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Vertex Pharmaceuticals Inc.

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Vertex is focused on cystic fibrosis (CF) treatments. The company has two CF drugs – Kalydeco & Orkambi – in its portfolio with blockbuster potential. Vertex’s efforts to get both drugs approved for additional indications are encouraging. Approval for additional indications will expand patient population and boost sales. The pediatric launch in the U.S. is expected to drive Orkambi sales in Q4. Vertex’s CF pipeline is also strong. At the third-quarter conference call, Vertex announced that its triple combo regimens will move into phase II studies by the end of 2016, thereby removing an overhang on the stock. However, the slower-than-expected uptake of Orkambi is a matter of concern. We expect investor focus to remain on Orkambi’s commercialization and improved sales as well as pipeline updates. Moreover, Vertex’s shares have consistently underperformed the Zacks-categorized Biomed/Genetics industry.

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