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A surprise CEO shift at Vertex

Emmens steps down as drug gets priority review

New CEO Jeffrey Leiden (left). Matthew Emmens said Vertex is ‘fully capable.’ New CEO Jeffrey Leiden (left). Matthew Emmens said Vertex is ‘fully capable.’
By Robert Weisman
Globe Staff / December 16, 2011
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The chief executive of Vertex Pharmaceuticals Inc. surprised the local biotechnology industry yesterday by announcing his retirement just as the Cambridge company got word that its next promising drug candidate is being fast-tracked by US regulators. Matthew Emmens, 60, who took over Vertex in 2009 and shepherded the first company-developed drug into the marketplace this year, said he’ll step down Feb. 1 and be succeeded by Jeffrey Leiden, 56, a biopharma veteran who sits on the Vertex board.

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