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Trust favourite Vertex holds industry’s most valuable R&D asset 

Trust favourite Vertex holds industry’s most valuable R&D asset

Investment trust favourite Vertex Pharmaceuticals (Nasdaq: VRTX) holds the pharma/biotech industry’s most valuable R&D asset, according to calculations from the industry consultancy Evaluate. The US firm’s triple therapy of VX-445/tezacaftor/ivacaftor, which is in Phase III studies for cystic fibrosis and on track for a launch next year, is expected to achieve sales of $4.2bn/year in 2024, based on consensus sell-side figures compiled by the consultant, which calculates a net present value of the product of just under $20bn.

This is comfortably the lead product and is almost twice the second ranked upadacitinib from AbbVie, which is forecast by the sell-side to achieve sales of $2.5bn/year in 2024 and has a NPV of £10.2bn.

Vertex has a market cap of $45bn and held cash and equivalents of $3.5bn at the end of the first quarter. Vertex is the largest investment of Biotech Growth Trust (BIOG), accounting for 10% of its NAV at the end of May; the second largest holding for International Biotech Trust (IBT, 4.6% of NAV,) third largest for Worldwide Healthcare (WWH, 4.6% of NAV) and fourth largest holding for BB Biotech (BION, 6% of NAV).

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