Business Irish

Tuesday 16 July 2019

Orkambi deal sends Vertex's revenues soaring to €60m

Protest: Terri and Aisling Golden from Sligo campaigning for Orkambi access last year. Aisling’s sister, Grainne died from CF. Photo: Shane O’Neill Photography
Protest: Terri and Aisling Golden from Sligo campaigning for Orkambi access last year. Aisling’s sister, Grainne died from CF. Photo: Shane O’Neill Photography

Gordon Deegan

Pharma firm, Vertex Ireland's deal with the HSE to supply the ground-breaking Cystic Fibrosis drug, Orkambi last year sent revenues at the company soaring by 71pc to €60m.

In June 2017, Vertex Ireland reached an agreement with the HSE for the sale of Orkambi to around 600 people with Cystic Fibrosis (CF) here. 

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The deal came after those living with Cystic Fibrosis took to the streets to demand that the Government provide free access to the drug which treats the underlying causes of CF.

Now, new accounts just filed by Vertex Pharmaceuticals (Ireland) Ltd with the Companies Office show that revenues and operating profits increased sharply at the Irish-based company following the Orkambi deal.

On the back of the sharp rise in revenues from €35m to €60m, operating profits increased by 73pc from €1m to €1.8m. The company recorded pre-tax loss of €1.6m chiefly as a result of foreign exchange losses of €2.4m and interest payable of €1.4m. In the accounts, the directors recognise that the increase in revenues and profits "is predominantly due to increased revenues" from the Orkambi deal.

Vertex also sells another ground-breaking drug, Kalydeco, to treat the rare genetic disease that primarily affects the lungs and the digestive system.

Ireland has the highest incidence of CF in the world and Cystic Fibrosis Ireland has stated that there "has been a very high take-up" of Orkambi here.

Access to the drug was last year extended to CF sufferers aged between six and 12 and all 120 children in that age bracket with CF are now availing of Orkambi.

Speaking earlier this year, CEO of Cystic Fibrosis Ireland, Mr Philip Watt said: "The feedback that we have received back from those taking Orkambi and Kalydeco has been absolutely excellent".

56pc of the 1,300-strong CF population here are eligible for Orkambi with a further 12% of sufferers eligible for Kalydeco.

The company's revenues for this year will increase even more as a result of Brexit.

This follows Vertex deciding that from March 1st 2019 products supplied to Vertex's EU and other affiliates are being sold through the Irish firm. Vertex's global revenues from Orkambi totalled $1.26bn (€1.12bn) in 2018.

Irish Independent

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