Vertex Pharmaceuticals Incorporated (VRTX - Free Report) announced an agreement with the French Authorities for national reimbursement of its cystic fibrosis (CF) medicine Orkambi to treat patients aged above 2 years with two copies of the F508del mutation. Management stated that once the agreement gets published in the French Official Journal, Orkambi will be available for all eligible patients.
The French reimbursement for Orkambi removes a key overhang from the stock as France was among the last nations with large CF patient populations not getting a formalized reimbursement for Orkambi.
This year so far, the stock has rallied 29.8% compared with the industry’s increase of 4.3%.
The last couple of months have been impressive for Vertex. As far as reimbursement approvals in the European countries are concerned, Vertex entered into new reimbursement agreements for Orkambi and its another CF medicine Symkevi in England, Spain, Australia and Scotland during September/October 2019, which should drive its outside U.S. revenues in the future quarters.
Meanwhile, last month, Vertex gained FDA approval for its fourth medicine Trikafta to treat CF. The drug is a triple combination regimen (elexacaftor/tezacaftor/ivacaftor and ivacaftor). With this approval, Vertex can address a significantly larger CF patient population — almost 90% patients — ahead. With the nod to Trikafta, approximately 45,000 patients worldwide are now eligible to be treated with one of Vertex’s four CF medicines.
Earlier this week, Vertex and partner CRISPR Therapeutics AG (CRSP - Free Report) announced positive preliminary safety and efficacy data from the ongoing phase I/II studies evaluating their CRISPR/Cas9 gene-editing therapy CTX001 for two severe blood disorders, namely sickle cell disease (SCD) and adult transfusion-dependent b-thalassemia (TDT)
Vertex sports a Zacks Rank #1 (Strong Buy).You can see the complete list of today’s Zacks #1 Rank stocks here.
Other top-ranked stocks in the biotech sector include Anika Therapeutics Inc. (ANIK - Free Report) and Alkermes plc (ALKS - Free Report) , both flaunting the same Zacks Rank as Vertex.
Anika’s earnings estimates have been revised 16% upward for 2019 and 19.1% for 2020 over the past 60 days. The stock has soared 74.1% so far this year.
Alkermes’ earnings estimates have been revised upward from 36 cents to 52 cents for 2019 while the same for 2020 reversed the loss of 11 cents to earnings of 59 cents over the past 60 days.
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