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Under Consideration

Vertex Pharmaceuticals' cystic fibrosis drug, Orkambi, goes in front of a US Food and Drug Administration advisory committee this week, the Wall Street Journal reports.

The drug is being targeted to patients with cystic fibrosis patients who have a certain genetic mutation. Vertex also makes the cystic fibrosis drug Kalydeco.

The committee, the Journal adds, will decide whether or not to recommend approval of the drug. There are, though, high expectations for Orkambi, it says, as JP Morgan predicts that, if approved, the drug could garner $1.6 billion in sales next year and $4.2 billion in 2020. 

However, Vertex was the only one of the top 10 largest (by market value) biotech companies to not report a profit last year, the Journal adds.

It also notes that health insurers and pharmacy-benefit managers are closely watching the meeting. Vertex, it adds, hasn't announced a price yet for the drug, and they are concerned that it will be high as JP Morgan is predicting wholesale price to be around $287,000 per year per patient.