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San Diego biotech Isis Pharmaceuticals announced before market opening this morning (February 21) that it has had very successful results in early-stage tests for its experimental treatment for spinal muscular atrophy in children.

The stock closed at $59, up 15.53 percent. Its rise is pushing the entire biotech sector up.

Isis has a licensing deal with Cambridge, Massachusetts-based Biogen Idec, which makes regular milestone payments to Isis. The Idec portion of Biogen Idec was formed in San Diego, but then merged with Biogen.

In 2010, the parent company said it was closing down its local operations, resulting in a loss of more than 300 local jobs.

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