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Akcea Therapeutics Appoints Louis St. L. O'Dea as Chief Medical Officer

CAMBRIDGE, Mass., Jan. 19, 2016 /PRNewswire/ -- Akcea Therapeutics, a subsidiary of Ionis Pharmaceuticals (NASDAQ: IONS) focused on developing and commercializing new treatments for serious cardiometabolic diseases, today announced the appointment of Louis St. L. O'Dea, MB, BCh, BAO, FRCP(C) as the company's Chief Medical Officer.  Dr. O'Dea will lead medical, clinical, and regulatory functions in support of volanesorsen and will also guide development of earlier stage compounds in the Akcea portfolio.   Volanesorsen is currently in Phase 3 trials for two rare, genetic diseases.

"We are extremely fortunate to have Louis join our leadership team as we work to complete late-stage development and prepare for regulatory filings for volanesorsen," said Paula Soteropoulos, President and Chief Executive Officer of Akcea.  "With his breadth and depth of experience in guiding the development and global registration of a wide range of products, he will be a valuable addition to our leadership team as we advance our important drugs through the clinic towards commercialization."

"Akcea Therapeutics has a robust portfolio of development-stage drugs covering multiple targets and disease states using Ionis' RNA-targeted antisense technology," said Dr. O'Dea.  "I am excited to join Akcea and to be a part of a team focused on bringing transformative therapies to patients addressing the root causes of serious, underserved cardiometabolic disorders."

Dr. O'Dea brings to Akcea Therapeutics more than 20 years of worldwide pharmaceutical, medical device, and biotechnology industry experience.  He has led 13 clinical new drug applications (NDAs), including for four orphan drugs and the approval of one medical device. His experience spans the development of protein therapeutics, peptides, small molecules and nucleotides, as well as a broad range of devices and routes of administration.  Prior to joining Akcea, Dr. O'Dea was Chief Medical Officer at Oxford Immunotec.  Prior to that role, he was Chief Medical Officer and Head of Regulatory Affairs at Moderna Therapeutics, a biotech company focused on messenger RNA-based therapeutics.  Before Moderna, Dr. O'Dea was Chief Medical Officer at Radius Health, where he brought a number of molecules through clinical development, including abaloparatide. Dr. O'Dea joined industry from an academic position at McGill University and began his pharmaceutical career at EMD Serono, where he played a major role in the successful development of its reproductive and metabolic disease portfolios. There he advanced through positions of increasing responsibility, including Chief Medical Officer for Japan and Oceania and worldwide Head of Clinical Development for Endocrine and Metabolic products. 

Dr. O'Dea is a board-certified physician in internal medicine and in endocrinology and metabolism in the United States and Canada. He received his MB, BCh, and BAO degrees from University College in Dublin, Ireland, followed by postgraduate training in internal medicine and endocrinology at McGill University and a research and clinical fellowship in reproductive endocrinology at Massachusetts General Hospital.


Akcea Therapeutics is a development and commercialization company focused on transforming the lives of patients with serious cardiometabolic lipid disorders. Established as a wholly-owned subsidiary of Ionis Pharmaceuticals, Inc., Akcea has a robust portfolio of development-stage drugs covering multiple targets and disease states using advanced RNA-targeted antisense therapeutics. Akcea's drug pipeline includes novel antisense drugs designed to address a number of lipid risk factors, including LDL-Cholesterol, apoC-III, triglycerides and Lp(a). Akcea's most advanced program, volanesorsen, is in Phase 3 development to treat patients with ultra-orphan lipid disorders that are characterized by extremely high triglycerides and apoC-III, including familial chylomicronemia syndrome (FCS) and familial partial lipodystrophy (FPL). Akcea is located in Cambridge, Massachusetts. Additional information about Akcea is available at


Ionis is the leading company in RNA-targeted drug discovery and development focused on developing drugs for patients who have the highest unmet medical needs, such as those patients with severe and rare diseases.  Using its proprietary antisense technology, Ionis has created a large pipeline of first-in-class or best-in-class drugs, with over a dozen drugs in mid- to late-stage development.  Drugs currently in Phase 3 development include volanesorsen, a drug Ionis is developing and plans to commercialize through its wholly owned subsidiary, Akcea Therapeutics, to treat patients with familial chylomicronemia syndrome and familial partial lipodystrophy; IONIS-TTRRx, a drug Ionis is developing with GSK to treat patients with all forms of TTR amyloidosis; and nusinersen, a drug Ionis is developing with Biogen to treat infants and children with spinal muscular atrophy.  Ionis' patents provide strong and extensive protection for its drugs and technology.  Additional information about Ionis is available at


This press release includes forward-looking statements regarding Ionis Pharmaceuticals Inc. and its wholly owned subsidiary, Akcea Therapeutics, Inc.  Any statement describing Ionis' goals, expectations, financial or other projections, intentions or beliefs is a forward-looking statement and should be considered an at-risk statement.  Such statements are subject to certain risks and uncertainties, particularly those inherent in the process of discovering, developing and commercializing drugs that are safe and effective for use as human therapeutics, and in the endeavor of building a business around such drugs.  Ionis' forward-looking statements also involve assumptions that, if they never materialize or prove correct, could cause its results to differ materially from those expressed or implied by such forward-looking statements.  Although Ionis' forward-looking statements reflect the good faith judgment of its management, these statements are based only on facts and factors currently known by Ionis.  As a result, you are cautioned not to rely on these forward-looking statements.  These and other risks concerning Ionis' programs are described in additional detail in Ionis' annual report on Form 10-K for the year ended December 31, 2014, and its most recent quarterly report on Form 10-Q, which are on file with the SEC.  Copies of these and other documents are available from the Company.

In December, 2015, the Company changed its name from Isis Pharmaceuticals, Inc. to Ionis Pharmaceuticals, Inc. In this press release, unless the context requires otherwise, "Ionis," "Company," "we," "our," and "us" refers to Ionis Pharmaceuticals and its subsidiaries.

Ionis Pharmaceuticals™ is a trademark of Ionis Pharmaceuticals, Inc.  Akcea Therapeutics™ is a trademark of Ionis Pharmaceuticals, Inc. 

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SOURCE Ionis Pharmaceuticals
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