Vertex Pharmaceuticals (NASDAQ:VRTX) was upgraded by Zacks Investment Research from a “hold” rating to a “strong-buy” rating in a research note issued to investors on Monday. The firm presently has a $176.00 price objective on the pharmaceutical company’s stock. Zacks Investment Research‘s price target indicates a potential upside of 12.81% from the company’s previous close.

According to Zacks, “Vertex has two CF drugs — Kalydeco & Orkambi — in its portfolio with blockbuster potential. Its efforts to get the drugs approved for additional indications are encouraging. 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 significantly in 2017. Estimates have also gone up ahead of the company’s fourth-quarter earnings release. The company has a positive record of earnings surprises in the recent quarters. However, Orkambi’s reimbursement in France remains a key for sales growth in 2018.”

Other analysts have also recently issued reports about the stock. Needham & Company LLC reiterated a “buy” rating and issued a $195.00 target price on shares of Vertex Pharmaceuticals in a research note on Friday, October 27th. HC Wainwright reiterated a “hold” rating and issued a $85.00 target price on shares of Vertex Pharmaceuticals in a research note on Thursday, October 26th. Maxim Group reiterated a “buy” rating and issued a $195.00 target price on shares of Vertex Pharmaceuticals in a research note on Thursday, October 26th. Cowen reiterated a “buy” rating and issued a $200.00 target price on shares of Vertex Pharmaceuticals in a research note on Monday, December 11th. Finally, Vetr cut shares of Vertex Pharmaceuticals to a “sell” rating in a research note on Thursday, September 21st. One research analyst has rated the stock with a sell rating, three have assigned a hold rating, twenty-five have assigned a buy rating and one has issued a strong buy rating to the stock. The stock has a consensus rating of “Buy” and an average price target of $175.89.

Shares of Vertex Pharmaceuticals (NASDAQ VRTX) traded down $0.88 during trading on Monday, hitting $156.01. 1,487,700 shares of the stock were exchanged, compared to its average volume of 1,624,250. The stock has a market cap of $39,410.00, a P/E ratio of 200.01, a P/E/G ratio of 1.84 and a beta of 1.58. The company has a debt-to-equity ratio of 0.01, a quick ratio of 3.14 and a current ratio of 3.28. Vertex Pharmaceuticals has a 52-week low of $79.78 and a 52-week high of $167.85.

Vertex Pharmaceuticals (NASDAQ:VRTX) last released its earnings results on Wednesday, October 25th. The pharmaceutical company reported $0.53 EPS for the quarter, topping analysts’ consensus estimates of $0.04 by $0.49. The company had revenue of $578.20 million during the quarter, compared to analysts’ expectations of $522.07 million. Vertex Pharmaceuticals had a net margin of 8.53% and a return on equity of 9.23%. Vertex Pharmaceuticals’s revenue for the quarter was up 39.7% on a year-over-year basis. During the same period last year, the business earned $0.16 EPS. equities research analysts expect that Vertex Pharmaceuticals will post 0.76 earnings per share for the current fiscal year.

In related news, CEO Jeffrey M. Leiden sold 125,000 shares of the business’s 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 sale, the chief executive officer now owns 237,407 shares of the company’s stock, valued at approximately $33,557,479.45. The sale was disclosed in a legal filing with the SEC, which is available through this hyperlink. Also, EVP Amit Sachdev sold 40,000 shares of the business’s stock in a transaction on Tuesday, October 31st. The stock was sold at an average price of $145.05, for a total transaction of $5,802,000.00. Following the completion of the sale, the executive vice president now directly owns 89,810 shares of the company’s stock, valued at approximately $13,026,940.50. The disclosure for this sale can be found here. In the last three months, insiders sold 356,339 shares of company stock valued at $51,479,669. 1.80% of the stock is owned by insiders.

A number of hedge funds and other institutional investors have recently modified their holdings of the stock. Northwestern Mutual Wealth Management Co. grew its holdings in shares of Vertex Pharmaceuticals by 15.4% during the second quarter. Northwestern Mutual Wealth Management Co. now owns 988 shares of the pharmaceutical company’s stock worth $127,000 after buying an additional 132 shares in the last quarter. FNY Partners Fund LP grew its holdings in shares of Vertex Pharmaceuticals by 900.0% during the second quarter. FNY Partners Fund LP now owns 1,000 shares of the pharmaceutical company’s stock worth $128,000 after buying an additional 900 shares in the last quarter. Smithfield Trust Co. purchased a new stake in shares of Vertex Pharmaceuticals during the third quarter worth $135,000. FNY Managed Accounts LLC purchased a new stake in shares of Vertex Pharmaceuticals during the third quarter worth $162,000. Finally, Fuller & Thaler Asset Management Inc. purchased a new stake in shares of Vertex Pharmaceuticals during the third quarter worth $198,000. 93.09% of the stock is owned by institutional investors.

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About Vertex Pharmaceuticals

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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