Vertex Pharmaceuticals (VRTX) Upgraded at Zacks Investment Research

Zacks Investment Research upgraded shares of Vertex Pharmaceuticals (NASDAQ:VRTX) from a hold rating to a buy rating in a research report released on Friday. They currently have $185.00 price target on the pharmaceutical company’s stock.

According to Zacks, “Vertex’ efforts to get its two CF drugs — Kalydeco & Orkambi — approved for additional indications are encouraging. In 2017, positive data read-outs and regulatory approvals have increased the eligible patient population for Kalydeco & Orkambi, which is driving sales growth. Vertex’s CF pipeline is also quite strong with a broad portfolio of next-generation CF correctors. Investor focus is on the triple combination CF regimens, which are crucial for long-term growth, as they have the potential to treat up to 90% of CF patients. The FDA approval of the third CF medicine, Symdeko, in February was encouraging. 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. Estimate movement has been mixed ahead of Q1 earnings release. Vertex has a positive record of earnings surprises in the recent quarters.”

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Several other brokerages have also issued reports on VRTX. Bank of America raised Vertex Pharmaceuticals from a neutral rating to a buy rating and set a $180.00 target price for the company in a research note on Friday, January 5th. Oppenheimer upped their target price on Vertex Pharmaceuticals from $175.00 to $190.00 and gave the stock an outperform rating in a research note on Thursday, January 4th. Morgan Stanley upped their target price on Vertex Pharmaceuticals from $198.00 to $200.00 and gave the stock an overweight rating in a research note on Friday, February 2nd. HC Wainwright reaffirmed a hold rating and issued a $103.00 target price on shares of Vertex Pharmaceuticals in a research note on Tuesday, February 13th. Finally, Barclays upped their target price on Vertex Pharmaceuticals from $180.00 to $200.00 and gave the stock an overweight rating in a research note on Thursday, February 1st. Two equities research analysts have rated the stock with a sell rating, two have issued a hold rating and twenty-six have given a buy rating to the stock. The stock has an average rating of Buy and an average price target of $184.29.

Shares of NASDAQ VRTX opened at $158.69 on Friday. Vertex Pharmaceuticals has a 12 month low of $113.66 and a 12 month high of $178.25. The company has a quick ratio of 3.14, a current ratio of 3.28 and a debt-to-equity ratio of 0.01. The stock has a market cap of $40,309.11, a PE ratio of 198.36, a price-to-earnings-growth ratio of 2.14 and a beta of 1.49.

Vertex Pharmaceuticals (NASDAQ:VRTX) last issued its quarterly earnings data on Wednesday, January 31st. The pharmaceutical company reported $0.61 EPS for the quarter, topping the Thomson Reuters’ consensus estimate of $0.53 by $0.08. Vertex Pharmaceuticals had a return on equity of 11.02% and a net margin of 10.59%. The company had revenue of $651.63 million during the quarter, compared to analyst estimates of $592.49 million. During the same quarter in the previous year, the firm earned $0.35 earnings per share. Vertex Pharmaceuticals’s revenue was up 42.1% on a year-over-year basis. sell-side analysts anticipate that Vertex Pharmaceuticals will post 1.76 EPS for the current year.

Vertex Pharmaceuticals declared that its Board of Directors has approved a share repurchase plan on Wednesday, January 31st that allows the company to buyback $500.00 million in shares. This buyback authorization allows the pharmaceutical company to buy shares of its stock through open market purchases. Stock buyback plans are typically an indication that the company’s leadership believes its shares are undervalued.

In related news, SVP Paul M. Silva sold 859 shares of the company’s stock in a transaction that occurred on Wednesday, April 18th. The stock was sold at an average price of $166.05, for a total transaction of $142,636.95. Following the completion of the transaction, the senior vice president now owns 16,946 shares in the company, valued at $2,813,883.30. The sale was disclosed in a filing with the SEC, which is available through this hyperlink. Also, CMO Jeffrey Chodakewitz sold 5,122 shares of the company’s stock in a transaction that occurred on Monday, February 12th. The shares were sold at an average price of $150.82, for a total value of $772,500.04. Following the transaction, the chief marketing officer now owns 73,485 shares of the company’s stock, valued at approximately $11,083,007.70. The disclosure for this sale can be found here. In the last 90 days, insiders have sold 135,445 shares of company stock valued at $22,107,887. 0.75% of the stock is owned by corporate insiders.

Several institutional investors have recently made changes to their positions in VRTX. Renaissance Technologies LLC raised its holdings in shares of Vertex Pharmaceuticals by 108.2% during the fourth quarter. Renaissance Technologies LLC now owns 2,847,917 shares of the pharmaceutical company’s stock valued at $426,789,000 after acquiring an additional 1,479,897 shares in the last quarter. HealthCor Management L.P. raised its holdings in Vertex Pharmaceuticals by 1,974.4% in the fourth quarter. HealthCor Management L.P. now owns 725,000 shares of the pharmaceutical company’s stock worth $108,649,000 after purchasing an additional 690,050 shares in the last quarter. Arrowstreet Capital Limited Partnership raised its holdings in Vertex Pharmaceuticals by 90.1% in the fourth quarter. Arrowstreet Capital Limited Partnership now owns 1,203,221 shares of the pharmaceutical company’s stock worth $180,315,000 after purchasing an additional 570,287 shares in the last quarter. Two Sigma Investments LP raised its holdings in Vertex Pharmaceuticals by 102.7% in the fourth quarter. Two Sigma Investments LP now owns 912,724 shares of the pharmaceutical company’s stock worth $136,781,000 after purchasing an additional 462,416 shares in the last quarter. Finally, Guggenheim Capital LLC raised its holdings in Vertex Pharmaceuticals by 87.7% in the fourth quarter. Guggenheim Capital LLC now owns 804,827 shares of the pharmaceutical company’s stock worth $120,611,000 after purchasing an additional 376,093 shares in the last quarter. Institutional investors own 94.28% of the company’s stock.

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Vertex Pharmaceuticals Company Profile

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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