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Vertex CEO sees "historic launch" of the hepatitis-C drug

Vertex CEO sees "historic launch" of the hepatitis-C drug
BOSTON (Reuters) - The CEO of Vertex Pharmaceuticals Inc, Matthew Emmens, said Thursday that the adoption of its recently launched the hepatitis C drug, Incivek, has been "very, very quickly."

The first full quarter of sales in the U.S. of Incivek arise when the biotechnology company reported its quarterly results later this month.

"We will be very proud of what we show you," Emmens said, speaking at a Greater Boston Chamber of Commerce breakfast.

Incivek The launch "will be a historic launch in terms of acceptance."

Vertex shares rose to 6 percent after his comments.

"I think reading between the lines of his comments there is no indication that sales expectations for Incivek are below where they really Vertex report," said Brian Skorney, an analyst at Brean Murray, Carret & Co.

Analysts were on average expecting sales of Incivek in the neighborhood of about $ 250 million, Skorney said. He expected a number closer to $ 400 million.

Vertex shares stumbled shortly after IMS Health, which provides data on prescription and other services to the pharmaceutical industry, has revised its estimates of the number of prescriptions issued in late September.

Initially, investors believe demand was flattening. Then came IMS had not included some data, which sent the prescription number again.

Emmens declined to comment on the bug, or speculate on whether IMS has exact figures.

"I'm sure our internal data and that's how we went to the company," he said.

Incivek is one of the two new breakthrough drugs for hepatitis C that was launched recently. The other is Victrelis, manufactured by Merck & Co. Both drugs promise a cure rate greater than the disease, which affects the liver and can eventually lead to cirrhosis and liver failure.

Vertex shares closed more than 5 percent, to $ 42.28 in Nasdaq operations. They briefly traded as high as $ 42.65.

(Additional reporting by Toni Clarke in Boston, editing by Dave Zimmerman and Andre Grenon)

Vertex CEO sees "historic launch" of the hepatitis-C drug

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