|Traded as||NASDAQ: VRTX|
|Industry||Pharmaceuticals (Biopharmaceuticals & Biotherapeutics)|
|Headquarters||South Boston, Massachusetts|
|Revenue||US$1.4 billion (2011)|
Vertex was founded in 1989 by Joshua Boger and Kevin J. Kinsella. Vertex was one of the first biotech firms to use an explicit strategy of rational drug design rather than combinatorial chemistry.
By 2004, its product pipeline focused on viral infections, inflammatory and autoimmune disorders, and cancer. It maintains headquarters in South Boston, Massachusetts, and two research facilities, in San Diego, California, and Oxford, England. The company's beginnings were profiled by Barry Werth in the 1994 book The Billion-Dollar Molecule and its further development in his 2014 book, The Antidote: Inside the World of New Pharma. In 2009, the company had about 1,800 employees, including 1,200 of in the Boston area.
In May 2011, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approved the drug telaprevir (Incivek), an oral treatment for hepatitis C marketed by Vertex. Development and commercialization of telaprevir is shared with Johnson & Johnson for European distribution and Mitsubishi for Asia. Telaprevir is a protease inhibitor.
On January 31, 2012, Vertex gained FDA approval of the first drug, ivacaftor (Kalydeco), to treat the underlying cause of cystic fibrosis rather than the symptoms, in patients 6 years or older who have the G551D gene mutation. In the US, 30,000 people have cystic fibrosis. About 4% of those, or 1,200, have the G551D gene mutation. Vertex is marketing the drug at $307,000 a year per patient. Vertex also is studying ivacaftor in combination with another drug (lumacaftor) for the most common mutation in CF, known as F508del, and expects the first set of results in 2012. Vertex worked for 13 years with the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation to develop the drug.
In 2012, 24 US doctors and researchers involved in the development of ivacaftor wrote to Vertex, "We have invested our lives and careers toward the success of these inspiring therapeutic agents. We also write with feelings of dismay and disappointment that the triumph and honor that should be yours is diminished by the unconscionable price assigned to Kalydeco." In the UK, the company provided the drug free for a limited time for certain patients, then left the hospitals to decide whether to continue to pay for it for those patients. UK agencies estimated the cost per quality adjusted life year (QALY) at between £335,000 and £1,274,000—way above the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence thresholds. A company spokesperson stated that the cost of the drug reflected its clinical benefit and the cost and risk of development, "The price of Kalydeco reflects how well this medicine works, the time and cost it took to develop and our commitment to reinvest to help many more people with CF—work that is highly expensive, risky and takes the dedication of hundreds of people over decades."
- "Vertex Pharmaceuticals Incorporated". Hoover's. Retrieved 24 June 2012.
- Weisman, Robert (24 April 2011). "Rearranging the Corporate DNA". Boston Sunday Globe. p. G1. Retrieved 25 June 2012.
- Werth, Barry (1994). The Billion-Dollar Molecule: One Company's Quest for the Perfect Drug. New York: Simon & Schuster. ISBN 0671510576. OCLC 32047662. The Billion-Dollar Molecule at Google Books.
- Werth, Barry (2014). The Antidote: Inside the World of New Pharma. New York: Simon & Schuster. ISBN 9781451655667. OCLC 859375019.
- "Approval of Incivek (telaprevir), a direct acting antiviral drug (DAA) to treat hepatitis C (HCV)" (Press release). Food and Drug Administration. 24 May 2011. Retrieved 25 June 2012.
- "FDA approves Kalydeco to treat rare form of cystic fibrosis" (Press release). Food and Drug Administration. 31 January 2011. Retrieved 24 June 2012.
- "KALYDECO™ (ivacaftor) tablets". Vertex Pharmaceuticals. Retrieved 24 June 2012.
- "VX-809 (Cystic Fibrosis)". Vertex Pharmaceuticals. 7 September 2011. Retrieved 24 June 2012.
- Edney, Anna (2 February 2012). "Vertex Wins Approval for Kalydeco to Treat Cystic Fibrosis". Bloomberg Businessweek. Retrieved 24 June 2012.
- Deborah Cohen, James Raftery (12 February 2014). "Orphan Drugs: Paying twice: questions over high cost of cystic fibrosis drug developed with charitable funding". BMJ 348: g1445. doi:10.1136/bmj.g1445.
- "Kalydeco: A Price Too High to Pay?".
- Annual Report. Vertex Pharmaceuticals. 15 March 2004. Retrieved 24 June 2012.
- "Vertex Completes New Drug Application for Telaprevir for Hepatitis C" (Press release). Vertex Pharmaceuticals. 23 November 2010. Retrieved 24 June 2012.