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03/29/17 04:00:01 PM

Movers: Vertex Pharmaceuticals Incorporated

Vertex Pharmaceuticals Incorporated(VRTX) : Shares of Vertex Pharmaceuticals Inc. soared by more than 20 percent Wednesday morning, hours after the Boston biotech reported positive clinical data on an experimental drug for cystic fibrosis. The news that the treatment works so well sent a clear signal to investors that it stands a good chance of winning approval from regulators. In a conference call with stock analysts, Vertex chief executive Jeffrey Leiden said the combination medicine which pairs the company's already-approved drug Kalydeco with an experimental compound "fundamentally altered the progression'' of the genetic lung diseases in patients taking it in two separate clinical studies. Leiden said the findings were strong enough to convince the company to file application for approval with the Food and Drug Administration in the third quarter of this year. If OK'd, the combination drug would be Vertex's third CF treatment to make it to the US market in the past six years. Vertex shares were trading up 22.90 percent at $110.25 on the Nasdaq exchange shortly after 11 a.m. Wednesday. The company also is testing the two-drug combination along with several other compounds in new clinical trials that could lead to a "triple combination'' drug that would treat the vast majority of the CF patients who still lack a treatment for the condition. Robert Weisman can be reached at Follow him on Twitter @GlobeRobW.


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