Our Culture of Innovation

Vertex innovation programs bring together the brightest minds to strike at the core of serious diseases.

About Our Programs

At Vertex, we are relentless. Fueled by the needs of patients, families, doctors and nurses, we drive innovation in every aspect of our business and from every employee for a single purpose: to transform lives.

We have developed both internal programs and external partnerships to sustain and grow the culture of innovation that got us to where we are today - a leading global biotech company that has discovered, developed and brought to patients multiple transformative medicines for serious, life-threatening diseases. 

These innovation programs focus on four strategic objectives with an overall goal of making Vertex a phenomenal place to innovate:

  • Generate and implement new ideas
  • Support all functions as innovators
  • Create new connections internally and externally
  • Nurture creative people

Our core innovation programs include the Vertex Fellows program, Vertex Opportunities for Intrapreneurship & Corporate Evolution (VOICE) and the Science & Medicine seminar series.

The Vertex Fellows program is a unique, one-year opportunity for outstanding early career scientists and physicians to join Vertex project teams and help advance real drug discovery programs. In addition to hands-on experience, Fellows receive training on the drug discovery process, mentorship from senior leaders, and exposure to many different business areas. The program is designed to augment, rather than replace, a traditional post-doctoral, residency or business school experience. David Altshuler, EVP, Global Research and Chief Scientific Officer, directs the program with the help of other Vertex senior leaders.

“The point of the Fellows Program is to make sure that we remain fresh, we bring in new people, new ideas, and also that we give back.”

David Altshuler, M.D., PH.D.
Executive Vice President, Global Research and Chief Scientific Officer

What we look for in a Fellow:

  • Experience conducting and leading breakthrough research
  • Entrepreneurial spirit for solving challenging problems with innovative solutions
  • Thirst for knowledge and the desire to apply it to an academic, clinical, start-up or industry position upon completion
  • Completed PhD, MD, or joint degree within five years of starting the fellowship

Fellows Program Timeline:

Applications for the Vertex Fellows ’20-’21 class are now closed. 

Applications for the 2021-2022 class of Fellows will be accepted from November 15th, 2020 through January 15th, 2021.

Hear From Our Fellows

VOICE is an internal, global innovation tournament that empowers all employees to develop ideas in response to “game-changing” science and business challenges. Employees who have their ideas selected go on to build cross-functional teams, develop refined proposals and execute their business plans. Throughout the process, teams receive mentorship and training to most effectively move their proposals forward. VOICE reinvigorates Vertex’s culture with an entrepreneurial spirit that encourages employees to become change makers who can contribute to the direction of the company and help advance our goal of discovering cures for serious diseases.

Since the program began in 2015, dozens of ideas have been implemented, including initiating a major research program in a new disease, multiple exploratory research projects, a 3D printing lab, a mobile app to help Vertexians find one another, and a commuter bus program to reduce traffic congestion in Boston’s Seaport District. 

“VOICE is a great tool to make sure that we don't lose that innovative spirit that brought us to where we are today. It gives everyone at Vertex an opportunity and framework for bringing their ideas forward.”

Sue Stokes
Innovation Director & VOICE Steering Committee Chair

“It's amazing to see the innovation that happens - it just blossoms on its own.”

Marcy Bennett
CF Patient Services Associate Director & VOICE Steering Committee Member

“VOICE gives employees a way to get involved in something that wouldn't be part of their normal day job - something that is outside of the realm of maybe anything they've ever done before, but they now have permission and the opportunity to really throw themselves into it.”

Pat Spain
Quality Systems Director & VOICE Participant
See VOICE in Action

Our Science and Medicine speaker series connects our employees with cutting-edge science and medical thought leaders from within and outside of Vertex. We look for thought-provoking speakers and ideas that challenge us to think about scientific problems in new ways, and provide opportunities for employees to remain lifelong learners.

Recent speakers include Atul Gawande (Brigham and Womens), Aviv Regev (Broad, MIT), Kay Davies (Oxford), Aravinda Chakravarti (Hopkins), Vamsi Mootha (MGH), Jeffrey Kopp (NIH), Kit Parker (Harvard), Rick Lifton (Rockefeller), Mahzarin Banaji (Harvard), Vijay Pande (Stanford) and George Daley (Harvard).