Cramer says Vertex has a drug that will handle the ‘largest market alternative on the earth’

CNBC’s Jim Cramer on Monday suggested that investors keep an eye on Vertex Pharmaceuticals (VRTX), a biotechnology company developing a drug to treat acute pain that is not an opioid.

“The biggest pharmacy issue [is] how do we get pain removed, or at least nullified, without opiates? They have a plan — Vertex,” Cramer said on “Squawk on the Street.”

Vertex — which makes most of its revenue from cystic fibrosis treatment Trikafta — has late-stage trials underway for the pain drug, known as VX-548. Vertex has said its goal is to create a new class of prescription medications that relieve pain and address the shortcomings of opioids, namely their addictive potential.

“I do believe that if they have something, it would be the largest market opportunity in the world,” Cramer said, adding that late-stage study results for VX-548 are expected “within the year.”

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In a note to clients Monday, analysts at Leerink Partners argued that the investment community significantly underappreciates” the potential for VX-548. The firm, which has a buy-equivalent rating on Vertex shares, said it sees similarities between the current pain market and the obesity market one to two years ago.

Within the pharmaceutical industry, Cramer’s Charitable Trust, the portfolio used by the CNBC Investing Club, owns shares of Eli Lilly (LLY) due in part to the company’s drug Mounjaro. While Mounjaro is currently only approved by U.S. regulators to treat type-2 diabetes, Lilly expects its approved uses to expand to obesity by year-end. Cramer has said Mounjaro could become the best-selling drug of all time.

Here’s a full list of the stocks in Jim’s Charitable Trust, the portfolio used by the CNBC Investing Club.

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