Are Vertex Pharmaceuticals Incorporated (VRTX) Option Buyers Banking On a Bid?

Vertex Pharmaceuticals Incorporated (VRTX) calls are hot amid hopes for a Gilead Sciences, Inc. (GILD) bid

by Andrea Kramer

Published on Apr 21, 2015 at 2:14 PM
Updated on Apr 21, 2015 at 2:14 PM

Vertex Pharmaceuticals Incorporated (NASDAQ:VRTX) is flirting with a 5.1% lead at $132.11, after analysts at Bernstein urged a buyout bid from fellow drugmaker Gilead Sciences, Inc. (NASDAQ:GILD). What's more, VRTX option traders are seemingly hoping the takeover chatter comes to fruition, with bullish bets crossing the tape at six times the average intraday rate.

VRTX has seen close to 3,000 calls change hands thus far, compared to fewer than 600 puts. Most popular is the out-of-the-money May 140 call, where buy-to-open action has transpired. By purchasing the call at a volume-weighted average price (VWAP) of $4.96, the buyers will make money if VRTX conquers $144.96 (strike plus VWAP) -- in uncharted territory -- by the close on Friday, May 15, when front-month options expire.

Today's appetite for long calls over puts marks a change of pace for VRTX. On the International Securities Exchange (ISE), Chicago Board Options Exchange (CBOE), and NASDAQ OMX PHLX (PHLX), the equity's 10-day put/call volume ratio of 1.46 stands higher than 89% of all other readings from the past year. In other words, option buyers have scooped up VRTX puts over calls at a faster-than-usual clip during the past two weeks.

On the charts, Vertex Pharmaceuticals Incorporated (NASDAQ:VRTX) has been a standout, touching a record high of $136.33 just over a month ago. What's more, the equity has been historically stellar in the second quarter, and is already up 11.7% so far in April.


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