Vertex builds out BD group with sharp focus on in-licensing

September 17, 2014 ctheodoropulos

Vertex is very interested in meeting with companies with transformative technologies and/or assets. We’re more focused now on our BD efforts than ever before,” said Phil Tinmouth, who heads Business Development & Alliance Management for Vertex Pharmaceuticals.

“Over the past year we have more than doubled the size of our BD group and we are continuing to expand,” he said. ” We have also expanded the substantive capabilities of the group, bringing on MDs and PhDs with transactional, technical, development and commercial expertise giving us all the cross-functional capabilities to work with partners. We work seamlessly with our internal organization, and have a very tight relationship with senior management.  All of this means we can move very quickly to make decisions. And we have all the resources, including global development and commercial capabilities, necessary to successfully develop and commercialize innovative medicines.”

Phil Tinmouth, Vertex Pharmaceuticals

Phil Tinmouth, Vertex Pharmaceuticals

Both at BioPharm America™ in Boston and BIO-Europe® in Frankfurt, Vertex is on the hunt for research to late-stage development opportunities to further strengthen its pipeline through collaborations, part of a strategic shift meant to complement the ongoing internal research and development programs.

At BioPharm America, Phil Tinmouth from Vertex will join a panel of senior executives from pharma and venture capital firms for a VIP luncheon hosted by John Carroll, Editor-in-Chief of FierceBiotech, centered around the topic of how partners can work together in today’s environment to advance real innovation.

According to Chairman, President and CEO Jeffrey Leiden, MD, PhD, “Vertex was built upon innovative science, and our commitment to research will continue to be our growth engine for the future as we seek to create new transformative medicines for cystic fibrosis, cancer, multiple sclerosis and other serious and rare diseases.”

Tinmouth told partneringNEWS, “Our great research organization has brought Vertex to its current leadership position in the disease areas we treat, and that group is continuing to generate pipeline assets and technologies to drive Vertex ever forward.  However, it is not possible to cover all the bases internally. So we are going out with a targeted approach to collaborate with innovative companies in areas of interest that have a like-minded approach to treating serious disease.

“We are looking across the gamut of opportunities where we see potentially transformative science, something that at the outset has the promise to address an unmet need, to change patients’ lives and prognosis in a very tangible way. We are looking at assets that are in the research stage or in late-stage discovery and those that are farther along in development. Those later-stage opportunities in Phase II and Phase III must also have transformative potential and address high unmet medical need as well as fit with our specialty commercial model.  Ultimately, we have a high bar in terms of the kinds of programs we would pursue.

“One of the great things about Boston is that it is a great hub for biotechnology, and we are assessing a significant number of opportunities here.  But we will go to wherever necessary to find innovative assets and technologies. We will work with a company wherever it is located.”

Apart from a few acquisitions, Vertex has primarily been known as a net out-licensor to this point in it 25-year history, explained Tinmouth.

“It is not so long ago that we were on the other side of these transactions, negotiating deals as an out-licensor. This sensitizes us to what smaller partners are saying and what their concerns might be as the licensor, and will enable us to address these concerns in a manner that will give the collaboration the best chance for success,” he said.

“Our approach to reaching out is less of a model than it is a philosophy,” said Tinmouth. “Given our objective is to broaden our capabilities and understanding in new areas and to gain access to new assets and technologies, we seek to understand what each partner’s strengths are, and to structure the collaboration around those strengths.  We do not insist on doing the research work here at Vertex. However, there are certainly going to be activities in the discovery phase that we think we can do very well, so our goal is to determine who has what strengths and what is the shared vision for where we want to get to in this collaboration, and structure a deal around that shared vision.”


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