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Deals with Empirico and Aro to help Ionis bring new targets, tissues to early-stage pipeline

BIOCENTURY—Ionis is turning to two young biotechs to build off the success of its antisense oligonucleotides and expand the reach of its platform. The company announced a pair of deals with Empirico and Aro on Thursday, designed to bring antisense therapeutics into new tissues and indications.

The deals see the tables turned for Ionis Pharmaceuticals Inc. (NASDAQ:IONS), a company that survived for years through deals in which it was the smaller partner.

With mounting clinical validation and a growing list of drug approvals, Ionis is leveraging the gains to improve its technology and bring the modality into new indications through deals that will also help its biotech partners advance their platforms.

“I would characterize these types of collaborations as those that augment the antisense technology to broaden the scope of the types of medicines we’ll be able to deliver in the future,” said Ionis CEO Brett Monia.

In one deal, Ionis teamed up with newly launched Empirico Inc. to identify new targets and tissues for antisense oligonucleotides using the startup’s Precision Insights Platform…

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