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Vertex drug approved in Canada

Vertex Pharmaceuticals Inc. said Monday that Canadian regulators have given their approval to Kalydeco, a drug designed to treat some patients suffering from cystic fibrosis, a rare and often fatal genetic disease.

In January, Cambridge-based Vertex received a similar approval for the drug from the Food and Drug Administration in the United States. Kalydeco was approved by European regulators in July.

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In Monday’s press release, Vertex said that Health Canada has approved Kalydeco to treat people ages 6 and older who have at least one copy of the G551D mutation in the cystic fibrosis transmembrane conductance regulator gene. About 100 people in Canada with cystic fibrosis are believed to have this mutation.

Other cystic fibrosis drugs only treat symptoms of the disease, which causes mucus to thicken and block the passage of air to the lungs, making it hard for patients to breathe and digest food. Kalydeco targets the cause of the disease in roughly 4 percent of the US patient population, a Feb. 1 story in the Globe noted.

Kalydeco was discovered as part of a collaboration with Cystic Fibrosis Foundation Therapeutics Inc., a nonprofit affiliate of the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation.

Chris Reidy can be reached at
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