October 25, 2017 / 8:55 PM / a year ago

Vertex ups cystic fibrosis sales view, but 2 trials fail

(Reuters) - Vertex Pharmaceuticals Inc (VRTX.O) raised its outlook for full-year sales of its cystic fibrosis drugs as it released quarterly earnings on Wednesday, but the company reported disappointing results from two clinical trials and its shares tumbled 3 percent in after-hours trade.

Excluding one-time items, Vertex said it earned 53 cents per share in the third quarter, beating the average analyst estimate of 31 cents a share, as compiled by Thomson Reuters I/B/E/S.

Sales of Orkambi and Kalydeco, Vertex’s lead cystic fibrosis treatments, totaled $336 million and $213 million, respectively, topping analyst estimates of $318 million and $192 million.

The Cambridge, Massachusetts-based biotechnology company said that two clinical trials involving cystic fibrosis patients with specific gene mutations did not meet their main goals, while a third clinical trial did meet its primary goal.

Based on the results, Vertex said it planned to seek approval for Orkambi in children age 2 to 5.

The company said it now expects full-year cystic fibrosis product sales of $2.1 billion to $2.15 billion - up from a previous range of $1.84 billion to $2.07 billion.

The company’s quarterly revenue rose 40 percent to $578 million.

“We believe the beat and raise signals continued dominance in a space that continues to grow,” RBC Capital Markets analyst Brian Abrahams said in a research note.

Investors are awaiting more results from Vertex studies involving triple combinations of cystic fibrosis treatments that could help up to 90 percent of patients with the life-threatening lung disease.

Cystic fibrosis results from a defective gene that disrupts the function of the lungs and digestive system, producing a build-up of thick, sticky mucus leading to inflammation and recurrent bacterial infections.

Shares of Vertex, which rose nearly 3 percent to close at $146.80 on Wednesday, slid 3.3 percent to $141.50 in after-hours trading.

Reporting by Deena Beasley; Editing by Susan Thomas and Leslie Adler

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