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AP News

Vertex's 2Q loss narrows on new drug sales

CAMBRIDGE, Mass. (AP) — Specialty drugmaker Vertex Pharmaceuticals Inc. narrowed its loss in the second quarter as sales of its drugs for hepatitis C and cystic fibrosis expanded in the U.S. and abroad.

The company posted a net loss of $64.9 million, or 31 cents per share, compared with a net loss of $174.1 million, or 85 cents per share, in the same period last year. Excluding several items, income in the latest quarter amounted to 46 cents per share.

Vertex's revenue more than tripled to $418.3 million, led by hepatitis C drug Incivek with approximately $328 million. The company's cystic fibrosis drug Kalydeco had sales of $46 million.

Analysts polled by FactSet expected a profit of 57 cents per share on sales of $469 million, on average.

"Vertex is positioned for continued leadership in the treatment of hepatitis C and cystic fibrosis, and our efforts to bring forward additional new medicines for other serious diseases are moving forward rapidly," said CEO Jeffrey Leiden.

The Food and Drug Administration approved Incivek in May 2011 for patients who have some liver damage from hepatitis C who either have not been treated, or were not cured by other drugs. The company's drug Kalydeco was approved in January for a subset of cystic fibrosis patients.

The Cambridge, Mass., company said it now expects Incivek sales to reach between $1.1 billion and $1.25 billion for the year, reflecting the "recent downward trend in the number of patients initiating treatment within the hepatitis C market." It previously expected revenue for the drug in a range of $1.5 billion to $1.7 billion.

In a separate announcement, Vertex announced positive early-stage results for a second hepatitis C drug called ALS-2200. The company plans to pursue 12-week midstage studies of the drug.

In after-hours trading, Vertex shares added $3.23, or 6.5 percent, to $53.19.

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