- Fresh off the dedication of a major new building in Boston’s Seaport, Vertex Pharmaceuticals said it’s making plans for yet another facility that it claims will make the company the biggest biotech by square footage in the city.
- On Tuesday, Vertex dedicated Leiden I, a site focused on cell and genetic therapies and named for former CEO and current Executive Chairman Jeffrey Leiden. Housing more than 400 employees, it’s mostly made up of lab and research space, but also includes clinical manufacturing.
- Vertex expects to complete the new building, dubbed Leiden II, in 2025. Also in the Seaport, it will cover 344,000 square feet and include labs, offices and manufacturing with room for about 500 employees. When construction is complete, the company will occupy five sites in the Seaport, spanning 1.9 million square feet.
The fresh building investment is more evidence of Vertex’s efforts to expand into new areas. Though research setbacks led some analysts to question the company’s future last year, Vertex management has remained optimistic. “This is time to double down, not walk away,” CEO Reshma Kewalramani told BioPharma Dive in September.
After the loss of its hepatitis C business to competition in 2014, Vertex rebounded with a series of therapies for cystic fibrosis that now dominate the market. Its top drug, Trikafta, brought in nearly $1.8 billion in the first quarter of 2022.
Investors want to see what Vertex can do next. The company says it’s vying to develop transformative — and possibly curative — therapies for conditions including sickle cell disease and Type 1 diabetes. To do that, it’s branched out into cutting-edge technologies, buying Semma Therapeutics and bringing on partners including Arbor Biotechnology and Mammoth Biosciences.
Last year, it also spent another $900 million to take on a larger share of the potential profits from its work with partner CRISPR Therapeutics. The companies’ experimental treatment for patients with the inherited blood disorders sickle cell and beta thalassemia has shown promise in research to date.
Along with the facility announcement, Vertex and its foundation on Tuesday said they would commit $50 million to “health equity,” with programs designed to improve access to care, workforce education and clinical trial diversity.