Here's a No-Brainer Stock to Buy Now That's Trouncing the Market

Atrocious, dismal, lousy. Take your pick on which adjective to use in describing the stock market. It’s understandable if you might want to throw in the towel on stocks altogether — at least for the time being.

But don’t give up just yet. I think there’s a no-brainer stock to buy right now that’s trouncing the market. Vertex Pharmaceuticals (VRTX 9.03%) shares have skyrocketed more than 35% year to date. Here are five reasons why the biotech stock should continue to deliver impressive gains for a long time to come.

1. Maximizing a monopoly

Vertex enjoys a monopoly in treating the underlying genetic cause of cystic fibrosis (CF). The company’s CF therapies generated $2.33 billion in sales and $931 million in profits in the latest quarter.

More growth should be on the way. Vertex Chief Operating Officer Stuart Arbuckle said in the Q3 call that the company expects to file for U.S. approval of Kalydeco in treating children ages one month to less than four months before the end of this year. Vertex also plans to submit for approvals in the U.S. and other countries by year-end for Trikafta in kids ages two to five years old.

2. Commercializing a cure

It shouldn’t be long before Vertex branches out beyond CF. Exa-cel holds the potential to cure many patients with sickle cell disease and transfusion-dependent beta-thalassemia. Vertex and CRISPR Therapeutics will begin submission of a rolling application for U.S. approval of the gene-editing therapy in November. Submissions in the European Union and U.K. are planned this quarter.

Vertex is building a network of authorized treatment centers for exa-cel in the U.S. and in Europe. It has also been busy laying the groundwork for reimbursement of the game-changing therapy. Exa-cel appears to be on track to become Vertex’s next blockbuster.

3. Less pain, more gain

You’ve no doubt heard about the opioid epidemic. There could be help on the way thanks to Vertex. The company is currently evaluating a promising non-opioid pain drug (VX-548) in late-stage clinical testing.

Importantly, the company reached an agreement with the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) on a phase 3 clinical trial design that will support a broad label in treating moderate-to-severe acute pain. Arbuckle said in the Q3 call that Vertex “view[s] VX-548 as a near-term and significant market opportunity.” 

4. More monopoly money

Vertex is also angling for another monopoly outside of CF. The big biotech is moving forward with a pivotal phase 2/3 study of inaxaplin in treating APOL1-mediated kidney disease. There currently are no approved therapies for treating the underlying cause of the indication.

A preplanned interim analysis is scheduled at week 48 of the clinical study evaluating inaxaplin. Vertex thinks that this analysis (assuming there’s positive news) could be used to file for accelerated approval with the FDA. 

There’s one other thing to keep in mind with the opportunity for inaxaplin. APOL1-mediated kidney disease affects around 100,000 patients in the U.S. and the EU. That’s a bigger patient population than CF, which affects an estimated 83,000 individuals.

5. Cash-filled coffers

Vertex ended Q3 with cash, cash equivalents, and marketable securities totaling nearly $9.8 billion. The company has added $2.2 billion to its cash stockpile since the end of 2021. This increase came even with Vertex’s recent acquisition of Viacyte.

The Viacyte transaction underscores why Vertex’s cash-filled coffers matter. No other company rivals Vertex in developing a potential cure for type 1 diabetes now that it owns Viacyte. Vertex is in a strong position to continue using its growing cash position to fund other acquisitions and licensing deals.

When asked about the huge amount of cash in the Q3 call, Vertex CFO Charlie Wagner said, “The priority continues to be an investment in innovation.” That priority bodes well for the company in generating growth in the future. 

A no-brainer

You simply won’t find many stocks that have delivered the impressive gain that Vertex has this year and have as many potential catalysts on the way. Is Vertex a no-brainer stock to buy right now? I think the evidence speaks for itself.

Keith Speights has positions in Vertex Pharmaceuticals. The Motley Fool has positions in and recommends CRISPR Therapeutics and Vertex Pharmaceuticals. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy.

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