PharmExec Blog

Vertex Names Emmens President, Future CEO

Vertex Pharmaceuticals Thursday appointed Matthew Emmens president, with an expected transition to CEO and chairman in May 2009, when current CEO Joshua Boger is set to retire.

Emmens, a 35-year pharma industry veteran, has been a Vertex director since 2004. He previously served as CEO of Shire plc and Astra Merck Inc., and as president for Merck KGaA’s global prescription pharmaceuticals.

As Shire CEO, he expanded the company through mergers and acquisitions such as Transkaryotic Therapies Inc. in 2005, and New River Pharmaceuticals Inc. in 2007, diversifying the company’s product portfolio and quadrupling its share price.

With a potential blockbuster in the pipeline—protease inhibitor telaprevir, currently in phase III clinical trials—Emmens will have another chance to flex his management and marketing muscles. Last November, phase II trial results showed a 52 percent SVR12 in Hepatitis C Virus (HCV) treatment-failure patients with a 24-week treatment duration, therefore reaping better results in half the time than the existing standard.

“We have a rare opportunity to create a world-class commercial enterprise that complements Vertex’s excellence in R&D innovation,” said Emmens in a Vertex press release. “In the area of hepatitis C, and also in cystic fibrosis, Vertex has the potential to transform patients’ lives and build tremendous value. Together with the employees my goal is to make this vision a reality.”

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