Biotech giant Vertex Pharmaceuticals (VRTX 1.04%) is gaining momentum. The drugmaker has substantially outperformed the broader market in the past year, and it is showing few signs of slowing down. Vertex's performance is especially commendable considering the world's economic issues such as inflation.

But how long can it keep going? Can the biotech continue delivering market-beating returns in the coming 12 months? To answer that question, let's look into the many things Vertex Pharmaceuticals has going on right now.

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Vertex could be nearing a new launch in a year

Vertex Pharmaceuticals is best-known for its portfolio of medicines that treat the underlying causes of cystic fibrosis (CF). The drugmaker holds a monopoly in this market. While all of the company's current products target CF, that could be about to change. Vertex is developing a rare blood disease gene-editing therapy called exa-cel in collaboration with CRISPR Therapeutics. The two partners have said that they expect regulatory submissions for exa-cel in the U.S. and Europe by the end of the year.

If they submit these applications, and unless exa-cel encounters regulatory headwinds, Vertex could be preparing to launch the therapy by this time next year. Exa-cel targets sickle cell disease (SCD) and transfusion-dependent beta-thalassemia (TDT), two conditions with few safe and effective therapy options. The gene-editing treatment is actually a cure that would rid patients of the burdensome realities of living with SCD or TDT, such as the need to receive regular blood transfusions or experience vaso-occlusive crises, which are painful side effects of SCD. 

Multiple data readouts and pipeline progress 

Developing new medicines is essential to the long-term success of biotech companies. Vertex is working on several other promising candidates, and investors can expect the company to release data readouts for some of them within the next year. One is VX-147, a potential treatment for APOL1-mediated kidney disease. The biotech is running a phase 2/3 clinical trial for VX-147. There is also VX-880, an investigational therapy for type 1 diabetes that is in a phase 1/2 study.

In the next 12 months, Vertex will likely continue to issue results from patients in this trial as they come in, just as it has in the past. Another promising product the drugmaker is working on is VX-548, which targets acute and neuropathic pain. Vertex recently announced a planned phase 3 study for this product in treating acute pain that should start in the fourth quarter. It is also aiming to kick off a phase 2 trial for VX-548 in neuropathic pain by year-end. 

These products (and others) should help Vertex expand and diversify its lineup in the future. 

The leading franchise is still performing well

We can't forget about Vertex's CF portfolio which, after a decade, is still performing well. Vertex's revenue of $2.2 billion in the first quarter jumped by 22% year over year. There are 83,000 CF patients in Canada, the U.S., Europe, and Australia, and 25,000 of them are eligible for its current medicines but have yet to start treatment.

The biotech will make some headway within this patient population by next year, but it won't access everyone who needs its therapies in this relatively short time frame. In other words, the company's CF business will, in all likelihood, still be allowing it to grow its revenue and profit at a good clip by this time next year. What does all of this mean for investors?

In a year, Vertex Pharmaceuticals' financial results should continue to be excellent, it will likely be close to launching an important product on the market (exa-cel), and it will be even closer to marketing still other products thanks to the progress with its pipeline it will make in the coming months. This biotech stock has been a market-beater for the past decade, and the evidence suggests that it can still deliver superior returns in the coming 12 months and beyond.