Vertex Pharmaceuticals Incorporated (VRTX) Climbs After the FDA Okayed Its CF Medicine


Shares in Vertex Pharmaceuticals Incorporated (NASDAQ:VRTX) climbed nearly 2% in after-hours trading Monday after the U.S. Food and Drug Administration approved SYMDEKO, the drugmaker’s third medicine to treat the underlying cause of CF. Vertex is ready to launch SYMDEKO and will begin shipping it to pharmacies in the US this week.

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“Today is an exciting day for the CF community. The approval of SYMDEKO, our third disease-modifying CF medicine, offers many patients an important new treatment option,” said Jeffrey Leiden, M.D., Ph.D., Vertex’s Chairman, President and Chief Executive Officer. “This approval is an important milestone in our journey to treat every person with CF, and we remain committed to urgently advancing our efforts to develop new medicines that treat the underlying cause of CF for the many people still waiting.”

“We’ve already seen the significant impact that disease-modifying medicines can have on patients and are incredibly pleased that there is now a third treatment option that enables more patients to benefit from CFTR modulation,” said Patrick Flume, M.D., Director of the Medical University of South Carolina Cystic Fibrosis Center and Principal Investigator for the EXTEND study. “In particular, SYMDEKO is an important treatment option for patients who either never started or discontinued ORKAMBI, and it also provides increased benefit over KALYDECO alone for patients with residual function mutations.”

The European Medicines Agency (EMA) has validated the Marketing Authorization Application (MAA) for the tezacaftor/ivacaftor combination. The company expects approval in the EU in the second half of 2018.

On the ratings front, Vertex stock has been the subject of a number of recent research reports. In a report issued on February 1, Leerink analyst Geoff Porges reiterated a Buy rating on VRTX, with a price target of $190, which represents a potential upside of 25% from today’s closing price. Similiarly, on the same day, BMO’s Do Kim reiterated a Buy rating on the stock and has a price target of $191.

According to TipRanks.com, which ranks over 7,500 financial analysts and bloggers to gauge the performance of their past recommendations, Geoff Porges and Do Kim have a yearly average return of 6.8% and 26.6% respectively. Porges has a success rate of 46% and is ranked #1216 out of 4728 analysts, while Kim has a success rate of 63% and is ranked #328.

Overall, one research analyst has assigned a Hold rating and 16 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 $191.