Vertex CEO Leiden touts gangbusters Trikafta launch in 'mic drop' earnings call

In his final earnings call with analysts Thursday, Vertex chief Jeffrey Leiden took a few moments to reflect on his eight-year tenure. Despite a run of success, Leiden's final move as CEO could be one of his most successful: The U.S. launch of triple-combo cystic fibrosis med Trikafta, which one analyst compared to a "CEO mic drop."

In the two months after an FDA approval in late October, Trikafta raked in $420 million in sales, taking its place as Vertex's highest-selling med in just one quarter on the market—and a partial quarter to boot, executives said on the call. 

By launch, Trikafta had a U.S. target of 18,000 eligible CF patients, easily the largest among any of Vertex's CF launches, including Symdeko, Orkambi and Kalydeco. Stuart Arbuckle, Vertex's chief commercial officer, said the drugmaker's sales and marketing infrastructure was ready for launch—and ready to handle higher-than-expected patient demand for the drug. 

"Our commercial supply, market access, patient support, marketing and field teams were ready for an early approval," Arbuckle told analysts. "And since October, these teams have been doing a phenomenal job with CF centers and commercial and government payers. The centers and their multidisciplinary teams have done a remarkable job responding to the high patient demand."

RELATED: Vertex is 'humming' with triple combo launch Trikafta underway: analyst