ARTICLE | Financial News

Vertex off after VX-702 Phase II data

March 10, 2006 2:39 AM UTC

VRTX fell $2.30 to $37.98 on Thursday despite reporting late Wednesday that VX-702 met the primary endpoint of ACR20 response at week 12 in the Phase II VeRA trial to treat moderate to severe rheumatoid arthritis (RA). Preliminary results showed ACR20 responses in 40% of patients given the highest dose of 10 mg VX-702, compared with 30% for placebo (p=0.04) (see BioCentury Extra, Wednesday March 8, 2006).

Comments from analysts David Witzke at Bank of America, Andrew McDonald at ThinkEquity, George Fulop at Needham and Edward Nash at Stifel Nicolaus expressed varying degrees of disappointment with the results. Fulop noted the "modest" 10% differential vs. placebo, while McDonald said he would have liked to see ACR20 response greater than 45%. Witzke called the results "unimpressive," pointing to ACR20 response rates at 12 weeks of 62% for Enbrel etanercept and 50% for methotrexate. ...