Shares of Vertex Pharmaceuticals Incorporated (NASDAQ: VRTX) skyrocketed 52.26% during afterhours trading on Thursday after the company said that mid-stage clinical trial of its unbranded treatment called VX-661 showed significant improvements in lung functions among adults.
Although the drug has to go a long way before it can potentially hit the market, the results from clinical trials have increased hope that one more cystic fibrosis drug, VX-809, which has similar functionalities could soon get an approval from the food and drug administration (FDA).
The Company said on Thursday that it would talk with regulators for latter stage studies of VX-661 and would throw more light on its development in the second half of the current year.
Just like the other treatment VX-809, VX-661 is also dubbed as corrector as it is aimed to give a correct shape to deformed genetic proteins. The deformed proteins are the root cause behind cystic fibrosis. In the U.S., it is estimated that about half of the 30,000 children and adults suffering from chronic lung disease have cystic fibrosis.
In case, the treatment VX-809 is approved then it will be used in combination with currently-approved drug called Kaludeco to treat cystic fibrosis. This is because; statistically it was found when Kalydeco and VX-661 treatments were combined, considerable improvements were seen in the functioning of lungs among adults.
Even though Kalydeco is believed to be a very effective treatment, currently, very few (about a fraction) patients are allowed to use it. However, the Combination of therapy will make it possible to treat about half of the patients suffering from cystic fibrosis.
According to Michael Yee, an RBC Capital Markets analyst, Kalydeco’s sales are expected to hit more than $1 billion mark by 2016, adding that approval of “corrector” treatments could boost Vertex’s sales by more than three times.