Vertex Pharmaceuticals Inc.'s Date With Destiny

Vertex Pharmaceuticals combination therapy could treat the underlying condition in cystic fibrosis patients, something drugs from Gilead Sciences and Novartis can't do.

Jun 5, 2014 at 8:29PM

Vertex Pharmaceuticals (NASDAQ:VRTX) said to expect data from two clinical trials testing its cystic fibrosis drugs midyear. It's June. Doesn't get much more midyear than that.

The two trials, dubbed Traffic and Transport, are testing VX-809, at two different doses, plus the already-approved Kalydeco in patients with F508del mutation in the CFTR gene, the most common mutation seen in cystic fibrosis patients.

The combination therapy is revolutionary because it fixes the underlying problem -- CFTR not being able to transport chloride across the cell membrane -- while current treatments only treat the symptoms. Gilead Sciences' (NASDAQ:GILD) Cayston and Novartis' (NYSE:NVS) Tobi, for instance, are antibiotics that treat lung infections caused by buildup of mucus in cystic fibrosis patients.

While the phase 2 data for the combination therapy was positive, it was complicated by the low number of patients, making the error bars fairly substantial. Vertex hopes that, with more patients and longer dosing, the effect of VX-809 and Kalydeco will be clearer.

Investors seem to agree, although they're not completely convinced. As senior biotech specialist Brian Orelli and health-care analyst David Williamson discuss in the video below, there's plenty of upside if the trials are successful. If they fail, Vertex could be cut in half.

Watch the video for more thoughts from Brian and David.

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Brian Orelli has no position in any stocks mentioned. David Williamson owns shares of Novartis. The Motley Fool recommends Gilead Sciences and Vertex Pharmaceuticals. The Motley Fool owns shares of Gilead Sciences. Try any of our Foolish newsletter services free for 30 days. We Fools may not all hold the same opinions, but we all believe that considering a diverse range of insights makes us better investors. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy.

A Financial Plan on an Index Card

Keeping it simple.

Aug 7, 2015 at 11:26AM

Two years ago, University of Chicago professor Harold Pollack wrote his entire financial plan on an index card.

It blew up. People loved the idea. Financial advice is often intentionally complicated. Obscurity lets advisors charge higher fees. But the most important parts are painfully simple. Here's how Pollack put it:

The card came out of chat I had regarding what I view as the financial industry's basic dilemma: The best investment advice fits on an index card. A commenter asked for the actual index card. Although I was originally speaking in metaphor, I grabbed a pen and one of my daughter's note cards, scribbled this out in maybe three minutes, snapped a picture with my iPhone, and the rest was history.

More advisors and investors caught onto the idea and started writing their own financial plans on a single index card.

I love the exercise, because it makes you think about what's important and forces you to be succinct.

So, here's my index-card financial plan:


Everything else is details. 

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