Zacks Investment Research downgraded shares of Vertex Pharmaceuticals Incorporated (NASDAQ:VRTX) from a buy rating to a hold rating in a research note released on Thursday.

According to Zacks, “Vertex is focused on cystic fibrosis (CF) treatments. The company has two CF drugs – Kalydeco & Orkambi – in its portfolio with blockbuster potential. Vertex’s efforts to get both drugs approved for additional indications are encouraging. Approval for additional indications will expand patient population and boost sales. The pediatric launch in the U.S. is expected to drive Orkambi sales in Q4. Vertex’s CF pipeline is also strong. At the third-quarter conference call, Vertex announced that its triple combo regimens will move into phase II studies shortly, thereby removing an overhang on the stock. However, the slower-than-expected uptake of Orkambi is a matter of concern. We expect investor focus to remain on Orkambi’s commercialization and improved sales as well as pipeline updates. Moreover, Vertex’s shares have consistently underperformed the Biomed/Genetics industry in the past one year.”

Several other equities research analysts also recently weighed in on VRTX. RBC Capital Markets reissued a buy rating on shares of Vertex Pharmaceuticals in a report on Saturday, October 1st. Piper Jaffray Companies set a $129.00 price target on Vertex Pharmaceuticals and gave the stock a buy rating in a report on Sunday, December 25th. Leerink Swann set a $112.00 price target on Vertex Pharmaceuticals and gave the stock a buy rating in a report on Saturday, September 17th. Oppenheimer Holdings, Inc. began coverage on Vertex Pharmaceuticals in a report on Thursday, December 15th. They issued a market perform rating for the company. Finally, J P Morgan Chase & Co reissued a buy rating on shares of Vertex Pharmaceuticals in a report on Tuesday, January 3rd. Sixteen research analysts have rated the stock with a hold rating, twelve have assigned a buy rating and one has issued a strong buy rating to the company’s stock. Vertex Pharmaceuticals presently has an average rating of Hold and a consensus price target of $105.91.

Shares of Vertex Pharmaceuticals (NASDAQ:VRTX) traded up 0.93% during trading on Thursday, reaching $83.16. 1,107,598 shares of the company were exchanged. The firm’s market capitalization is $20.63 billion. The firm’s 50 day moving average is $78.64 and its 200 day moving average is $87.48. Vertex Pharmaceuticals has a 1-year low of $71.46 and a 1-year high of $105.50.

Vertex Pharmaceuticals (NASDAQ:VRTX) last issued its quarterly earnings results on Tuesday, October 25th. The pharmaceutical company reported $0.16 earnings per share for the quarter, missing the consensus estimate of $0.18 by $0.02. The business earned $413.78 million during the quarter, compared to analyst estimates of $423.53 million. Vertex Pharmaceuticals had a negative return on equity of 5.31% and a negative net margin of 13.45%. Vertex Pharmaceuticals’s revenue was up 33.6% compared to the same quarter last year. During the same period in the prior year, the business posted ($0.13) EPS. On average, equities analysts anticipate that Vertex Pharmaceuticals will post $0.83 EPS for the current fiscal year.

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In related news, Director Joshua S. Boger sold 6,500 shares of the business’s stock in a transaction on Wednesday, October 26th. The stock was sold at an average price of $79.26, for a total value of $515,190.00. Following the sale, the director now owns 274,725 shares in the company, valued at approximately $21,774,703.50. The transaction was disclosed in a document filed with the Securities & Exchange Commission, which is available through this link. Also, SVP Paul M. Silva sold 5,062 shares of the business’s stock in a transaction on Thursday, November 10th. The shares were sold at an average price of $90.98, for a total value of $460,540.76. Following the completion of the sale, the senior vice president now owns 17,125 shares in the company, valued at approximately $1,558,032.50. The disclosure for this sale can be found here. 1.90% of the stock is owned by corporate insiders.

Several large investors have recently bought and sold shares of the stock. Checchi Capital Advisers LLC increased its stake in shares of Vertex Pharmaceuticals by 4.3% in the second quarter. Checchi Capital Advisers LLC now owns 1,763 shares of the pharmaceutical company’s stock valued at $152,000 after buying an additional 73 shares during the period. Shell Asset Management Co. increased its stake in shares of Vertex Pharmaceuticals by 28.0% in the second quarter. Shell Asset Management Co. now owns 31,059 shares of the pharmaceutical company’s stock valued at $2,672,000 after buying an additional 6,799 shares during the period. Bank of Montreal Can bought a new stake in shares of Vertex Pharmaceuticals during the second quarter valued at $14,876,000. Rothschild Capital Partners LLC bought a new stake in shares of Vertex Pharmaceuticals during the second quarter valued at $334,000. Finally, Strs Ohio increased its stake in shares of Vertex Pharmaceuticals by 9.9% in the second quarter. Strs Ohio now owns 346,339 shares of the pharmaceutical company’s stock valued at $29,792,000 after buying an additional 31,241 shares during the period. Hedge funds and other institutional investors own 95.29% of the company’s stock.

Vertex Pharmaceuticals Company Profile

Vertex Pharmaceuticals Incorporated is engaged in the business of discovering, developing, manufacturing and commercializing medicines for serious diseases. The Company operates in pharmaceuticals segment. Its business 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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