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Vertex (VRTX) to Report Q1 Earnings: Is a Surprise in Store?

Biotech company Vertex Pharmaceuticals VRTX will be reporting first quarter 2016 results on Apr 27, after the market closes.

Vertex’s track record is mixed with the company delivering positive surprises in two of the last four quarters and missing expectations in the remaining two quarters. The average earnings surprise over the last four quarters is +25.57%.

Let’s see how things are shaping up for this quarter.

Factors at Play

Vertex, known for its strong presence in the cystic fibrosis (CF) market, has two key CF products in its portfolio – Kalydeco and Orkambi.

While Kalydeco revenues should continue growing, the growth rate in patients on Kalydeco will be tempered by enrollment in the VX-661 program.

First quarter sales will also be impacted by inventory stocking of about $6 million in the fourth quarter.

Meanwhile, patient starts for recently launched Orkambi (lumacaftor/ivacaftor), approved for the treatment of CF in people ages 12 and older with two copies of the F508del mutation, are expected to decline sequentially, in line with the company’s prior statements regarding expectations for the rate of uptake for Orkambi. Vertex expects this trend to continue through the end of 2016, by which time the vast majority of the 8,500 eligible patients in the U.S. should have initiated treatment with Orkambi.

Orkambi sales in 2016 will comprise primarily of revenues generated in the U.S. and Germany.

Operating expenses will also shoot up as Vertex develops its pipeline and works on expanding Kalydeco's and Orkambi’s labels and continues to invest in the Orkambi launch.

What Our Model Indicates

Our proven model does not conclusively show that Vertex is likely to beat estimates this quarter. That is because a stock needs to have both a positive Earnings ESP and a Zacks Rank #1 (Strong Buy), #2 (Buy) or #3 (Hold) to be able to beat earnings. That is not the case here as you will see below.

Zacks ESP: The Earnings ESP, which represents the difference between the Most Accurate estimate and the Zacks Consensus Estimate, is 0.00% since both the Most Accurate and the Zacks Consensus Estimate are 5 cents per share.

Zacks Rank: Vertex carries a Zacks Rank #3. Vertex’s Zacks Rank #3 when combined with an ESP of 0.00% makes surprise prediction difficult.

We caution against stocks with a Zacks Rank #4 and #5 (Sell-rated stocks) going into the earnings announcement, especially when the company is seeing negative estimate revisions.

Stocks That Warrant a Look

Here are some health care stocks that you may want to consider, as our model shows that these have the right combination of elements to post an earnings beat this quarter.

BioMarin Pharmaceutical Inc. BMRN has an Earnings ESP of +22.35% and carries a Zacks Rank #3. It will be reporting results on Apr 28.

Amgen Inc. AMGN has an Earnings ESP of +3.52% and carries a Zacks Rank #3. It will be reporting results on Apr 28.

The Earnings ESP for Sanofi SNY is +4.17% and it carries a Zacks Rank #2. The company is scheduled to release results on Apr 29.

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SANOFI-AVENTIS (SNY): Free Stock Analysis Report
 
VERTEX PHARM (VRTX): Free Stock Analysis Report
 
BIOMARIN PHARMA (BMRN): Free Stock Analysis Report
 
AMGEN INC (AMGN): Free Stock Analysis Report
 
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