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Vertex Pharmaceuticals (NASDAQ: $VRTX) Jumps on Phase 2 Results For Opioid Alternative


Vertex Pharmaceuticals (NASDAQ: $VRTX) released encouraging results from its Phase 2 trial of a pain medication designed to address diabetic peripheral neuropathy (DPN) on Wednesday. In response to this announcement, Vertex stock surged by 13% during the day.

DPN, a prolonged complication of diabetes, causes damage to peripheral nerves in areas such as the arms and legs due to prolonged exposure to high blood glucose levels, as explained by the Mayo Clinic. DPN can lead to varying degrees of pain, numbness, tingling, and, in severe cases, complications related to digestion, bladder function, and heart rate control. Left untreated, DPN may elevate the risk of ulcers, infections, and damage to bones and joints, potentially requiring amputation of the affected area.

In its study of the NaV1.8 inhibitor VX-548 treatment, Vertex observed a “statistically significant and clinically meaningful” reduction in reported pain levels across all doses. Throughout the 12-week study, patients used a Numeric Pain Rating Scale (NPRS) to document daily pain intensity, providing insight into changes from the baseline for their weekly average.

More than 30% of patients in all dose groups achieved a 50% or greater reduction in pain compared to the baseline, while over 20% of patients in the mid- and high-dose groups reported a 70% or greater reduction in weekly average pain on the NPRS.

The study found that VX-548 was well-tolerated, with no serious adverse events reported during the 12-week duration. Most adverse events (AEs) were mild to moderate in nature. Vertex noted one death in the mid-dose group due to atherosclerotic cardiovascular disease, unrelated to the study.

Following discussions with regulators, Vertex intends to advance the development of VX-548. The company has also initiated a Phase 2 study of VX-548 for patients with painful lumbosacral radiculopathy (LSR), a condition resulting from injury or impairment to nerve roots near the lumbar spine.

Simultaneously, Phase 3 studies for VX-548 to address acute pain are progressing on schedule, with results expected in Q1 2024. Vertex aims for VX-548 to emerge as an alternative to opioid prescriptions for pain treatment.

The biotech firm plans to advance both preclinical and clinical development of additional NaV1.8 and NaV1.7 inhibitors, exploring both individual and combined applications for the treatment of acute and neuropathic pain.

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Stock Price Forecast

Twenty-seven analysts providing 12-month price projections for Vertex Pharmaceuticals Inc have set a median target of $400.00, ranging from a high estimate of $500.00 to a low estimate of $325.00. This median estimate indicates a decrease of -2.70% from the most recent price of $411.08.

About Vertex Pharmaceuticals

Vertex is a global biotechnology company committed to advancing scientific innovation for the development of transformative medicines to address severe and life-threatening diseases.

We pioneered the discovery and development of the first medications targeting the root cause of cystic fibrosis (CF), a rare and life-threatening genetic disorder. Beyond our clinical development initiatives for CF, Vertex is engaged in over a dozen ongoing research programs dedicated to understanding the underlying mechanisms of various serious diseases.

Established in 1989 in Cambridge, Massachusetts, our corporate headquarters is now situated in Boston’s Innovation District, while our international headquarters is in London, United Kingdom.

With a workforce of approximately 3,500 individuals across the United States, Europe, Canada, Australia, and Latin America, nearly two-thirds of our team is dedicated to research and development.

Vertex consistently earns recognition as one of the top workplaces in the industry, acknowledged by Science Magazine, The Boston Globe, Boston Business Journal, and the San Diego Business Journal. Our research and medicines have garnered prestigious awards, including the Robert J. Beall Therapeutics Development Award, the French Prix Galien, and accolades from the British Pharmacological Society.

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