Founded by Joshua Boger and Kevin Kinsella in 1989, Vertex was established on the firm conviction that no challenge should be too great especially where improving the quality of life for people with serious diseases is concerned. The biotechnology firm is also among the first in the industry to use rational drug design as a strategy instead of combinatorial chemistry.
Vertex is proud to be a pioneer in the industry with several firsts including:
• 1996 – The company was the first to publish the hepatitis C virus in cell’s protease crystal structure.
• 1999 – Together with GlaxoSmithKline, the company co-discovered and commercialized an HIV protease inhibitor, which was approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration during this year.
• 2005 – The U.S. Food and Drug Administration grants its approval for a second HIV protease inhibitor, which was also created in collaboration with GlaxoSmithKline.
• 2007 – The company conducted its clinical research and development on multiple oral drugs for targeting the underlying causes of cystic fibrosis, not just the symptoms.
• 2010 – The company completes its first-ever New Drug Application, which was followed the following year with the U.S. Food and Drug Administration’s approval for its first drug, telaprevir (Incivek). The drug, a protease inhibitor, is an oral treatment for hepatitis C that was developed, commercialized and distributed by Vertex with Johnson & Johnson.
• 2012 – The company receives approval for its first-ever cystic fibrosis medicine in the United States, Canada and Europe. The drug, ivacaftor marketed under the Kalydeco trade name, treats the underlying cause of cystic fibrosis for a specific cohort (i.e., patients 6 years or older who have been identified with the G551D gene mutation.
• 2015 – The company receives the U.S. Food and Drug Administration’s approval for its second cystic fibrosis drug.
In fact, Vertex is the first and only biotech company to have developed multiple medicines that target cystic fibrosis’ underlying cause, an achievement for which it was awarded the first Forbes Breakthrough Drug Award.