Vertex CMO Jeffrey Chodakewitz is hitting the exit doors. What’s next?

Just days after the launch of Vertex’s big Phase III study of its lead cystic fibrosis triple therapy, the big biotech is bidding farewell to its high profile chief medical officer, Jeffrey Chodakewitz.

The CMO has been with Vertex for four years, jumping ship from pharma giant Merck, where he held a top R&D position.

There’s no immediate word about what Chodakewitz has in mind for the next chapter, only the usual industry announcement that he is retiring. Typically all senior execs in biopharma “retire,” whether they were pushed or jumped, plan to keep working or not.

Reshma Kewalramani

Most keep working. And someone with Chodakewitz’s experience would find it amazingly easy to take the helm of one of the startup biotechs being launched. VCs are hungry for experienced talent, and few have as much experience as the CMO, who has helped shepherd some marquee drug programs.

Vertex has won plenty of kudos in recent years for its trial work on new CF drugs, even though the single payers in Europe remain skeptical of what they have seen so far. The new pivotal study for its triple has been streamlined for quick results, and the possibility of a relatively swift approval.

Chodakewitz is staying on for a period as an adviser. He’s being replaced by Reshma Kewalramani, who’s been holding the title for SVP of clinical development and medical affairs at Vertex.

I queried Vertex about Chodakewitz plans, but did not hear back immediately.

Image: Jeffrey Chodakewitz. Vertex Pharmaceuticals

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Research Scientist - Immunology
Recursion Pharmaceuticals Salt Lake City, UT
Director of Operations
Atlas Venture Cambridge, MA

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