After listening to the interesting Barclay's presentation by the Chief Commercial Officer with its clear delineation of the role of Strategy at Vertex I have re-affirmed my conclusion that it is only a matter of When the company sells off its Hep C business. While it could happen at any time given the firm's financial needs and the interest of large Pharma in this market segment I have "moved back" my nine-month-ago prediction for the event by year end 2013 to by year end 2014.
Vertex says its strategy revolves around the core ideas of Transformative Medicines in Specialty Markets. Leading Research is the key competency. (Note; As an Investor I think this is great stuff.) In Hep C the company is "participating" in an area that is transforming but which Vertex is no longer leading. The market segment is numbered in the single digit millions of patients, decidedly not a Specialty market. Given the multi-billions of revenues projected, this is a pragmatic, not principled business decision. Once the company has determined to its and others' satisfaction just "what it has in terms of VX 135" there will be an auction and the company will exit the business. To date this looks like a "positive event uncertainty" with the question being "How high is Up?" in terms of the price others will pay. I will just "stay tuned."