Vertex: Sticking To Its Story
Unlike many biotechs, Vertex has consistently cast itself as a product-focused company. To get there, Vertex built a remarkably productive discovery engine that has generated an impressive development pipeline. But to date, the company has produced only one commercial product, an HIV therapy marketed by GSK. That relatively slow path to commercialization is in large part attributable to the company's reliance on its internal R&D to produce drugs. By eschewing the in-licensing path that other biotechs have taken to jumpstart their commercial development, and partnering away commercial rights to a number of its later-stage compounds, the company has left some doubting its commitment to marketing its own drugs. But Vertex is now laying the foundation for creating a full-fledged commercial capability. And if the company can stay on track as it tackles the challenges of integrating a commercial operation into its organization, it may prove the skeptics wrong and accomplish something that perhaps no other biotech has: create a fully integrated pharmaceutical firm on the back of its own R&D.
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With perhaps little over a year to go before it files its NDA for hepatitis C hopeful telaprevir, Vertex is gearing up for its transition to a commercially focused company. New CEO Matt Emmens talks to IN VIVO about the financial and cultural challenges of building a commercial organization to match Vertex's highly productive R&D.
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