Vertex inches closer to profitability as CF drug sales smash estimates
- Vertex's Orkambi sailed past analysts' Q3 expectations with sales of $130.8 million, a 53% beat of analysts' estimates.
- Vertex's Orkambi combines Kalydeco (ivacaftor), which is is intended to treat several cystic fibrosis (CF) transmembrane conductase inhibitor (CF-TR) mutations, with lumacaftor, which treats the F508del genetic mutation. Together, these drugs have the ability to treat as many as 15,000 patients with CF, or about half of the population with CF in the U.S.
- Orkambi was approved by the FDA on July 2, 2015. It costs $259,000 per year.
When Kalydeco was approved in December 2014, there was a big hooplah over its $300,000 price tag. And then came Orkambi in July 2015, with a price tag of $259,000.
While Orkambi is not a cure, it counteracts CF-related lung damage, resulting in fewer infections and less build-up of mucus. It is the most ground-breaking treatment ever developed for CF, and it comes after more than two decades of work on the part of Vertex and those who have supported its R&D.
Vertex has been profitable only one of its 26 years of existence, but all things seem to indicate coming profitability. Earnings per share for the third quarter of 2015 were a 13-cent loss per share, compared with a loss of 37 cents per share in Q3 2014. CEO Jeffrey Leiden is optimistic about Vertex's future—and so are analysts, who project that Vertex will turn a profit in 2017.