| HBS Case Collection
(Revised from original 2007 version)
Vertex Pharmaceuticals and the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation: Venture Philanthropy Funding for Biotech
In 2001, Vertex Pharmaceuticals Incorporated acquired the San Diego-based biotech company, Aurora Biosciences. The combination of Vertex's and Aurora's technologies would improve the flow of novel drug candidates into development. However, several questions related to the integration of Aurora into Vertex were still unresolved, the most pressing being Aurora's major collaboration with the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation (CFF). Were venture philanthropy and foundation deals an appropriate funding mechanism for a public company like Vertex? How could the board of Vertex and the CFF fundamentally align the objectives of a for-profit company with those of a non-profit institution? Those were the questions faced by the Vertex executives.
Keywords: Mergers and Acquisitions;
Giving and Philanthropy;