Tuesday, October 4, 2022


Biotechnology News Magazine

Jeffrey M Leiden MD PhD Appointed Odyssey Therapeutics Board Chair

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Jeffrey M Leiden MD Ph.D., is an industry leader with more than 40 years’ experience in the biopharma industry.

He has dedicated his career to improving the lives of people with serious diseases, including his most recent tenure as the Executive Chairman and former CEO of Vertex Pharmaceuticals.

“I am thrilled to welcome Jeff to the board of Odyssey as a longtime collaborator and trusted colleague with decades of experience in developing life-changing medicines and building transformative companies,” said Gary D. Glick, Ph.D., Founder and Chief Executive Officer of Odyssey Therapeutics. “As a physician scientist and industry executive, Jeff has had unparalleled success in discovering and developing innovative therapeutics and building blockbuster commercial franchises. I have great confidence that Jeff’s leadership and counsel as Board Chair will be invaluable to Odyssey as we deliver on our goal of treating serious human diseases to improve patients’ lives.”

As one of the most admired and accomplished leaders in the biopharmaceutical industry, Dr. Leiden has discovered, developed, and commercialized some of the most transformative and life-changing medicines of the last two decades. As CEO and Executive Chairman of Vertex, Dr. Leiden was instrumental in building Vertex into one of the largest, most profitable biotechnology companies in the world, steering the company towards significant, sustainable growth throughout his tenure.

With Dr. Leiden at the helm, Vertex developed and commercialized several breakthrough medicines for cystic fibrosis, a condition where no other therapies previously existed, including KALYDECO® (ivacaftor), ORKAMBI® (lumacaftor/ivacaftor), SYMDEKO® (tezacaftor/ivacaftor and ivacaftor), and TRIKAFTA® (elexacaftor/tezacaftor/ivacaftor and ivacaftor).

At the same time, Dr. Leiden also built a robust pipeline of drug candidates in specialty markets, including pain sickle cell disease and type I diabetes, with a particular focus on therapies that cure or modify the course of disease.

Prior to Vertex, Dr. Leiden served as a managing director of Clarus Ventures from 2006 to 2011 and as President, Chief Operating Officer, and Chief Scientific Officer at Abbott Laboratories where he led the development and launch of multiple breakthrough medicines, including the blockbuster, HUMIRA® (adalimumab).

In addition, while at Clarus, Dr. Leiden served as Chairman of the Board of Lycera Corp., the first company founded by Dr. Glick that successfully launched multiple clinical programs along with several high profile partnerships.

“Odyssey has created one of the most exciting new drug discovery and development platforms in recent years by integrating next generation capabilities with an exceptional team responsible for developing dozens of transformational oncology and immunology therapeutics,” said Dr. Leiden.

He added, “Having worked closely with Gary in previous ventures, I am eager to collaborate again in the years ahead to support Odyssey’s development into a sustainable, fully integrated biotechnology company and to deliver on our shared vision of developing more effective medicines by targeting the underlying causes of human disease.”

Dr. Leiden began his career in academia as a molecular biologist and practicing cardiologist, earning a B.A. in Biological Sciences, a Ph.D. with honors in Virology, and a M.D. from the University of Chicago.

Dr. Leiden held several academic and hospital appointments, including roles as Chief of Cardiology, the Rawson Professor of Medicine and Pathology, and an attending physician at the University of Chicago; the Elkan R. Blout Professor of Biological Sciences at the Harvard School of Public Health; and Professor of Medicine at Harvard Medical School.

He was also involved in founding several biotechnology companies including Vical and Cardiogene and is the author of numerous patents. Dr. Leiden serves on the board of fellows at Harvard Medical School, is a Fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, and is an elected member of the National Academy of Medicine.

Dr. Leiden’s impact on the field reaches beyond the companies he has led. He is also the recipient of many awards and honors for his contributions to the biomedical innovation ecosystem, most recently being recognized for a Lifetime Achievement in Biopharma by Forbes in 2020. Among several honors, he’s also been named one of Forbes’ America’s Most Innovative Leaders in 2019, a Power 50 Honoree for several years by the Boston Business Journal, and the 100 Most Influential People in Boston by Boston Magazine.

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