Needham & Company Downgraded Vertex (VRTX) to Hold

September 8, 2010 2:52 PM EDT
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Price: $83.17 --0%

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    24 Buy, 17 Hold, 0 Sell

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Intra-day, Needham & Company downgraded Vertex Pharmaceuticals, Inc. (Nasdaq: VRTX) from Buy to Hold.

The firm said while the Phase 3 REALIZE trial data was encouraging, they see limited upside going forward considering high expectations for TPV launch and threats from early-stage competition.

Analysts Alan Carr and Mark Monane said, "we remain concerned by several factors, including high expectations for rapid TPV market penetration and a growing list of potentially superior candidates progressing through clinical development at other companies. We do not believe Vertex is necessarily well-positioned in the long-term when the market likely transitions to combinations of two or more direct-acting HCV agents. With final results now released, we believe upside for the stock is limited going forward. We believe regulatory/commercial success is built into the $6.1B EV and are downgrading to HOLD (was BUY). There is room for upside should the company announce surprisingly positive VX-222/TPV combination data late this year.

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