Vertex Pharmaceuticals, Inc. NASDAQ: VRTX is positioned to make a new run at the 52-week high of $325.19 as the stock is confirming a cup base pattern. The biotechnology company’s stock is up 7.3% in the last month and just announced some news that could send the stock much higher.
Specifically, the company is expanding its existing partnership with CRISPR Therapeutics. Specifically, the two companies are entering into a new non-exclusive licensing agreement. For an upfront payment of $100 million, Vertex will buy the right to use the CRISPR/Cas9 gene editing technology to develop hypoimmune cell therapies for Type 1 Diabetes (T1D). These cell therapies are in addition to Vertex’s existing pipeline of T1D products.
In the press release announcing the agreement, Bastiano Sanna, Ph.D, executive vice president and chief of cell and genetic therapies at Vertex, “Having successfully demonstrated clinical proof of concept in T1D in our VX-880 program, we are excited to deepen our relationship with CRISPR Therapeutics with this agreement, which will allow us to further accelerate our goal of generating fully differentiated, insulin-producing hypoimmune islet cells for T1D.”
Despite falling today, the short-term setup for VRTX stock remains bullish for both fundamental and technical reasons.
A Blue-Chip Biotechnology Company
Whenever you’re considering investing in a biotech company you have to put a premium on the company’s pipeline. Vertex has one of the more diverse pipelines in the industry, encompassing cystic fibrosis, sickle cell diseases, muscular dystrophy, kidney disease and type 1 diabetes. This is in addition to five cystic fibrosis drugs that are already in market.
And the agreement with CRISPR Therapeutics isn’t the only recent news moving the stock. Early in March, the company received FDA clearance to study stem-cell derived therapies for T1D. Clinical trials will begin in a few months.
The recent news is encouraging to investors who have been holding the stock after watching VRTX stock drop 10% after its February earnings report. That was despite the fact that the company beat the bottom line, was in line with expectations and issued guidance for its currently available medications that were on the upper end of analysts’ estimates.
VRTX Stock May be Ready to Breakout
The recent VRTX stock move confirms a cup base formed in early March. This suggests it could be ready to break above its 52-week high that it made in January. Additionally, the stock moved up its 50-day moving average on the announcement of the deal with CRISPR.
Analysts tracked by MarketBeat give Vertex Pharmaceuticals a Moderate Buy rating with a consensus price target of $327.90. That would be just above the 52-week high. However, the analyst firm Sanford C. Bernstein initiated coverage of VRTX stock on March 21, 2023. They gave the stock an outperform rating with a price target of $344. Although the company doesn’t report earnings again until May, this recent news may be enough to initiate analysts’ upgrades.
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