Anyone who's been to one of the big investment banking biotech conferences knows the routine. The CEO makes a few well considered, practiced remarks and carefully stays on script. But Vertex ($VRTX) CEO Matthew Emmens didn't stick with any script at yesterday's presentation at Morgan Stanley. With some stellar early Incivek sales figures to his credit, he used the occasion to chide Morgan Stanley's David Friedman with some unusually blunt language.
"Do you understand this company? I don't think so," Emmens told the analyst, according to a report by the seasoned Dow Jones observer Peter Loftus, who's seen his own share of these conferences."By what I read, I don't think you understand our company. I'm going to do the best I can to prove you wrong again and again, because it's been fun. But when does it stop, you know?"
The occasion was Morgan Stanley's big Global Healthcare Conference in New York, where Friedman was querying execs on their performance. For his part, Friedman responded that he is "trying to do the work that we see." And while he was quick to concede that Vertex had done better than he had initially expected, Friedman wasn't making apologies.
Emmens reply: "OK. You do your job, we'll do ours. Keep it up." He also noted that Vertex is preparing an application for its closely watched cystic fibrosis drug.
As Loftus notes, Emmens kept the mood relatively light. But as Vertex shifts from its role as an R&D organization to add marketing a blockbuster, it's clear that Emmens will lead Vertex from the front.
- here's the story from Dow Jones