Jeffrey Leiden, M.D., Ph.D.

Executive Chairman

Jeffrey Leiden, M.D., Ph.D.

Jeff's Leadership



Jeffrey Leiden, M.D., Ph.D., is the Executive Chairman of Vertex Pharmaceuticals. He received his B.A., M.D. and Ph.D. degrees with honors from the University of Chicago. He is a physician and scientist who, for the last 40 years, has dedicated his career to improving the lives of people with serious diseases. His experience spans all aspects of the biotechnology and pharmaceutical industries.

He began his career in academia as a molecular biologist and practicing cardiologist. From 1987 to 2000, 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. Dr. Leiden was named a Crain’s Chicago Business 40 Under 40 in 1994, and he served as a member of the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute Board of Scientific Counselors from 1994 to 1999. During his academic career, he was also involved in starting several biotechnology companies including Vical and Cardiogene.

"Innovation is discovering transformative medicines - that target the underlying causes of disease, not just symptoms."

- Dr. Jeff Leiden

From 2000 to 2006, he served as President, Chief Operating Officer and Chief Scientific Officer at Abbott Laboratories where he was responsible for running Abbott’s global pharmaceuticals business. While at Abbott, Dr. Leiden led the development and launch of multiple breakthrough medicines, including HUMIRA® (adalimumab) for rheumatoid arthritis and other autoimmune diseases and KALETRA® (lopinavir/ritonavir) for HIV infection.

From 2006 to 2011, he was a managing director of Clarus Ventures, a life sciences venture capital firm. There he was dedicated to developing new treatments through the creation of innovative biotechnology companies.

Dr. Leiden has served as a member of Vertex’s board of directors since 2009 and was President and CEO from 2012 to 2020. Under his leadership, Vertex delivered the first and only precision medicines to treat the underlying cause of cystic fibrosis (CF). It is his mission and the basis of the company’s research priorities to bring transformative medicines to people with CF and other serious diseases. Dr. Leiden also cares deeply about inspiring and equipping under-resourced students and young women to become the next generation of scientific leaders. He established a signature program at Vertex to enhance STEAM education among students in the local communities, including an on-site Learning Lab, mentorship programs, internships and college scholarships. In 2017, Vertex announced a sustained corporate giving commitment of $500 million over the next 10 years, of which $50 million is focused on STEAM education.

In addition to his responsibilities at Vertex, Dr. Leiden is currently chairman of Casana, a home health monitoring company, and chairman of Odyssey Therapeutics, a company developing novel medicines for the treatment of cancer and autoimmune diseases. He is chairman of the Massachusetts Competitive Partnership and a director of the Massachusetts Mutual Life Insurance Company. He has held a number of industry board positions and was the former vice chairman of Shire Pharmaceuticals and was formerly a director of PathAI, Millenium Pharmaceuticals, Abbott Laboratories, Quest Diagnostics, TAP Pharmaceuticals and Tmunity Therapeutics.

Dr. Leiden serves on the board of fellows of Harvard Medical School, and as co-chair of the Massachusetts Governor’s STEM Advisory Council and Digital Healthcare Council. He is a Fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences and an elected member of the National Academy of Medicine, the American Society of Clinical Investigation and the Association of American Physicians. During his tenure at Vertex, Dr. Leiden received a number of distinguished honors and awards for his contributions to the biomedical innovation ecosystem, STEAM education and Vertex’s advances in CF research, including:

  • Lifetime Achievement in BioPharma, Forbes (2020)
  • America’s Most Innovative Leaders, Forbes (2019)
  • Star of STEM, Museum of Science (2019)
  • Public Company of the Year, National Association of Corporate Directors, New England Division (2019)
  • Power 50 Honoree, Boston Business Journal (2013, 2014, 2015, 2017, 2018)
  • Service to Science Pharmaceutical Industry Leadership Award, National Disease Research Interchange (2018)
  • Henri A. Termeer Innovative Leadership Award, Massachusetts Biotechnology Council (2018)
  • STEM Corporate Leader of the Year Award, United Way Foundation (2018)
  • 100 Most Influential People in Boston, Boston Magazine (2018, 2020)
  • Academy of Distinguished Bostonians, Greater Boston Chamber of Commerce (2018)
  • Hope Award, Biomedical Science Careers Program (2018)
  • New Englander of the Year, New England Council (2018)
  • Biopharma CEO of the Year, STAT News (2018)
  • IMPACT Award, New England Venture Capital Association (2017)
  • EY Entrepreneur of the Year®, EY New England Region (2017)
  • Uncork the Cure Award, Massachusetts Cystic Fibrosis Foundation (2015)
  • MVP Award, Boomer Esiason Foundation (2014)
  • EY Entrepreneur of the Year®, New England Region (2017)
  • Uncork the Cure Award, Massachusetts Cystic Fibrosis Foundation (2015)
  • MVP Award, Boomer Esiason Foundation (2014)