Vertex CEO Emmens rolls out his five-year plan

Matthew EmmensVertex's late-stage program for the hepatitis C drug telaprevir has absorbed a huge amount of revenue in recent years. The developer, which also believes it's on track to get an approval for a new oral therapy for cystic fibrosis, hired more than 200 people last year as its ranks swelled to nearly 1,300. And the Cambridge, MA-based company believes it's on track to create the next Big Biotech outfit.

Xconomy's Luke Timmerman recently sat down with Matt Emmens, who was named CEO last spring, to discuss the 58-year-old's odyssey in the biopharma world. In a detailed profile, Emmens describes how he started out as a sales rep for Merck, rose to COO of Astra Merck, which sold Prilosec, and then took the helm at Shire. His connections landed him a spot on Vertex's board and led him to the CEO's job at a time the company is poised to shift its primary focus from development to marketing.

"This is a defining year for the company," Emmens tells Xconomy, adding that he's planning to stay for a total of five years as the company goes through its transformation. "Are you changing fast enough? Is the team changing fast enough? Will they tell you that things are no longer the way they should be? You need a new set of eyes to come in and look at the company about every five years. I think you can stay around too long."

- here's the profile from Xconomy