Vertex, a New England Council member, has announced that Dr. Reshma Kewalramani, their current Chief Medical Officer, will take over as the biotech company’s President and Chief Executive Officer on April 1, 2020. She will replace Dr. Jeffrey Leiden – who was honored by the Council as a New Englander of the Year in 2018 – upon his retirement from the post. Based in Boston, MA, Vertex is the state’s second largest biotech company.
Dr. Kewalramani joined Vertex in 2017, bringing years of experience as a physician at Mass General Hospital and as Vice President at Amgen. In her new position, Dr. Kewalramani plans to continue the company’s current strategy, as implemented by Dr. Leiden. Vertex’s plan has been to expand beyond its core drugs, cystic fibrosis treatment, and make developments in five more diseases, including sickle cell disease, beta thalassemia, alpha-1 antitrypsin deficiency, COPD, and liver disease.
Dr. Leiden will remain a part of the Vertex team through 2023 to mentor Dr. Kewalramani and oversee the company’s new gene editing research site and government affairs. He praised the new CEO as a “great communicator and leader” who was instrumental in developing and executing Vertex’s recent strategy. Dr. Kewalramani will be the first female CEO at a top-tier U.S. biotech company, an industry that has struggled to diversify its executives. Dr. Kewalramani hopes her professional success as a woman of color will “ensure that people can see this as possible…as entirely in reach.”
“I am honored to become Vertex’s next CEO and to continue to work alongside Jeff, the Board and our leadership team at a time of such opportunity for the company,” commented Dr. Kewalramani. “We have a talented and dedicated team of people across the company that I will be incredibly proud to lead.”
The Council congratulates Vertex on their new leadership and wishes Dr. Kewalramani much success in her new role.