Columbia Technology | Ventures
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Columbia's licensee Alkeus Pharmaceuticals snags Vertex's former CEO

Alkeus Pharmaceuticals Inc., a Boston-based startup focused on treatments for serious ophthalmic conditions, has attracted former Vertex Pharmaceuticals Inc. CEO and President Josh Boger as its new executive chairman.

Boger is one of three people listed in the company’s management on its Web site, along with President, CEO and founder Leonide Saad and scientific founder Ilyas Washington of Columbia University. Boger was not immediately available to be interviewed about his new position.

According to Boger’s profile on the Web site, he joined Alkeus as executive chairman in May 2012, three years after he retired as CEO of Vertex. As founder of Vertex, he led the company’s efforts to develop science-based transformative medicines for more than 20 years. The global company now employs more than 2,000. Boger also was a pioneer in setting up alliances between pharma and disease-focused foundations, which resulted in the commercialization of the first drug to address the genetic defect associated with cystic fibrosis, the site noted.  He will keep serving on Vertex’s board. He also is chair of the board of Harvard Medical School, chair of the board of trustees at Wesleyan University, chair of the Network for Healthcare Innovation, as well as other board activities, including at MassChallenge.

It was during the MassChallenge competition in 2011, when Alkeus vied for funding and ultimately got $100,000, that Boger and Saad met, The Boston Globe reports. Boger made a small investment in Alkeus, which is working to establish proof-of-concept for its ALK-001 experimental treatment that aims to help slow vision loss related to Stargardt disease, according to the report.

Alkeus is investigating methods to treat other rare genetic diseases such as Leber Hereditary Optic Neuropathy, an inherited disease that leads to sudden loss of vision in young adults as well as in autosomal recessive Retinitis Pigmentosa and in Cone Rod Dystrophy, two forms of serious vision loss that often occur early in life.

By Lori Valigra

Article from Mass High Tech.


Alkeus Pharmaceuticals licenses novel compounds invented by Dr. Ilyas Washington from Columbia University for potential treatments of ophthalmologic conditions.

To view tecnologies from Dr. Washington, please click here.

to view Dr. Washington's lab webiste, please click here. (Open in Firefox for best results.)