Senior Director, Strategic Communications
Senior Media Relations Specialist
Harvard University Contact:
Sr. Communications Officer for University Science
Harvard University and Vertex Pharmaceuticals Establish Innovative Research Collaboration to Drive Medical Breakthroughs- Innovative model for collaboration between academia and industry -
Cambridge, MA, December 19, 2007 - Harvard University's Office of Technology Development (OTD) and Vertex Pharmaceuticals Incorporated today announced they are collaborating to pursue medical breakthroughs in areas of significant unmet need. The collaboration utilizes a novel, forward-looking structure to unite the strength of Harvard's early-stage research enterprise with Vertex's extensive experience in innovative drug discovery and development. The collaboration provides Harvard investigators a pathway for pursuing novel scientific hypotheses and for advancing application-oriented medical innovation in areas of interest to Vertex.
The broad-scope, multi-year, multi-million dollar program will seek to advance research in the areas of oncology, infectious disease, immunology and inflammation, and neurodegenerative diseases, as well as in areas of basic technological enablement. Under the collaboration, Harvard University investigators will have the opportunity to propose research projects in these areas. Vertex will review all project submissions and will select projects to receive funding based on their potential to provide medical insight and translational value to world health.
"This research collaboration provides a pathway for accomplished academic scientists from Harvard to explore the most exciting scientific endeavors before them without restraint. We believe that this model, which allows flexibility within a collaborative structure, will help to push the boundaries of translational science and may eventually have a major impact on the disease burdens facing our society," stated Steven E. Hyman, MD, Provost, Harvard University.
"The collaboration announced today with Harvard underscores Vertex's commitment to groundbreaking science and the development of innovative therapies in areas of significant unmet medical need," stated Joshua Boger, Ph.D., President and Chief Executive Officer of Vertex Pharmaceuticals. "We expect that these projects will not only provide answers that are enabling for our own drug development programs, but also illuminating for all involved in these fields of research. We are hopeful as well that this relationship will further expand and deepen our collaborative efforts with Harvard in the years ahead."
Dr. Hyman added, "We're very excited to be working with a successful and well-established industry leader such as Vertex. The inception of this Program further highlights Harvard's commitment to meaningful partnerships that seek to translate innovative science performed in Harvard laboratories into the development of novel approaches to improve human health. There is already a great deal of excitement about the program among Harvard's investigators."
In addition, Harvard investigators and Vertex scientists may identify further collaborative research opportunities that fall outside the structure of the collaboration announced today, and Vertex scientists may provide input to Harvard investigators on the potential of their research projects to give rise to new therapeutic modalities and strategies. As is the case with all research at Harvard Medical School, it is anticipated that the findings that arise from these projects will be published by the principal investigators in peer-reviewed journals, and that all funded research projects will maintain unrestrained flexibility of the Harvard Principal Investigators to initiate and guide their respective scientific endeavors.
About Harvard University's Office of Technology Development
The Harvard Office of Technology Development (OTD) is responsible for all activities pertaining to the evaluation, patenting and licensing of new inventions and discoveries made at Harvard University and Harvard Medical School. OTD also serves to further the development of Harvard technologies through the establishment of sponsored research collaborations with industry. OTD's mission is to promote the public good by fostering innovation and translating new inventions made at Harvard into useful products available and beneficial to society.
Vertex Pharmaceuticals Incorporated is a global biotechnology company committed to the discovery and development of breakthrough small molecule drugs for serious diseases. The Company's strategy is to commercialize its products both independently and in collaboration with major pharmaceutical companies. Vertex's product pipeline is focused on viral diseases, inflammation, autoimmune diseases, cancer, pain and bacterial infection. Vertex co-discovered the HIV protease inhibitor, Lexiva, with GlaxoSmithKline.