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A driving incentive

Scientist Marco Verwijs shows off the car he won at Vertex Pharmaceuticals. Scientist Marco Verwijs shows off the car he won at Vertex Pharmaceuticals. (Pat Greenhouse/Globe Staff)
By Katie Johnston Chase
Globe Staff / November 7, 2010

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As Vertex Pharmaceuticals Inc. prepares to launch its first product, a treatment for Hepatitis C, the Cambridge biotech is hiring a flurry of new employees to get the drug on the market. To help the process along, Vertex is giving $1,000 to $2,000 incentives to every employee who refers a job candidate who gets hired full time, and entering them in a drawing to win a hybrid car.

Marco Verwijs, who turns the company’s drug discoveries into pill form, won the first car, a silver 2010 Toyota Prius, after recommending two fellow scientists who became Vertex employees. Another hybrid will be awarded next summer.

Verwijs said he would have recommended the two scientists without the possibility of a prize, but the Prius was a motivating factor. As for winning a car at work, he said, “It was a bit surreal.’’

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