Company Spotlight: Vertex Pharmaceuticals
Published on 28 September 2022
We recently caught up with global biotech company Vertex Pharmaceuticals to learn more about its innovative work in the field of transformative medicines, as well as the first in-person launch of an internship scheme delivered through its Oxford Learning Lab.
Founded in 1989, Vertex Pharmaceuticals is a global biotechnology company, investing in scientific innovation to create transformative medicines to combat serious diseases.
Located at Milton Park since 1998, its Oxfordshire premises make up Vertex’s designated European R&D base, accommodating 190 employees from over 29 different countries. Here, the full spectrum of Vertex’s drug discovery disciplines is carried out including human genetics, structural biology and medicinal chemistry. Additionally, it has global headquarters located in Boston’s Innovation District in the United States as well as an international base in London.
What does Vertex Pharmaceuticals do?
Vertex whole-heartedly believes in the potential of science to have life-changing impacts on people living with serious diseases and dedicate the vast majority of its resources and efforts towards the innovation of medicines to address them. In short, its mission is to invest in science so people can live better lives.
The company’s speciality lies in the production of medicines for treating the underlying cause of cystic fibrosis - a rare, life-threatening genetic condition - with multiple medicines approved as well as several ongoing clinical and research programmes.
Additionally, Vertex has a robust pipeline of investigational therapies to combat other serious diseases such as sickle cell disease, beta thalassemia, kidney disease, type-1 diabetes and for relieving pain.
Inspiring a new generation of scientists
A core aspect of Vertex’s ethos is fostering a life-long love for science in young people in their local communities.
David Price, Vice President and Oxford Research Site Head at Vertex Pharmaceuticals, said: “Our Learning Lab nurtures talent and provide opportunities for young people from backgrounds that have been traditionally underrepresented in biotechnology and the life sciences. Through this scheme, we aim to bring classroom concepts to life and give young people access to resources and technologies that aren’t typically available in schools.”
During the pandemic, Vertex’s Oxford-based Learning Lab was launched to provide safe, paid and online internship opportunities. Building on this success in 2022, Vertex welcomed 11 students onto a three-week, paid summer internship programme. This was able to occur in-person where students carried out experimental project work, used high-tech lab equipment, went on field trips and were supported through mentorship sessions with Vertex scientists and senior leaders.
Why Milton Park?
When Vertex moved to Milton Park in 1998, the company was keen to base themselves at a location that could support them in forming strong industry partnerships. Since its move, Vertex has been involved in numerous innovative collaborations with academic and scientific institutions, establishing an extensive network of connections within Oxfordshire’s Innovation District.
David added: “As a highly regarded and central pillar in Europe’s life sciences innovation community, Milton Park has facilitated an integral part of Vertex’s global R&D programme over the years.
“As we look to the future, we plan to further increase our capacity and workforce at Milton Park as it continues to support us in achieving our mission to improve the lives of those with serious diseases.”
To find out more about Vertex Pharmaceuticals and its work, please visit: www.vrtxpharma.co.uk/our-oxford-research-and-development-site