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Vertex Pharmaceuticals (VRTX - Analyst Report) recently presented promising data on its influenza candidate, VX-787. The company presented results from a double-blind, randomized, placebo-controlled phase IIa study.

Treatment with VX-787 led to a statistically significant improvement in viral and clinical measurements of infection. VX-787 achieved the primary endpoint of the study and demonstrated a statistically significant decline in the amount of virus in nasal secretions during the seven-day study period.

Moreover, a statistically significant reduction in the severity and duration of influenza-like symptoms was observed at the highest dosing regimen. Patients in this dosing arm suffered from influenza-like symptoms for a median of 1.9 days compared to 3.7 days for the placebo arm.

After three days of treatment, 93% of patients in the highest dosing regimen arm showed no clinical symptoms of influenza compared to 41% in the placebo arm.

Vertex Pharma said that VX-787 was found to be generally well-tolerated with no discontinuations being reported.

With these encouraging results in hand, Vertex Pharma intends to seek partnership deals to support the development of the candidate.

Our Take

We are encouraged by the promising data presented by Vertex Pharma on VX-787. We believe the results will help the company secure a lucrative partnership deal for the candidate.

The influenza market holds huge commercial potential. VX-787 represents a new class of potential treatment for influenza and its differentiated mechanism of action compared to currently approved treatments could help it gain share once launched. Rapid onset of action and an expanded treatment window could work in VX-787’s favor.

Vertex Pharma currently carries a Zacks Rank #3 (Hold). Companies that currently look more attractive include Cytokinetics, Inc. (CYTK - Snapshot Report), Array BioPharma (ARRY - Snapshot Report) and Agenus, Inc. (AGEN - Snapshot Report). While Cytokinetics is a Zacks Rank #1 (Strong Buy) stock, both Array BioPharma and Agenus are Zacks Rank #2 (Buy) stocks.


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