SAN FRANCISCO—Vertex Pharmaceuticals is ready to do some deals. As the company looks to build on its momentum in cystic fibrosis, CEO Jeffrey Leiden said he's eyeing deals large and small—in CF and beyond.
At the J.P. Morgan Healthcare Conference Monday, Leiden said Vertex has a three-part strategy in business development. Vertex is aiming for assets that could complement its cystic fibrosis portfolio, analyzing “promising new platform technologies" such as CRISPR and mRNA, and looking at other early-stage prospects, the helmsman said.
“We have done a lot more of this in the last few years and as we accumulate a lot more financial strength, you should expect to see us do more of these kinds of deals in all three areas,” Leiden said. "Perhaps some of these will be larger than the ones we have already done.”
Still, the company plans to "significantly increase" cystic fibrosis revenues in 2018, according to its presentation slides. Vertex will also work in 2018 to improve its margins and cash flows, Leiden said.
Looking ahead, Leiden said he expects future revenue growth in cystic fibrosis to come from reimbursement deals outside of the U.S. for Orkambi, label expansions for Kalydeco and Orkambi, and the launch of pipeline drug tezacaftor combined with Kalydeco, expected this year.
In addition to orphan drug maker Alexion, Leerink analysts pegged Vertex as one of the best-positioned biopharmas for 2018. They noted that Vertex hasn't had to lean on price increases for growth but has instead expanded the approved uses for its drugs.