Vertex Pharmaceuticals (VRTX) Rating Increased to Buy at Zacks Investment Research

Vertex Pharmaceuticals (NASDAQ:VRTX) was upgraded by Zacks Investment Research from a “hold” rating to a “buy” rating in a research report issued to clients and investors on Friday. The firm currently has a $185.00 price target on the pharmaceutical company’s stock. Zacks Investment Research‘s target price indicates a potential upside of 16.82% from the company’s previous close.

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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Other analysts have also recently issued reports about the company. TheStreet raised Vertex Pharmaceuticals from a “c+” rating to a “b-” rating in a research report on Friday, March 2nd. Bank of America increased their target price on Vertex Pharmaceuticals from $180.00 to $197.00 and gave the stock a “buy” rating in a research note on Thursday, February 1st. Citigroup reissued a “buy” rating on shares of Vertex Pharmaceuticals in a research note on Thursday, February 1st. BMO Capital Markets increased their target price on Vertex Pharmaceuticals from $184.00 to $191.00 and gave the stock a “buy” rating in a research note on Thursday, February 1st. Finally, Jefferies Group reissued a “buy” rating and set a $195.00 target price on shares of Vertex Pharmaceuticals in a research note on Thursday, February 1st. One analyst has rated the stock with a sell rating, three have given a hold rating and twenty-six have assigned a buy rating to the company’s stock. Vertex Pharmaceuticals presently has a consensus rating of “Buy” and a consensus price target of $184.29.

Shares of NASDAQ:VRTX traded down $1.18 on Friday, hitting $158.37. 505,629 shares of the company’s stock were exchanged, compared to its average volume of 1,715,384. The stock has a market cap of $41,637.04, a P/E ratio of 197.80, a P/E/G ratio of 2.21 and a beta of 1.49. Vertex Pharmaceuticals has a 1-year low of $113.66 and a 1-year high of $178.25. The company has a debt-to-equity ratio of 0.01, a quick ratio of 3.14 and a current ratio of 3.28.

Vertex Pharmaceuticals (NASDAQ:VRTX) last released its quarterly earnings data on Wednesday, January 31st. The pharmaceutical company reported $0.61 earnings per share (EPS) for the quarter, topping the Thomson Reuters’ consensus estimate of $0.53 by $0.08. The business had revenue of $651.63 million during the quarter, compared to analysts’ expectations of $592.49 million. Vertex Pharmaceuticals had a return on equity of 11.02% and a net margin of 10.59%. The business’s quarterly revenue was up 42.1% compared to the same quarter last year. During the same period in the prior year, the firm posted $0.35 EPS. equities research analysts predict that Vertex Pharmaceuticals will post 1.76 EPS for the current year.

Vertex Pharmaceuticals announced that its board has initiated a stock repurchase program on Wednesday, January 31st that allows the company to buyback $500.00 million in outstanding shares. This buyback authorization allows the pharmaceutical company to buy shares of its stock through open market purchases. Stock buyback programs are typically a sign that the company’s leadership believes its shares are undervalued.

In related news, CMO Jeffrey Chodakewitz sold 3,696 shares of Vertex Pharmaceuticals stock in a transaction on Friday, February 2nd. The stock was sold at an average price of $166.79, for a total value of $616,455.84. Following the transaction, the chief marketing officer now owns 52,524 shares in the company, valued at $8,760,477.96. The sale was disclosed in a legal filing with the Securities & Exchange Commission, which is available through this hyperlink. Also, EVP Amit Sachdev sold 46,172 shares of Vertex Pharmaceuticals stock in a transaction on Monday, January 22nd. The shares were sold at an average price of $158.65, for a total value of $7,325,187.80. Following the completion of the transaction, the executive vice president now owns 57,835 shares in the company, valued at approximately $9,175,522.75. The disclosure for this sale can be found here. Insiders have sold 207,052 shares of company stock worth $33,574,578 in the last 90 days. Insiders own 1.80% of the company’s stock.

A number of institutional investors have recently modified their holdings of VRTX. Advisory Services Network LLC boosted its stake in Vertex Pharmaceuticals by 337.6% in the fourth quarter. Advisory Services Network LLC now owns 792 shares of the pharmaceutical company’s stock valued at $119,000 after acquiring an additional 611 shares during the period. Whittier Trust Co. lifted its position in Vertex Pharmaceuticals by 153.5% during the 4th quarter. Whittier Trust Co. now owns 991 shares of the pharmaceutical company’s stock worth $149,000 after acquiring an additional 600 shares during the last quarter. Baldwin Brothers Inc. MA acquired a new position in Vertex Pharmaceuticals during the 4th quarter worth $184,000. SeaCrest Wealth Management LLC acquired a new position in Vertex Pharmaceuticals during the 4th quarter worth $184,000. Finally, Checchi Capital Advisers LLC acquired a new position in shares of Vertex Pharmaceuticals during the fourth quarter valued at about $201,000. Hedge funds and other institutional investors own 94.17% of the company’s stock.

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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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