Vertex Pharmaceuticals Incorporated (NASDAQ:VRTX) announced that the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has accepted for review a supplemental New Drug Application (sNDA) for the use of KALYDECO® (ivacaftor) in people with cystic fibrosis (CF) ages 2 and older who have one of 23 residual function mutations. The FDA granted Vertex’s request for Priority Review of this sNDA, and a target review date of February 6, 2016was set under the Prescription Drug User Fee Act (PDUFA) for the FDA’s decision on the sNDA. The submission was based on preclinical and clinical data showing the effect of ivacaftor on CFTR function in certain residual function mutations.

“Given the severity of cystic fibrosis, we are committed to getting KALYDECO to more people as quickly as possible,” said Jeffrey Chodakewitz, M.D., Executive Vice President and Chief Medical Officer at Vertex. “Based on the established safety profile of KALYDECO and our increasing understanding of the biology of these specific residual function mutations and their response to ivacaftor, we believe that people with these mutations would benefit from treatment with this medicine.”

The sNDA was based on preclinical data for ivacaftor in the 23 residual function mutations, the established clinical profile of KALYDECO and on previously reported data from an exploratory Phase 2a study in 24 people with residual function mutations. In 19 of the 24 patients enrolled in this study, 8 of the 23 mutations proposed in the sNDA were represented.

CF is caused by defective or missing cystic fibrosis transmembrane conductance regulator (CFTR) proteins resulting from mutations in the CFTR gene. The defective or missing proteins result in poor flow of salt (chloride) and water into and out of the cell in a number of organs, including the lungs. Chloride transport is a marker of the function of the CFTR protein at the cell surface. KALYDECO is currently approved to treat people with CF ages 2 and older who have one of 10 mutations in the CFTR gene (G551D, G1244E, G1349D, G178R, G551S, S1251N, S1255P, S549N, S549R or R117H). As with the mutations for which KALYDECO is currently approved, the 23 residual function mutations in the sNDA are known to have some CFTR protein at the cell surface and have shown in vitro increases in chloride transport in response to ivacaftor in cells expressing the CFTR form produced by each mutation, characteristics associated with clinical response to KALYDECO. Similar to the R117H mutation for which KALYDECO was previously approved, these 23 mutations result in a moderate loss of CFTR chloride transport, and people with these mutations generally have progressive lung function decline and other complications of CF.

There are more than 1,500 people ages 2 and older with CF in the United States who have one of the 23 residual function mutations included in the sNDA. (Original Source)

Shares of Vertex Pharmaceuticals closed today at $109.40, down $0.06 or 0.05%. VRTX has a 1-year high of $143.45 and a 1-year low of $96.43. The stock’s 50-day moving average is $123.21 and its 200-day moving average is $126.46.

On the ratings front, Vertex has been the subject of a number of recent research reports. In a report issued on October 2, Morgan Stanley analyst Matthew Harrison upgraded VRTX to Buy, with a price target of $148, which implies an upside of 35.3% from current levels. Separately, on September 25, UBS’s Matt Roden reiterated a Buy rating on the stock and has a price target of $160.

According to, which ranks over 7,500 financial analysts and bloggers to gauge the performance of their past recommendations, Matthew Harrison and Matt Roden have a total average return of 3.7% and 27.7% respectively. Harrison has a success rate of 43.3% and is ranked #1507 out of 3769 analysts, while Roden has a success rate of 69.6% and is ranked #83.

Overall, 2 research analysts have assigned a Hold rating and 8 research analysts have given a Buy rating to the stock. When considering if perhaps the stock is under or overvalued, the average price target is $141.20 which is 29.1% above where the stock opened today.

Vertex Pharmaceuticals Incis engaged in the business of discovering, developing, manufacturing and commercializing small molecule drugs for patients with serious diseases in specialty markets.