Shares in Vertex dropped by as much as 20 per cent last week after a mix up with a data analysis firm led the biotech to overstate interim Phase II results. Vertex publicly took a share of the blame but its CEO has now said how a lack of consistency from the service provider contributed to the error.
“It was the only piece of data of all the data tables we got from that vendor in this particular case that was relative. All the rest were absolute”, Jeffrey Leiden, CEO of Vertex, said at the Sanford C Bernstein Strategic Decisions Conference.
Vertex has always presented absolute data, Kalydeco (ivacaftor), for example, used this format, so the use of relative figures, in just one statistical table, by the third-party is somewhat surprising.
When contacted by Outsourcing-Pharma.com last week Vertex declined to say whether it will continue to work with the data analysis service provider. Leiden said Vertex is “taking steps to…make sure it doesn’t happen again” and his comments last week suggest the vendor could have been clearer.
Vertex will apply these checks to final data from the Phase II trial in the next month. “When we see that final data, of course, it will give us more patients, more confidence, we’ll have more statistics…and all of that we will make available to you after it’s carefully checked by us”, Leiden said.
In the immediate aftermath of Vertex posting the revised data shares in the biotech tumbled by as much as 20 per cent. However, shares rallied throughout the day to close down 11 per cent. On Friday shares in Vertex closed down 8 per cent on the pre-drop value.