Vertex Pharmaceuticals ( VRTX) dropped 5% after setting a collaboration deal with Cystic Fibrosis Foundation Therapeutics to accelerate clinical development of VX-770, an oral drug candidate for the treatment of cystic fibrosis.

Under the agreement, CFFT will pay Vertex about $13.3 million to support clinical development through the fourth quarter of 2007.

CFFT is the drug discovery and development affiliate of the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation, a nonprofit organization.

Vertex plans to initiate clinical development of VX-770 in the second quarter of 2006 and to progress to clinical studies in patients in the second half of the year.

Vertex retains worldwide rights to develop and commercialize VX-770, and upon commercialization will pay CFFT royalties on net sales. Vertex initiated its CF research program in May 2000 as part of a collaboration with CFFT, and expanded the agreement in May 2004.

The company's stock dropped $1.77 to $36.08.
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