Vertex Pharmaceuticals Incorporated (NASDAQ:VRTX) shares skyrocketed starting on Thursday and going into Friday, jumping as much as 58 percent on Friday alone. This is a big surprise for the small 2,000-employee company, as the massive, sudden increase in stock price is rare for a company of its size. Shares likely soared on the news about positive trial results on a drug Vertex Pharmaceuticals Incorporated (NASDAQ:VRTX) was testing for the treatment of cystic fibrosis.
The company reported that its experimental drug VX-661, when combined with the drug Ivacaftor, which has already been approved by the Food and Drug Administration, helped cystic fibrosis patients who had two copies of the F508del gene mutation. Through daily doses over 28 days, the drug was found to improve lung function by up to 9 percent, which is significant in treatment for the disease because the lungs are the organ most affected by it.
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This is an important finding according to Xconomy, because Ibacaftor has not been shown to help these patients when used alone. Also the F508del gene mutation is the most common abnormality which causes cystic fibrosis. Of the 70,000 people who suffer from the disease around the globe, approximately half of them have this gene mutation.
MarketWatch reports that RBC Capital Markets analyst Michael Yee, believes that the positive drug trials mean that the treatment will likely be more successful when it goes into phase 3 testing next year. According to Yee, Vertex Pharmaceuticals Incorporated (NASDAQ:VRTX) has a 75 percent chance of successful testing in phase 3. He also pointed out that by combining the drug with the other drug that’s also made by the company, it could see more than $4 billion from the treatment.