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

According to Zacks, “Vertex has two cystic fibrosis (CF) drugs – Kalydeco & Orkambi – in its portfolio with blockbuster potential. Its efforts to get the drugs approved for additional indications are encouraging. Label expansion will increase the patient population and boost sales. Vertex’s CF pipeline is quite strong with a broad portfolio of next-generation CF correctors. Investor focus is on triple combination CF regimens, which are crucial for long-term growth at Vertex as they have the potential to treat up to 90% of CF patients.  The stock has also shot up so far this year. Estimates have also gone up slightly ahead of the company’s Q3 earnings release. The company has a positive record of earnings surprises in recent quarters. However, Vertex has faced many challenges with respect to commercialization of Orkambi in ex-U.S. markets due to re-imbursement hurdles. Orkambi’s EU reimbursement remains a key for sales growth in 2H17.”

Other equities analysts also recently issued reports about the stock. Stifel Nicolaus boosted their target price on shares of Vertex Pharmaceuticals from $130.00 to $154.00 and gave the stock a “buy” rating in a report on Tuesday, July 18th. Robert W. Baird reiterated an “outperform” rating and issued a $171.00 target price (up from $136.00) on shares of Vertex Pharmaceuticals in a report on Friday, July 21st. Cowen and Company restated a “market perform” rating and set a $105.00 price target on shares of Vertex Pharmaceuticals in a research note on Thursday, July 6th. UBS AG lowered Vertex Pharmaceuticals from a “buy” rating to a “neutral” rating and boosted their price target for the stock from $135.00 to $174.00 in a research note on Wednesday, July 19th. They noted that the move was a valuation call. Finally, J P Morgan Chase & Co set a $175.00 price target on Vertex Pharmaceuticals and gave the stock a “buy” rating in a research note on Wednesday, July 19th. One research analyst has rated the stock with a sell rating, six have given a hold rating and twenty-three have given a buy rating to the company. The stock has a consensus rating of “Buy” and an average price target of $167.25.

Shares of Vertex Pharmaceuticals (NASDAQ:VRTX) traded up 0.866% during mid-day trading on Tuesday, reaching $152.368. 1,103,002 shares of the company traded hands. Vertex Pharmaceuticals has a 52 week low of $71.46 and a 52 week high of $167.86. The stock has a market capitalization of $38.41 billion, a PE ratio of 146.367 and a beta of 1.73. The firm has a 50 day moving average of $153.82 and a 200-day moving average of $138.25.

Vertex Pharmaceuticals (NASDAQ:VRTX) last announced its earnings results on Wednesday, July 26th. The pharmaceutical company reported $0.39 EPS for the quarter, topping the Zacks’ consensus estimate of $0.06 by $0.33. The business had revenue of $544.10 million during the quarter, compared to the consensus estimate of $489.95 million. Vertex Pharmaceuticals had a net margin of 12.05% and a return on equity of 4.64%. The firm’s revenue was up 26.1% on a year-over-year basis. During the same period in the previous year, the company posted $0.24 earnings per share. On average, equities research analysts expect that Vertex Pharmaceuticals will post $1.62 EPS for the current fiscal year.

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In other news, CMO Jeffrey Chodakewitz sold 3,437 shares of the company’s stock in a transaction that occurred on Monday, October 2nd. The stock was sold at an average price of $151.64, for a total transaction of $521,186.68. The sale was disclosed in a filing with the Securities & Exchange Commission, which is available through this hyperlink. Also, CEO Jeffrey M. Leiden sold 11,063 shares of the company’s stock in a transaction that occurred on Monday, July 31st. The stock was sold at an average price of $152.81, for a total value of $1,690,537.03. Following the transaction, the chief executive officer now directly owns 268,455 shares of the company’s stock, valued at $41,022,608.55. The disclosure for this sale can be found here. In the last 90 days, insiders sold 43,748 shares of company stock worth $6,734,021. Insiders own 1.80% of the company’s stock.

Several hedge funds have recently made changes to their positions in the company. Xact Kapitalforvaltning AB raised its stake in shares of Vertex Pharmaceuticals by 6.9% during the 3rd quarter. Xact Kapitalforvaltning AB now owns 38,313 shares of the pharmaceutical company’s stock worth $5,825,000 after buying an additional 2,464 shares during the period. Handelsbanken Fonder AB acquired a new position in shares of Vertex Pharmaceuticals during the 3rd quarter worth approximately $2,889,000. Nationwide Fund Advisors raised its stake in shares of Vertex Pharmaceuticals by 48.6% during the 3rd quarter. Nationwide Fund Advisors now owns 173,157 shares of the pharmaceutical company’s stock worth $26,327,000 after buying an additional 56,646 shares during the period. Strs Ohio raised its stake in shares of Vertex Pharmaceuticals by 11.4% during the 3rd quarter. Strs Ohio now owns 378,589 shares of the pharmaceutical company’s stock worth $57,560,000 after buying an additional 38,724 shares during the period. Finally, Sanders Morris Harris LLC acquired a new position in shares of Vertex Pharmaceuticals during the 3rd quarter worth approximately $1,117,000. 92.93% of the stock is owned by institutional investors and hedge funds.

Vertex Pharmaceuticals Company Profile

Vertex Pharmaceuticals Incorporated is engaged in discovering, developing, manufacturing and commercializing medicines for serious diseases. The Company is focused on developing and commercializing therapies for the treatment of cystic fibrosis (CF) and advancing its research and development programs in other indications.

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Analyst Recommendations for Vertex Pharmaceuticals (NASDAQ:VRTX)

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