Vertex has long been known for its cystic fibrosis brand, including fast-growing triple-combo med Trikafta. But Vertex has its eyes on much more than cystic fibrosis with a bustling cell and gene therapy pipeline, and now the company's found the manufacturing chief to help it get there.

Vertex has tapped Bristol Myers Squibb veteran E. Morrey Atkinson, Ph.D., as its senior vice president and head of commercial manufacturing and supply chain to help take the drugmaker's growing portfolio across the regulatory finish line. 

Atkinson is the first major C-suite hire under new CEO Reshma Kewalramani, who took the helm earlier this year after switching from the chief medical officer role. His hiring will add an experienced hand in cell and gene therapy manufacturing as Kewalramani steers Vertex's growing and diversified pipeline to the commercial stage.

Until June, Atkinson was senior vice president of global manufacturing operations at Bristol and helped lead the manufacturing integration team for Bristol's $74 billion Celgene merger that closed in November.

In his previous roles at Eli Lilly and Cook Pharmica (now Catalent), Atkinson specialized in biologics manufacturing and led clinical production for some of the earliest viral vectors used in cell and gene therapies. Atkinson also spearheaded the building and qualification of commercial production facilities in the U.S. and Ireland, Vertex said.

RELATED: Vertex plans major Boston expansion to support gene, cell therapy ambitions

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