Biotechnology company Isis Pharmaceuticals Inc. said Monday its fourth-quarter loss widened on a boost in research and development costs.

The company lost $16.8 million, or 17 cents per share, compared with a loss of $10.3 million, or 11 cents per share, a year ago. Revenue rose 9 percent to $32.3 million from $29.6 million, mainly on higher licensing and royalty payments.

Analysts polled by Thomson Reuters expected a loss of 11 cents per share on revenue of $26.8 million.

Operating expenses rose 16 percent to $43.9 million, mainly on research and development costs. The company's lead drug candidate is the potential cholesterol drug mipomersen, which it develops through a partnership with Genzyme Corp.

For the full year, the company earned $155.1 million, or $1.58 per share, compared with a loss of $18.2 million, or 19 cents per share, in 2008. Revenue rose to $121.6 million from $107.2 million.

Isis said it plans to start Phase 2 clinical trials on at least three drugs, including the cancer drug it reacquired from Eli Lilly, in 2010. It expects the increased research and development activities will "modestly" boost operating expenses. Isis also cautioned that revenue from existing partnerships will decline mainly due to completing the amortization of certain upfront fees.

Isis said it expects to report late-stage data on its mipomersen drug in mid-2010 and said Genzyme plans to make regulatory filings for the drug in the U.S. and Europe in the first half of next year.

Shares of Isis Pharmaceuticals rose 25 cents, or 2.8 percent, to close at $9.09. Since peaking at $18.81 last summer, the stock has steadily declined, recently bottoming at $8.59.