Vertex shares surge to 14-month high on cystic fibrosis drug hope

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And we have take-off.

Shares in Vertex Pharmaceuticals are rocketing higher on Wednesday after the Boston-based drug maker reported late Tuesday positive results for a closely watched clinical trial of its lead experimental treatment for cystic fibrosis.

The stock surged as much as 24 per cent in early trade to hit a 14-month high of $117.11.

The clinical trial success for the combination treatment should pave the way for regulators to approve a new option for sufferers of the deadly genetic illness, which is estimated to affect 75,000 people worldwide.

While Vertex already sells a drug for cystic fibrosis called Orkambi, the new treatment is seen as having wider commercial appeal because it has fewer side effects.

Orkambi generated revenues of $980m last year, less than half the amount analysts had forecasted because of the drug’s side effects. However, analysts at Cowen reckon approval of the new drug could boost Vertex’s cystic fibrosis revenue to $3.9bn by 2021.

By comparison, Vertex generated $1.68bn in revenue for the whole of 2016.

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