VRTX Plummets After Ditching Experimental Drug

More price-target cuts and/or downgrades could be on the horizon

Digital Content Manager
Jun 11, 2021 at 10:25 AM
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The shares of Vertex Pharmaceuticals Incorporated (NASDAQ:VRTX) are down 11.7% at $191.50 at last check, after the company announced an experimental drug it was developing to treat a rare genetic condition did not translate into significant clinical benefits, and will therefore not advance into late-stage development. In response, VRTX received at least eight price-target cuts this morning, including one from Guggenheim to $240 from $285. It also earned a price-target hike from Truist Securities to $331 from $305.

The equity has had a rough go on the charts over the past year. Shares are now a long way from their July 7, all-time high of $306.08, and have been trading sideways on the charts since February due to fierce overhead pressure at the $224 mark. The 150-day moving average is also providing a ceiling, and year-over-year VRTX is down 17.9%.


Analysts are overwhelmingly bullish towards Vertex Pharmaceuticals stock, suggesting the equity may be overdue for a round of downgrades and/or additional price-target cuts. Of the 16 in question, 14 called VRTX a "buy" or better, while only two said "hold." Plus, the 12-month consensus target price of $273.36 is a 42.6% premium to current levels.

The options pits are bearish, on the other hand, with puts popular. This is per the equity's 50-day put/call volume ratio of 1.03 at the International Securities Exchange (ISE), Cboe Options Exchange (CBOE), and NASDAQ OMX PHLX (PHLX), which stands in the 97th percentile of its annual range. This indicates long puts are getting picked up at a faster-than-usual clip.  

Drilling down to today's options activity, 8,437 calls and 4,323 puts have crossed the tape so far, which is 13 times what is typically seen at this point. Most popular is the June 200 call, followed by the July 220 call, with new positions being opened at the former.


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