: Vertex stock falls after protein-deficiency drug development stopped

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Vertex Pharmaceuticals Inc. VRTX stock fell in the extended session Wednesday after the biotech company said it would stop developing a drug to treat an inherited protein deficiency that can cause lung and liver disease. Vertex shares fell 9% after hours, following a 1.7% decline to close the regular session at $271.46. The company said it would stop developing VX-814, which was intended to treat alpha-1 antitrypsin deficiency, because of safety issues encountered in a mid-stage clinical trial. “Based on the liver enzyme elevations observed, along with the determination that we would not be able to safely achieve targeted exposure levels with VX-814, we are discontinuing further development of this molecule,” said Carmen Bozic, Vertex chief medical officer, in a statement. At Wednesday’s close, Vertex shares were up 24% on the year, compared with an 8% gain by the S&P 500 index SPX.
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