaxoSmithKline (NYSE:GSK), which has an option to exclusively license IONIS-TTRRx, decided not to initiate a Phase 3 study, CARDIO-TTR, which was intended to evaluate IONIS-TTRRx in patients with TTR amyloid cardiomyopathy. In April, the FDA placed the study on clinical hold due to safety findings in another ongoing study, NEURO-TTR. GlaxoSmithKline will consider options for TTR amyloid cardiomyopathy once additional data is available from the ongoing studies.
Dr. Helen Merianos, the Medicine Development Leader for GSK’s TTR amyloidosis program said:
“GSK remains committed to developing innovative medicines for the treatment of amyloidosis and to our ongoing collaboration with Ionis to develop IONIS-TTRRx for TTR amyloidosis. We will assess the results from the NEURO-TTR study to inform our next steps for TTR amyloid cardiomyopathy.”
Despite the setback, BMO Capital Markets analyst Do Kim reiterated an ‘Outperform’ rating and $55 price target on the stock, which now represents upside potential of close to 150%.
You probably know from experience that there is not as much information on small-cap companies as there is on large companies. Of course, this makes it really hard for individual investors to make proper and accurate analyses of certain small-cap companies. However, well-known and successful hedge fund investors like Carl Icahn and George Soros hold the necessary resources and abilities to conduct an extensive stock analysis on small-cap stocks, which enable them to make millions of dollars by identifying potential winners within the small-cap galaxy of stocks. This represents the main reason why Insider Monkey takes notice of the hedge fund activity in these overlooked stocks.
Heading into the second quarter of 2016, a total of 15 of the hedge funds tracked by Insider Monkey were long this stock, a 21% decline from the end of the previous quarter. Those 15 hedge funds held $127 million worth of the company’s shares, amounting to a modest 2.60% of its float. Israel Englander‘s Millennium Management opened a large new position of 1.08 million shares of Ionis Pharmaceuticals Inc (NASDAQ:IONS) during the first quarter, while Sanford J. Colen’s Apex Capital inched its stake up to 1.06 million shares.
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However, there were a handful of funds who sold out of their positions in Ionis Pharmaceuticals Inc (NASDAQ:IONS) during Q1. Paul Marshall and Ian Wace’s Marshall Wace LLP sold off its 128,328 shares during the quarter, while Dmitry Balyasny’s Balyasny Asset Management sold its position of 185,954 shares.