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Vertex Pharmaceuticals, the Boston drug maker best known for its cystic fibrosis treatments, continues to branch out, cutting a deal with a North Carolina biotech company that is targeting several serious illnesses, including the fatal genetic disorder Huntington’s disease.

In an agreement announced Monday, Vertex will pay Ribometrix $20 million up front to discover and develop at least two RNA-targeted medicines, with an option for a third.

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