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Vertex Pharmaceuticals on Wednesday selected two cystic fibrosis drugs to advance into late-stage clinical trials as part of different triple-combination regimens. The decision was based on new clinical data, also disclosed Wednesday, showing large improvements in lung function for patients with a type of cystic fibrosis that is genetically resistant to all treatments now on the market.

If the two new drugs reach the market, Vertex would be able to successfully treat the underlying cause of cystic fibrosis in roughly 90 percent of the 75,000 patients worldwide, up from roughly half.


The two drugs moving forward into Phase 3 clinical trials are VX-659 and VX-445. When each was combined with two other Vertex drugs in separate Phase 2 studies, VX-659 and VX-445 led to the best responses in patients, with some showing 13 percent and nearly 14 percentage point improvements, respectively, in an important measure of lung capacity.

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