I'm a little surprised by the 11% gain in Vertex Pharmaceuticals (Nasdaq: VRTX) at the opening today. Sure, the cure rates released yesterday for the phase 3 trial testing its hepatitis C drug telaprevir were substantially better than the current standard of care, but were investors really expecting anything less from the Motley Fool Rule Breakers pick?

Telaprevir was able to cure 75% of patients when added to the standard of care for 12 weeks, followed by standard of care for an additional 12 or 36 weeks. The standard of care -- Roche's Pegasys plus ribavirin for 48 weeks -- cured just 44% of the patients. The trial also tested the use of the drug for just eight weeks, but the lower cure rate of 69% means most patients would likely use it for 12 weeks.

Seventy-five percent is a lot better than 44%, and it's great that telaprevir cuts the time that many patients have to be on Pegasys. About 70% of those cured were able to stop Pegasys after just 12 additional weeks, which is a great selling point considering Pegasys' side effects. But a 75% cure rate isn't out-of-this-world good. A phase 2 trial run by Vertex's partner, Johnson & Johnson (NYSE: JNJ), showed cure rates above 80%.

Maybe the increase today is just a relief rally that something really bad didn't happen. In fact, the rash that telaprevir caused in other studies seems to be nearly nonexistent in the larger phase 3 study; just 1.4% of patients taking telaprevir for 12 weeks dropped out of the study because of it -- half the level in the J&J trial.

Coming up, we'll get two more phase 3 results for telaprevir next quarter, including one for patients who previously failed treatment. Results from Merck's (NYSE: MRK) potential competitor boceprevir should also be on their way shortly.

The 75% cure rate sets the bar for Merck and companies such as Roche, Bristol-Myers Squibb (NYSE: BMY), and Gilead Sciences (Nasdaq: GILD) that are farther back in development. If they can't match that number, you can expect Vertex to have more double-digit jumps in its future. But if they do, watch out below; the biggest-little biotech in the world has a lot of sales already priced in.

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Fool contributor Brian Orelli, Ph.D., doesn't own shares of any company mentioned in this article. Johnson & Johnson is an Income Investor selection, and Motley Fool Options recommended buying calls on the stock. The Fool has a disclosure policy.