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Vertex Pharmaceuticals Incorporated Message Board

  • incas58 incas58 Apr 25, 1998 6:55 PM Flag

    huge increase in short interest

    latest numbers show increase from 180K to 2.8 million. Not just a coincidence I'm sure. Somebody knows something. Might be a time to join them....on the other hand, makes for a good squeeze given the cover ratio. However, don't see major postivie news imminently on the horizon and as much as I hate shorts on stocks I like, you can make mone both ways. Something to ponder.

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    • I virtually always put in limit orders of the
      maximum I will pay and have NEVER paid more. Of course I
      sometime miss trading at all and the stock continues up.
      On sell orders I frequently get more than I asked
      (recently I offered to sell Entremed at 17 15/16 at the
      open and it got filled at 80 1/2 on the day it went up
      from 12 to 85 at the opening but that is very
      exceptional!). I also sometime pay less than I had offered
      (usually at the opening when the stock gaps down but not
      always). I use e-Schwab and make an average of 5-6 buy or
      sell trades a day but that should not make much
      difference. Some brokers charge more for limit orders than
      they do for "at market" orders but I find that the
      cost difference is easily worth it.

      Today I
      wish I had sold by VRTX at 30 but put in my order too
      late. I am ready to get out of this stock and move on
      for a while. I have made money in net day trading
      while the stock has moved from 35 to 29 but it is much
      easier to do that when a stock has upward momentum than
      with what VRTX (and many other Biotech companies) has
      been doing recently.

    • in reviewing board i found your message important
      to me
      i trade ameritrade ...only recently joined
      and only made 2 trades
      both trades my buy price
      was @ the stock high
      in one case my broker "ml"
      would of charged me less
      i would appreciate your

    • I haven't heard of integrase inhibitors, but in
      any case, I agree
      with you about a PI for HCV
      being a blockbuster. HCV is quite prevalent in Asia.
      Since interferon + ribivirin does clear the virus in a
      small minority of patients it is quite likely that any
      PI in combination with interferon and/or ribivirin
      will increase the long-term response of HCV patients.
      It has been quite sometime since they announced the
      3 dimensional atomic structure of the protease
      enzyme. I wonder what if any progress they have made
      since then. Any news would be


    • clinician. If the anti-helicase stuff is anything
      like integrase inhibitors I suspect that PI will reign
      for hep c as well. the integrase inhibitors have
      delivery problems etc. But i'm not sure what's been done
      with that. I think, though, that the extensive
      experience with protease, and demonstrable efficacy in
      another virus (HIV), should push that program along.
      Educate me....

      Of course, anything for hep C will
      be a blockbuster if it's even 25% helpful given the
      cost and toxicity of interferon and ribavirin (just
      approved)....which is maybe 50% effective. Cheers-I'll bone up on
      helicase so we can have a better discussion.


    • I have also wondered what the relative effort at
      VRTX is with
      respect to helicase enzyme inhibitors
      and protease inhibitors
      for HCV? Does anyone have
      any word on this and have they
      made any progress

    • You clearly have a good sense of the PI
      The longer it takes for VX-478 to come out the harder
      it will be for vertex to get a foothold. I think the
      likelihood of a 1998NDA is beginning to fade.

      What do
      you think about their HEPC program. HEPC seems to be
      one of the most highly competitive arenas for drug
      development. It seems like this program could also arrive on
      the scene too late. The prospect of a good vaccine in
      general complicates the horizon for small molecule
      cocktail fixers.

      It's interesting that Eli Lily
      bought into the HEPC PI program and then a few months
      later Vrtx announced the solution of the HEPC helicase
      crystal structure. It will be interesting to see which
      platform produces the first lead. I wonder whether Lily
      might be tempted to expand their collab, if the
      helicase produces first results. Regardless, I think a
      good gauge of the long term value of vertex's platform
      will be the time it takes from the crystallization of
      a target to the identification of a clinical



    • 1. Nelfinavir and Indinavir are both well along
      in trials which will likely show that twice a day
      dosing is adequate (not to mention PK trials with any
      and all PI combos such as Indinavir/Ritonavir at
      lower doses 400 bid each, taken with food). So the
      twice a day is an edge but may disappear unless as you
      point out it is better tolerated
      2. B-B barrier
      could well be important
      3. Although it has been in
      trials with kids, as you know, all the other PI's are
      being used in kids as we speak
      4. So far, though it
      has been used with various cocktails (notably a four
      drug Glaxo combo blue plate special-AZT/3TC/1592/141)
      the efficacy does not appear to be greater than any
      other combos to date

      All that said, there is
      definitely room in the market place and barring a new
      salvage drug, clinicians are likely to use any new drug
      for salvage regardless of the resistance profile,
      just because it is new. So for pts who may have failed
      2-3 of the old PI's it may make sense to switch to VX
      with another PI. Any percentage of the market will
      help VRTX but I wonder how much market share is
      already priced in to the stock? We'll see. But, VRTX does
      have a strong Phase I pipeline as


    • SkinKhound:

      Your right that VX-478 does
      not appear to stand above the other PI's in terms of
      efficacy and resistance. We'd still be above 40 if it did.

      There was worry about the skin rash issue which drove
      the stock back into the high 20's. That issue seemed
      to be resolved with the Phase II data at the last
      HIV conference.

      There are some factors which
      may win market share for VX-478 with time:

      Glaxo is the #1 marketer of anti-HIV therapy.

      VX-478 is given as a twice a day regimen as compared to
      3 times a day for other drugs.

      3) It is the
      only HIV drug I know of being tested for children. I
      don't think they've released any data.

      4) There
      was some indication in prior trials that VX-478
      crosses the blood brain barrier. If this is the case,
      VX-478 would be an important cocktail component,
      especially in patients with active viral

      5) It's being tested in various Cocktail combos,
      which means clinicians will know that it works with
      other drugs rather than have to find out empirically.
      (Eg: Glaxo is testing it with Abacavir, a new

      6) Clinical Study safety/tolerance data I don't
      think shed much light on what its like for a patient to
      be on the drug. The true test of VX-478 will be when
      patients start taking it and it builds a reputation
      (either good or bad with clinicians and

      Take Care,


    • VX-710 has huge potential and the data released
      to date looks pretty good. Yeah, the run-up to FDA
      approval (which almost certainly will happen) for VX-478
      will cause a gradual increase then a pop in the price
      (maybe not the 20 points we saw on AGPH the day of
      approval) but something. I don't think it's in doubt that
      it will get approval but market share will be an
      issue given that it doesn't look like it has a
      different resistance profile than the other PI's. ABT-378
      may provide that. Anyway, great stock, and like any
      biotech it can be a wild ride.

    • I agree that bad news regarding Vx-478 will crush
      Vertex, short term. However, I think that the predictive
      value of Phase II success for Phase III success with
      the Protease Inhibitors has been very good for other

      I think the slow pace of development and
      announcements has caused individuals and mutual fund types to
      search for greener pastures (given the precariousness of
      the market and the fact that anything can happen (and
      will) in Biotech)

      Another potential surprise
      with Vertex is VX-710 (in pivotal Phase II's).
      Basically they need to announce (with Biochem Pharma)
      whether this MDR Cancer drug is going into Phase III or
      into the waste basket (like their Hemoglobbin
      disorders program). According to some research I read these
      data should have been out in early 1998. If this drug
      moves on, I think their Cancer Program could get
      block-buster-euphoria status. If it fails, tighten your belt a notch.



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