Vertex Pharmaceuticals Incorporated Moved 16% Higher in October -- Here's Why

By Brian

What: Shares of Vertex Pharmaceuticals , a leading provider of treatments for cystic fibrosis, roared more than 16% during the month of October, according to data from S&P Capital IQ.

So what: The company made several positive announcements during the month that appears to have left investors feeling more bullish about its future prospects.

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First off, Vertex reported its third-quarter results that simply smashed expectations. Revenue for the quarter landed at $310 million, far ahead of the $231 million that analysts were expecting. Net loss came in at $0.13 per share, which also much better than the $0.28 loss that the pros were looking for.

The huge revenue beat was driven by $131 million in sales from Orkambi, its newly approved medicine for treating cystic fibrosis. That number is quite impressive as the third quarter was its first on the market and it came quite close to matching the $166 million of sales generated from Kaldeco, its other cystic fibrosis medicine that was approved in 2012.

The company isn't sitting still with Kalydeco either, as Vertex's submission to use it in children as young as age two has been accepted by the FDA for priority review. A decision is expected to be in hand by Feb. 6, 2016, and if granted, it could expand the drugs addressable market by roughly 1,500 patients. While that may seem like a trivial number, it's actually quite huge when you consider that the current labeling of Kalydeco is roughly 3,400 patients worldwide.

For the full year, Vertex expects Kalydeco revenues between $605 million to$620 million, up nicely from its previous prediction of $575 million to$590 million. Orkambi should continue to grow quickly as well, though, understandably, the company did not issue guidance given that it was only recently launched.

Finally, Vertex announced that it is partnering with CRISPR Therapeuticsto gain access to its CRISPR-Cas9 gene editing technology. Vertex shelled out$105 million in an up-front payment, which was comprised of a $30 million equity investment and $75 million in cash.

Now what: It really was an excellent quarter all around for Vertex, so I certainly understand why the market bid up its shares during the month. The investment in CRISPR also seems exciting, but investors should remember that CRISPR's gene editing technology plays in a highly risky field, so it could be quite some time before we see any results from this deal. Sangamo BioSciences , for example, has been playing in the gene editing space for a few years now and while it has also inked a few deals with other industry giants its stock has had a rough 2015 as both of Sangamo's partners have changed the nature of their collaboration agreements this year. While CRISPR appears to have different technology than Sangamo, investors should remember that Vertex is taking a bit of a long shot with this deal. Still, it's good to see them willing to make a bet on an exciting technology.

With Orkambi posting such strong growth right out of the gate and the near-term catalyst of label expansion for Kalydeco, it's no wonder to see Vertex's stock flying high, so I think it remains a solid choice for risk-tolerant investors.

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Brian Feroldi has no position in any stocks mentioned. The Motley Fool recommends Vertex Pharmaceuticals. Try any of our Foolish newsletter services free for 30 days. We Fools may not all hold the same opinions, but we all believe that considering a diverse range of insights makes us better investors. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy.

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