For Immediate Release - May 21, 2014

GOVERNOR PATRICK SWEARS IN DR. JEFFREY LEIDEN AS CO-CHAIR OF THE GOVERNOR’S SCIENCE, TECHNOLOGY, ENGINEERING AND MATH ADVISORY COUNCIL

Dr. Leiden will join Congressman Kennedy and Council members to enhance the Commonwealth’s economic and educational future in STEM

Jeff Leiden Swearing-In

Governor Patrick swears in Dr. Jeff Leiden, Co-Chair of the STEM Council in the State House. (Photo: Sam Sarkisian / Governor's Office)

BOSTON – Wednesday, May 21, 2014 – Governor Deval Patrick today swore in Chairman, President and Chief Executive Officer of Vertex Pharmaceuticals Dr. Jeffrey Leiden as the new Co-Chair of the Governor’s Science, Technology, Engineering and Math (STEM) Advisory Council. Together with the Council’s Honorary Chair Congressman Joe Kennedy, this leadership model will enhance STEM related efforts in the Commonwealth. Dr. Leiden brings more than 20 years of scientific, commercial and financial experience in the pharmaceutical and biotechnology industries and clinical experience in academia as a practicing cardiologist and molecular biologist. As Co-Chair of the STEM Council, Dr. Leiden will play a leading role to strengthen industry partnerships in promoting STEM opportunities across Massachusetts.

"The STEM disciplines are essential building blocks of a 21st century highly skilled workforce," said Governor Patrick. “Dr. Leiden knows the importance of investing in these areas to grow opportunity for the entire Commonwealth, and I welcome him to the STEM Council and thank him for his leadership.”

As part of his Administration’s efforts to align education with workforce development, Governor Patrick established the STEM Advisory Council in October 2009 to increase coordination and collaboration among existing STEM programs and resources. In addition to being rated number one by the U.S. Department of Education on the nationwide Race to the Top Competition, Massachusetts has also been recognized by the National Governor’s Association’s Center for Best Practices, Change the Equation and Innovate+Educate as a top STEM state. Last fall, Governor Patrick released a renewed strategic plan for tying economic development to educational enhancement in the fields of STEM at the annual Massachusetts STEM Summit. This STEM Plan reflects improved data metrics, sets direction for the years ahead and highlights concrete strategies that can be used locally to catalyze action around the goals of the Plan in order to prepare the Commonwealth’s residents to be STEM literate. A major theme of this plan was the need for industry and nonprofits to join government in support of the STEM goals.

“Through his years of experience in the pharmaceutical and biotechnology industries, Dr. Leiden will be a strong voice for the business community as Co-Chair on the STEM Council,” said Congressman Kennedy. “We will undoubtedly rely on his expertise in building successful businesses and his familiarity with the demands of the private sector as we continue to build a pipeline from the earliest levels of education to employment in STEM fields. I look forward to working with Dr. Leiden and the Patrick Administration to ensure that the lines of communication between business, government, and academia are as strong as ever and that our Commonwealth continues to lead the way in STEM education.”

Vertex is a global biotechnology company that aims to discover, develop and commercialize innovative new medicines so people with serious diseases can lead better lives. Founded in 1989 in Cambridge, Vertex today has research and development sites and commercial offices around the world in the United States, Canada, Europe and Australia.  Vertex employs approximately 1,300 Massachusetts employees today, and 1,800 employees worldwide, and has created more than 800 new jobs in Massachusetts over the past 10 years. Earlier this year Governor Patrick joined Vertex Pharmaceuticals’ leadership, industry stakeholders and state and local officials to celebrate the grand opening of the company’s new 1.1 million-square-foot global headquarters at 50 Northern Avenue in Boston. Construction began in June 2011, and a 15-year lease for the space was signed in May 2011. 

"Massachusetts is a global leader in innovation with its confluence of world class universities, technology and life sciences companies, non-profit organizations and visionary leaders within government and the private sector," said Jeffrey Leiden, M.D., Ph.D., Chairman, President and Chief Executive Officer of Vertex. "I am looking forward to working with Congressman Kennedy and the STEM Council to help ensure Massachusetts continues to maintain its global leadership position in life sciences and technology." 

Dr. Leiden has served as a member of Vertex's board of directors since 2009 and became Chairman, President and Chief Executive Officer in 2012. Dr. Leiden began his career in academia as a practicing cardiologist and molecular biologist. He is currently a trustee of the Brigham and Women’s Hospital and a member of the Scientific Advisory Board of Boston Children’s Hospital. Dr. Leiden also serves on the board of directors for the Massachusetts Competitive Partnership (MACP) and the Boston Private Industry Council. He received his B.A., M.D. and Ph.D. degrees from the University of Chicago.

To read the STEM Plan or learn more about the Patrick Administration’s STEM Initiatives and the Governor’s STEM Advisory Council, visit www.mass.gov/governor/stem.

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