Vertex bolsters C-suite with new CMO, chief regulatory officer

Vertex Pharma
Vertex's new appointments come after a deal-making spree. (Vertex Pharmaceuticals)

Vertex Pharmaceuticals' Reshma Kewalramani, M.D., has a successor. Carmen Bozic, M.D., the company’s newly minted head of global medicines development and medical affairs, will take over the chief medical officer post April 1, when Kewalramani moves up to the CEO seat. 

Bozic started her industry career at Biogen, spending 20 years at the company before moving onto Vertex, where she led global clinical development as a senior vice president before being promoted to her current position. In April, she will add CMO responsibilities to her duties as executive vice president for global medicines development and medical affairs. 

“I am thrilled to take on the leadership of Vertex’s talented Global Medicines Development and Medical Affairs team at such an exciting time for the company,” Bozic said in a statement. “Vertex advanced its cystic fibrosis portfolio through the clinic with unprecedented speed and purpose, and now has seven potential therapies in the clinic with the opportunity to transform the treatment of patients with other serious diseases.” 

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The company also appointed a new chief regulatory officer, Nia Tatsis, Ph.D., who joined Vertex in 2017 after working at the Wistar Institute, Pfizer and Sanofi. Before leading global regulatory affairs as an SVP at Vertex, Tatsis did the same for Sanofi Genzyme’s immunology, rare diseases, multiple sclerosis and oncology unit. 

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“The addition of Carmen and Nia to Vertex’s executive team further strengthens our leadership ranks as we work towards completing our CF journey and bringing new therapies into the clinic in a variety of new disease areas,” said Jeffrey Leiden, M.D., Ph.D., CEO of Vertex, who will retire from his post next year. His exit clears the way for Kewalramani, who will become one of the very few female CEOs in biopharma. 

The new appointments come after a deal-making spree for Vertex. Just last month, the company agreed to acquire stem cell player Semma Therapeutics for $950 million. It will pick up a stem cell-based treatment that could replace the daily injections and chronic care that are the norm for people with Type 1 diabetes. 

“This acquisition aligns perfectly with our strategy of investing in scientific innovation to create transformative medicines for people with serious diseases in specialty markets,” Leiden said at the time. 

The Semma deal came three months after Vertex ponied up $420 million upfront to dive deeper into the muscular dystrophy space. It expanded its deal CRISPR Therapeutics to the tune of $175 million and acquired Exonics and its gene editing pipeline for another $245 million. That move followed another gene editing deal with Arbor Biotechnologies in January and a protein degradation partnership with Kymera Therapeutics that cost $70 million upfront but came backloaded with more than $1 billion in milestones.