Jim Cramer of CNBC has highlighted Vertex Pharmaceuticals as a company to watch in the pharmaceutical space, specifically for its efforts to develop a non-opioid drug for acute pain. Vertex, known for its cystic fibrosis treatment Trikafta, is conducting late-stage trials for its pain drug VX-548. The company aims to create a new class of prescription medications that can effectively relieve pain while addressing the issues associated with opioid use, such as addiction. Cramer believes that if Vertex succeeds in developing an effective non-opioid pain medication, it could represent a significant market opportunity. The late-stage study results for VX-548 are expected within the year.
Leerink Partners, in a note to clients, expressed the view that the investment community may be underestimating the potential of VX-548. The firm, which has a buy-equivalent rating on Vertex shares, drew parallels between the current pain market and the obesity market one to two years ago. The pharmaceutical industry is actively seeking alternatives to opioids for pain management due to concerns about the opioid epidemic and the addictive potential of these drugs.
Cramer’s Charitable Trust, part of the CNBC Investing Club portfolio, holds shares of Eli Lilly (LLY). Lilly is another company exploring new indications for its drug Mounjaro, currently approved to treat type-2 diabetes. Lilly expects Mounjaro’s approved uses to expand to obesity by the end of the year. Cramer has expressed optimism about Mounjaro, suggesting it has the potential to become the best-selling drug of all time.
The focus on non-opioid pain management solutions reflects the broader industry trend of addressing opioid-related challenges and improving patient outcomes. The success of companies like Vertex in developing innovative alternatives could have a significant impact on the pharmaceutical landscape and patient care.