Clinical Trial Error Sends Vertex Shares Down

Company blames data 'misinterpretation' with outside analysis firm


Vertex Pharmaceuticals (NASDAQ:VRTX) saw its shares drop 11% in Tuesday trading on news of a mistake in the clinical trial results for its cystic fibrosis treatments.

The company’s shares had been rising fast on positive news from the trials, soaring by 50% in early May after it reported good results from the drug trials, Bloomberg noted.

A Big Trade on Big Pharma
A Big Trade on Big Pharma

Initially, Vertex said that two of its drugs, Kalydeco and VX-809, used in combination, boosted lung function by 5% in 46% of patients, and 10% in 30% of patients in the trial.

However, yesterday, Vertex officials said that the earlier results contained “misinterpretation” of statistical data between itself and an outside statistical analysis firm that led to an overstatement of the lung function improvements for patients in the trial.

After correcting for the error, the trial showed lung function improvements of 5% in 35% of patients, and 10% in 19% of patients.

The company noted that the corrected results still showed good lung function improvement for patients taking the drugs.

Kalydeco has already been approved for certain forms of the disease, affecting about 4% of all cystic fibrosis sufferers. VX-809 is a newly developed and still experimental medication. The combination of the drugs was aimed at treating about half of all people with the disease.

Vertex shares edged up by about 1% in early Wednesday trading.

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