SALES at the Irish arm of the maker of the ground-breaking, blockbuster c ystic f ibrosis drug, Orkambi last year increased more than eight-fold to $593.4m (€506.6m).
That is according to new accounts which show that Vertex Pharmaceuticals Ireland Ltd last year returned to pre-tax profit after recording pre-tax profits of $4.8m .
This followed the company recording a pre-tax loss of $1.9m in 2018 – a positive swing of $6.7m.
The revenues at the company increased from $70.8m to $593m due to a change in the company’s operating model where now al l sales to Vertex entities in the EU are fulfilled by Vertex Ireland.
The company made the move as part of the Vertex Group’s strategy to mitigate the supply risk caused by the UK exiting the EU.
Last year, Vertex Pharmaceuticals Ireland received a cash injection of $450m from parent, Vertex Pharmaceuticals (Europe) Ltd to finance its inventory position as part of its new operating model.
This was the main driver in the company’s increase in assets with a shareholders’ deficit of $68.9m becoming shareholder funds of $385.38m at the end of last year.
In June 2017, Vertex Ireland reached an agreement with the HSE for the sale of Orkambi to around 600 people with cystic f ibrosis (CF) here.
The deal followed people living with c ystic f ibrosis taking to the street s here demanding from the Government free access to the drug which treats the underlying causes of CF.
Vertex also sells another ground-breaking drug – Kalydeco – here to treat the rare genetic disease that primarily affects the lungs and the digestive system.
Ireland has the highest incidence of CF in the world and Cystic Fibrosis Ireland (CFI) has stated that there “has been a very high take-up” of Orkambi here. CFI state that the availability of the two drugs reduces hospitalisations for CF patients by 30pc. Last year, the Vertex group’s global revenu es from Orkambi totalled $1.17bn with revenues from Kalydeco totalling $991m.