Renowned Geneticist Altshuler Ditches The Broad Institute For Vertex Pharmaceuticals (MA)

Published: Dec 16, 2014

Renowned Geneticist Altshuler Ditches The Broad Institute For Vertex Pharmaceuticals

December 16, 2014

By Krystle Vermes, BioSpace.com Breaking News Staff

David Altshuler, one of the founding members of the Broad Institute at Harvard University, announced on Dec. 15 that he will be joining Vertex Pharmaceuticals Incorporated as the executive vice president of global research and the chief scientific officer.

“David is an internationally recognized leader in human genetics and precision medicine, and I look forward to his insights and leadership as we advance key research programs in the coming years,” said Jeffrey Leiden, chairman, president and chief executive officer of Vertex.

At Vertex Pharmaceuticals Inc., Altshuler will be in charge of the company’s research efforts aimed at discovering new medicines. He will also oversee activities across five research sites in the U.S., Canada and Europe. Vertex, which was founded more than 20 years ago, is based in Cambridge, Mass. It has more than 2,000 employees around the world and sites located in the U.S., U.K. and Canada.

Vertex is known for its groundbreaking science and for solving problems that had long seemed intractable,” said Altshuler. “I look forward to bringing my experience in human genetics and medicine to the company’s ongoing research efforts. During my time on the board of directors, I have been tremendously impressed by Vertex’s ability to integrate fundamental disease biology and cutting edge technology to help patients and to maintain a commitment to scientific excellence through a period of significant global growth.”

Altshuler Joins the Board
In May, Vertex announced that Altshuler had officially joined its board of directors as an independent director. He joined a class of directors with a term that expires in 2015.

“David’s unique scientific experience with human genetics coupled with his background as a practicing physician will provide our board with strong scientific and medical direction as we both advance our broad pipeline of later-stage medicines and focus on early-stage research activities,” Leiden commented at the time of the announcement. “I welcome David to our board and look forward to his contributions at this exciting time for our company.”

Through his work, Altshuler has helped expand upon the scientific community’s understanding of DNA sequence variation. Since 2003, he had been directing the Broad Institute’s program in Medical and Population Genetics. He has also served on the faculty of Massachusetts General Hospital’s Department of Molecular Biology, the Diabetes Unit of the Department of Medicine and the Center for Human Genetic Research.

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