Vertex Pharmaceuticals (VRTX) Cut to “Hold” at Zacks Investment Research

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

According to Zacks, “Vertex has two CF drugs — Kalydeco & Orkambi — in its portfolio with blockbuster potential. For Vertex, 2017 was a tremendous year with positive data read-outs and regulatory approvals leading to an increase in the eligible patient population for Kalydeco & Orkambi. 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 stock shot up in the past one year. Estimates have slightly gone up ahead of Q4 earnings release. The company has a positive record of earnings surprises in the recent quarters. However, Vertex has faced some challenges with respect to commercialization of Orkambi in ex-U.S. markets due to re-imbursement hurdles. Orkambi’s reimbursement in France remains a key for sales growth in 2018.”

Several other research analysts also recently commented on the company. JPMorgan Chase & Co. reissued a “buy” rating on shares of Vertex Pharmaceuticals in a report on Tuesday, January 9th. Bank of America raised Vertex Pharmaceuticals from a “neutral” rating to a “buy” rating and set a $180.00 target price on the stock in a report on Friday, January 5th. Oppenheimer boosted their target price on Vertex Pharmaceuticals from $175.00 to $190.00 and gave the stock an “outperform” rating in a report on Thursday, January 4th. Deutsche Bank started coverage on Vertex Pharmaceuticals in a report on Tuesday, December 12th. They set a “buy” rating and a $175.00 price objective on the stock. Finally, Cowen reaffirmed a “buy” rating and set a $200.00 price objective on shares of Vertex Pharmaceuticals in a report on Monday, December 11th. One research analyst has rated the stock with a sell rating, four have assigned a hold rating and twenty-five have assigned a buy rating to the company. The stock presently has a consensus rating of “Buy” and a consensus price target of $175.89.

Vertex Pharmaceuticals (NASDAQ VRTX) opened at $157.97 on Friday. The company has a market capitalization of $39,951.09, a P/E ratio of 263.28, a PEG ratio of 1.87 and a beta of 1.58. The company has a quick ratio of 3.14, a current ratio of 3.28 and a debt-to-equity ratio of 0.01. Vertex Pharmaceuticals has a 1-year low of $80.06 and a 1-year high of $167.85.

Vertex Pharmaceuticals (NASDAQ:VRTX) last announced its earnings results on Wednesday, October 25th. The pharmaceutical company reported $0.53 EPS for the quarter, topping the consensus estimate of $0.04 by $0.49. The business had revenue of $578.20 million for the quarter, compared to the consensus estimate of $522.07 million. Vertex Pharmaceuticals had a return on equity of 9.23% and a net margin of 8.53%. Vertex Pharmaceuticals’s revenue was up 39.7% compared to the same quarter last year. During the same period in the previous year, the business earned $0.16 EPS. research analysts anticipate that Vertex Pharmaceuticals will post 0.77 earnings per share for the current fiscal year.

In other news, EVP Stuart A. Arbuckle sold 2,125 shares of the stock in a transaction on Tuesday, January 16th. The stock was sold at an average price of $158.28, for a total value of $336,345.00. Following the transaction, the executive vice president now owns 44,077 shares of the company’s stock, valued at approximately $6,976,507.56. The transaction was disclosed in a document filed with the SEC, which is accessible through the SEC website. Also, CEO Jeffrey M. Leiden sold 125,000 shares of the stock in a transaction on Monday, December 11th. The shares were sold at an average price of $141.35, for a total value of $17,668,750.00. Following the completion of the transaction, the chief executive officer now directly owns 237,407 shares in the company, valued at approximately $33,557,479.45. The disclosure for this sale can be found here. In the last three months, insiders sold 458,028 shares of company stock worth $67,470,259. 1.80% of the stock is currently owned by company insiders.

Several hedge funds have recently bought and sold shares of the company. Smithfield Trust Co. bought a new stake in shares of Vertex Pharmaceuticals in the 3rd quarter valued at $135,000. FNY Managed Accounts LLC bought a new stake in shares of Vertex Pharmaceuticals in the 3rd quarter valued at $162,000. Fuller & Thaler Asset Management Inc. bought a new stake in shares of Vertex Pharmaceuticals in the 3rd quarter valued at $198,000. Intact Investment Management Inc. bought a new stake in shares of Vertex Pharmaceuticals in the 3rd quarter valued at $213,000. Finally, Steward Partners Investment Advisory LLC bought a new stake in shares of Vertex Pharmaceuticals in the 3rd quarter valued at $231,000. 93.19% of the stock is currently owned by institutional investors.

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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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