Akcea Stumbles Over Newest Board Addition

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Akcea Therapeutics Inc. (NASDAQ: AKCA) shares pulled back on Monday after the company announced a big change to its board of directors. With this change, Akcea’s management acknowledges that the company is entering a new phase of commercializing drugs with the global approval and launch of Tegsedi (inotersen).

The company announced that Damien McDevitt, Ph.D. chief business officer (CBO) of Ionis Pharmaceuticals, is joining the Akcea board of directors to replace Ionis founder, board chair and CEO Stanley T. Crooke, M.D., Ph.D., who has resigned from Akcea’s board of directors.

As Ionis’s CBO, McDevitt is responsible for leading the company’s corporate development activities, including business development, competitive intelligence, alliance management investor relations and corporate communications.

Paula Soteropoulos, CEO of Akcea, commented:

We thank Stan for his leadership in founding Akcea and leading it to this key point in our maturation. His impact on Akcea has been immeasurable. Though he is leaving our board, we know he will remain keenly interested in the company’s progress as Ionis is our most important partner and our largest shareholder. We will continue to benefit from his insights as we advance in our mission to bring transformative medicines to patients with unmet medical needs.

Excluding Monday’s move, Akcea has underperformed the broad markets, with the stock up only 9% in the past 52 weeks. However, in just 2018 alone, the stock is up 83.5%.

Shares of Akcea were last seen down about 10% at $28.65, with a consensus analyst price target of $40.50 and a 52-week range of $15.20 to $40.75.