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Vertex’s cystic fibrosis drug on track to top $1 billion in sales this year

Vertex Pharmaceuticals Inc. said Wednesday that its cystic fibrosis drug Orkambi, approved by US regulators last July, remains on track to generate sales of at least $1 billion this year, a feat that would make it a “blockbuster” in its first full year on the market.

The biotech company, based in Boston, reiterated its 2016 revenue guidance of $1 billion to $1.1 billion for Orkambi and $685 to $705 million for another cystic fibrosis drug, Kalydeco, approved in 2012, in a second-quarter financial report in line with Wall Street expectations.

Vertex posted net income of $58 million for the three months ending June 30 compared to a loss of $131 million for the corresponding period last year. Its second-quarter revenue from the two medicines climbed 175 percent to $426 million from $155 million a year earlier.

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In a conference call with stock analysts, Vertex chief executive Jeffrey Leiden said his company was making “significant and steady progress” toward his goal of treating all people with cystic fibrosis, an obstructive lung disease.

To meet that goal, he said, Vertex must obtain reimbursement for Orkambi in Europe and elsewhere, expand the drug’s label to treat younger patients, and develop new medicines to treat cystic fibrosis patients with different genetic mutations.


Robert Weisman can be reached at robert.weisman@globe.com. Follow him on Twitter @GlobeRobW.