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Vertex Inks Deal With Genomics to Make Serious Disease Drugs

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Vertex Pharmaceuticals, Inc. (VRTX - Free Report) announced that it has signed a three-year collaboration deal with Cambridge, UK-based private biotech Genomics Plc to use human genetics and machine learning to identify novel targets, which can be developed into precision medicines for serious diseases.

Genomics is engaged in developing data resources and software solutions for diseases like cancer, microbes and other rare diseases. Genomics’ unique analysis search engine is the largest in the world with more than 100 billion data points. Resorting to its machine learning tool and statistical algorithms, Genomics can easily comprehend the impact of therapeutic interventions.

Vertex has made a £10.5 million (around $13.7 million) equity investment in Genomics. Moreover, Vertex will make milestone and royalty payments to Genomics per terms of the collaboration contract. Dr. David Altshuler, chief scientific officer, Vertex will join the board of Genomics.

Shares of Vertex have rallied 24.1% year to date against the industry’s decline of 2.2%.


Notably, Vertex’s main area of focus is cystic fibrosis (CF). The company’s lead CF products are Kalydeco and Orkambi.

Symdeko, a combination of tezacaftor (VX-661) and ivacaftor (Kalydeco), gained an FDA approval in February 2018 for the treatment of patients with CF, aged 12 years and above. The patients are also F508del homozygous or having at least one mutation, responsive to tezacaftor/ivacaftor.

In second-quarter 2018, total CF product revenues were $750 million, mainly driven by a rapid uptake and strong demand for the company’s newest CF medicine, Symdeko.

Zacks Rank & Stocks to Consider

Vertex currently carries a Zacks Rank #3 (Hold). Better-ranked stocks in the pharma sector include Illumina, Inc. (ILMN - Free Report) , Ligand Pharmaceuticals Inc. (LGND - Free Report) and Gilead Sciences, Inc. (GILD - Free Report) , all sporting a Zacks Rank #1 (Strong Buy). You can see the complete list of today’s Zacks #1 Rank stocks here.

Illumina’s earnings estimates have been raised 12.1% for 2018 and 10% for 2019 over the past 60 days. The stock has soared 61.5% so far this year.

Ligand’s earnings estimates have been raised 14.4% for 2018 and 3.7% for 2019 over the past 60 days. The stock has skyrocketed 88.1% year to date.

Gilead Sciences’ earnings estimates have been moved 7.5% north for 2018 and 1.9% for 2019 over the past 60 days. The stock has gained 6.5% year to date.


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