VRTX

Vertex Pharmaceuticals Incorporated (NASDAQ:VRTX) shares are up nearly 6% in pre-market trading Wednesday, after the drug maker laid out a development plan for its triple combo, consisting of a base of 661/770 and the second generation correctors VX-440 and VX-152.

Last November, Vertex began Phase I testing of two next generation correctors, 440 and 152, in healthy volunteers. Last night, Vertex announced that both candidates will move into Phase II trials in CF patients by YE:16, with data expected in H2:17.

“We are committed to advancing multiple next-generation correctors in parallel to bring the best potential treatments to all people with CF who have at least one F508del mutation,” said Jeffrey Chodakewitz, M.D., Executive Vice President and Chief Medical Officer at Vertex. “We believe that the combination of a next-generation corrector with tezacaftor and ivacaftor has the potential to benefit a broad range of people with this disease, including those with minimal function mutations who do not yet have a medicine to treat the underlying cause of their CF.”

“KALYDECO and ORKAMBI are significant medical advances for many people with CF, however a very large number of our patients still do not have medicine to treat the cause of their disease,” said Patrick Flume, M.D., Director of the Medical University of South Carolina Cystic Fibrosis Center and Principal Investigator for the Phase 2 VX-152 study. “The studies announced today are a promising step forward for patients and for the treatment of this devastating disease. I look forward to working with Vertex to move these potential medicines through development and toward patients as rapidly as possible.”

On the ratings front, Vertex has been the subject of a number of recent research reports. In a report issued on October 24, H.C. Wainwright analyst Andrew Fein downgraded VRTX to Hold, with a price target of $85, which represents a potential upside of 8% from where the stock is currently trading. Separately, on October 18, Jefferies’ Brian Abrahams reiterated a Buy rating on the stock and has a price target of $105.

According to TipRanks.com, which ranks over 7,500 financial analysts and bloggers to gauge the performance of their past recommendations, Andrew Fein and Brian Abrahams have a total average return of 3.7% and -0.2% respectively. Fein has a success rate of 42% and is ranked #872 out of 4197 analysts, while Abrahams has a success rate of 38% and is ranked #2813.

The street is mostly Bullish on VRTX stock. Out of 17 analysts who cover the stock, 9 suggest a Buy rating and 8 recommend to Hold the stock. The 12-month average price target assigned to the stock is $100.17, which implies an upside of 27% from current levels.

Vertex Pharmaceuticals, Inc. engages in the business of discovering, developing, manufacturing and commercializing small molecule drugs for patients with serious diseases. It focuses on development and commercializing therapies for the treatment of cystic fibrosis; infectious diseases, including viral infections, such as influenza, and bacterial infections; autoimmune diseases, such as rheumatoid arthritis; cancer, inflammatory bowel disease; and neurological disorders, including pain, Huntington’s disease and multiple sclerosis.