On Tuesday, October 27, the Québec Government Office in Boston and the Consulate General of Canada were invited to visit Vertex, a global biotechnology company headquartered in Boston. Vertex houses a research and development (R&D) site in Laval, Quebec, employing about 100 employees and contractors – a majority of whom work directly in R&D.
Receiving us from Vertex were Dr. Youssef Bennani (Vice President, R&D and Head of our Laval, Quebec R&D Site), Andy Partridge (Vice President and Head of North America – Commercial), Martin Weiss (Country Manager for Canada) and Ken Chan (Director of Public Affairs – Canada).
The Quebec Government Office in Boston received explanations from Vertex R&D team members while visiting the site. Before the site visit, we participated in a meeting to learn about Vertex’s history and commitment to helping patients living with serious diseases, such as cystic fibrosis, through the development of new transformative medicines.
Cystic fibrosis (CF) is the most common fatal genetic disease affecting Canadian children and young adults. Cystic fibrosis mainly affects the digestive system and lungs until eventually causing death. There are over 4,000 Canadians battling this devastating disease every day, who spend the equivalent of four months working full time to receive treatments.
Vertex's Canadian team is focused on research activities related to inflammatory bowel diseases (IBD), which include Crohn's disease, ulcerative colitis, and cystic fibrosis. In addition to its focus on these diseases, the Laval site is also a centre for exploratory drug discovery efforts and early development activities.
In 2012, Vertex received approval for a medicine for cystic fibrosis in the U.S., Europe and Canada. This summer, Vertex won U.S. approval for its combination treatment “Orkambi“ for the most common form of cystic fibrosis.
We wish Vertex and its R&D Laval Center, many many more years of discovering transformational medicines which save lives.