Vertex Employees Donate $1M to CF and Other Communities via Matching Gift Program

Patrícia Silva, PhD avatar

by Patrícia Silva, PhD |

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Vertex Foundation matching gift program

Vertex Pharmaceuticals employees have raised more million $1 million  using  the Vertex Foundation‘s matching gift program in a show of commitment to causes that include the cystic fibrosis (CF) community, a company press release states.

The dollar-for-dollar matching gift program is being run through the nonprofit Vertex Foundation, established by the company in November 2017 as part of it’s charitable giving goal of donating $500 million to qualified nonprofits and other causes worldwide over 10 years.

To date, more than 500 Vertex employees have used the program to support 753 charities around the globe working to advance work in areas that include healthcare, human services, education, and disaster relief.

Vertex’s charitable commitment has four primary goals: supporting CF patients and caregivers worldwide, including enabling access to Vertex’s medicines; helping underserved students and young women with STEAM (science, technology, engineering, arts and math) education; supporting young doctors and scientists; and strengthening and fostering innovation in local communities through health and wellness programs.

“Giving back is in our DNA at Vertex, and our employees have a long history of going the extra mile to improve the lives of patients, students and their neighbors,” Jeffrey Leiden, president, chairman and chief executive officer of Vertex, said in the release. “I’m proud that The Vertex Foundation is able to help extend the impact of our employees’ giving and look forward to seeing the reach of these investments in the causes they care about most.”

Also as part of its 10-year commitment, Vertex awarded $400,000 in scholarships to eligible CF patients and their family members in May as part of its second “All in for CF” scholarship program. In total, 80 scholarships worth $5,000 each were awarded for the upcoming academic year.

Vertex, which specializes in cystic fibrosis, has three approved CF therapies: Kalydeco (ivacaftor), Orkambi (lumacaftor/ivacaftor), and Symdeko (tezacaftor/ivacaftor).

The company is also testing potential triple combination treatments for CF.

The soon-to-open Phase 3 AURORA clinical trial program will evaluate the safety and tolerability of VX-445 plus VX-661 (tezacaftor) and Kalydeco. It will recruit select CF patients, ages 12 and older, with one F508del mutation and one minimal function mutation (AURORA F/MF) and those with two copies of the F508del mutation (AURORA F/F).

This program is expected to get underway in July.

Vertex is also recruiting patients to two other Phase 3 trials (NCT03460990 and NCT03447249) that are part of its ECLIPSE program, testing the effectiveness VX-659 plus VX-661 (tezacaftor)  and Kalydeco in CF patients with mutations in groups similar to AURORA. These trials are now enrolling hundreds of people at sites across the U.S., Europe and elsewhere; more information is available by clicking on their respective NCT numbers.

Both AURORA and ECLIPSE aim to bring Vertex one step closer to  its goal of developing a triple combination regimen that can treat up to 90 percent of all CF patients.