Zacks Investment Research Lowers Vertex Pharmaceuticals (VRTX) to Hold

Vertex Pharmaceuticals (NASDAQ:VRTX) was downgraded by Zacks Investment Research from a “buy” rating to a “hold” rating in a research report issued on Tuesday, September 11th.

According to Zacks, “We are encouraged by Vertex’s dominance in the cystic fibrosis (CF) market. Consistent increase in eligible patient population for Vertex’s CF drugs, Kalydeco & Orkambi, is driving sales growth. Vertex’s third CF medicine Symdeko, a tezacaftor/ivacaftor combo was approved in the United States in February and is off to a strong start with an EU launch scheduled in the second half. Symdeko is expected to be a significant contributor to growth in 2018. Vertex’s CF pipeline is also accelerating rapidly. Studies on Vertex’s triple combination CF regimens are moving fast. The CF triple-pill regimes are crucial for long-term growth, as these have the potential to treat up to 90% of CF patients. The stock has outperformed the industry this year so far. However, competitive pressure is rising in the CF market with many other companies developing triple combo CF medicines.”

Several other research firms have also issued reports on VRTX. BidaskClub upgraded Vertex Pharmaceuticals from a “strong sell” rating to a “sell” rating in a research note on Wednesday, May 16th. BMO Capital Markets increased their price objective on Vertex Pharmaceuticals to $204.00 and gave the stock an “outperform” rating in a research note on Thursday, July 26th. Jefferies Financial Group increased their price objective on Vertex Pharmaceuticals to $210.00 and gave the stock a “buy” rating in a research note on Monday, July 16th. UBS Group increased their price objective on Vertex Pharmaceuticals from $183.00 to $188.00 and gave the stock a “neutral” rating in a research note on Thursday, July 26th. Finally, Oppenheimer increased their price objective on Vertex Pharmaceuticals from $180.00 to $200.00 and gave the stock an “outperform” rating in a research note on Thursday, July 26th. Five analysts have rated the stock with a hold rating and twenty-two have given a buy rating to the stock. The company presently has a consensus rating of “Buy” and a consensus target price of $197.14.

Shares of NASDAQ VRTX traded down $0.57 during trading hours on Tuesday, reaching $188.05. The stock had a trading volume of 856,751 shares, compared to its average volume of 1,531,276. The company has a current ratio of 3.67, a quick ratio of 3.55 and a debt-to-equity ratio of 0.01. The firm has a market capitalization of $49.26 billion, a price-to-earnings ratio of 235.06, a PEG ratio of 1.96 and a beta of 1.48. Vertex Pharmaceuticals has a twelve month low of $136.50 and a twelve month high of $194.92.

Vertex Pharmaceuticals (NASDAQ:VRTX) last issued its earnings results on Wednesday, July 25th. The pharmaceutical company reported $0.94 EPS for the quarter, beating analysts’ consensus estimates of $0.40 by $0.54. The business had revenue of $752.20 million during the quarter, compared to analyst estimates of $680.86 million. Vertex Pharmaceuticals had a return on equity of 19.86% and a net margin of 15.84%. Vertex Pharmaceuticals’s revenue was up 38.2% on a year-over-year basis. During the same period in the prior year, the company posted $0.39 earnings per share. On average, research analysts anticipate that Vertex Pharmaceuticals will post 2.48 earnings per share for the current fiscal year.

In related news, SVP Paul M. Silva sold 860 shares of the firm’s stock in a transaction dated Thursday, July 12th. The stock was sold at an average price of $175.02, for a total value of $150,517.20. Following the transaction, the senior vice president now owns 16,947 shares in the company, valued at $2,966,063.94. The transaction was disclosed in a document filed with the SEC, which is available through this hyperlink. Also, EVP Michael Parini sold 2,125 shares of the firm’s stock in a transaction dated Thursday, July 12th. The shares were sold at an average price of $175.02, for a total value of $371,917.50. Following the completion of the transaction, the executive vice president now owns 41,734 shares in the company, valued at approximately $7,304,284.68. The disclosure for this sale can be found here. Insiders have sold 41,240 shares of company stock worth $7,528,261 in the last 90 days. Company insiders own 0.75% of the company’s stock.

A number of institutional investors have recently bought and sold shares of VRTX. Renaissance Technologies LLC boosted its holdings in Vertex Pharmaceuticals by 42.1% in the second quarter. Renaissance Technologies LLC now owns 4,050,617 shares of the pharmaceutical company’s stock valued at $688,443,000 after acquiring an additional 1,199,700 shares during the last quarter. Summit Trail Advisors LLC boosted its holdings in Vertex Pharmaceuticals by 11,575.0% in the first quarter. Summit Trail Advisors LLC now owns 956,067 shares of the pharmaceutical company’s stock valued at $956,000 after acquiring an additional 947,878 shares during the last quarter. American Century Companies Inc. boosted its holdings in Vertex Pharmaceuticals by 357.5% in the second quarter. American Century Companies Inc. now owns 1,125,428 shares of the pharmaceutical company’s stock valued at $191,278,000 after acquiring an additional 879,411 shares during the last quarter. Standard Life Aberdeen plc boosted its holdings in Vertex Pharmaceuticals by 238.9% in the second quarter. Standard Life Aberdeen plc now owns 1,144,913 shares of the pharmaceutical company’s stock valued at $194,646,000 after acquiring an additional 807,086 shares during the last quarter. Finally, PointState Capital LP boosted its holdings in Vertex Pharmaceuticals by 160.9% in the second quarter. PointState Capital LP now owns 779,200 shares of the pharmaceutical company’s stock valued at $132,433,000 after acquiring an additional 480,523 shares during the last quarter. Institutional investors and hedge funds own 93.47% of the company’s stock.

About Vertex Pharmaceuticals

Vertex Pharmaceuticals Incorporated, a biotechnology company, develops medicines for serious diseases. The company focuses on developing and commercializing therapies for the treatment of cystic fibrosis (CF) and advancing its research and development programs. It markets ORKAMBI (lumacaftor in combination with ivacaftor) to treat patients with CF 12 years of age and older who are homozygous for the F508del mutation in their cystic fibrosis transmembrane conductance regulator (CFTR) gene; KALYDECO (ivacaftor) for the treatment of patients with CF who have specific mutations in their CFTR gene, including the G551D mutation; and SYMDEKO (tezacaftor in combination with ivacaftor) to treat patients with CF 12 years of age and older who are F508del homozygous or who have 1 mutation that is responsive to tezacaftor/ivacaftor.

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