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CAMBRIDGE, MA-Vertex Pharmaceuticals Inc. is laying off 111 employees as it explores alternatives to its lease on 290,000 sf of space in Kendall Square.

The locally based drug company says that it is restructuring its operations “in preparation for investments to advance major products through clinical development to commercialization.” The layoffs will take place at Vertex’s local facility as well as at its facility in San Diego. The restructuring reduces Vertex’s worldwide workforce from 848 to 737 employees.

Michael Partridge, director of Vertex’s corporate communications, tells GlobeSt.com the company is currently exploring its alternatives with regard to its lease on 290,000 sf in Kendall Square. “The alternatives are sharing, subleasing or even exiting the lease,” says Partridge. Vertex signed the lease in January of 2001 and then acquired a San Diego-based company which Partridge points out has its own research facility, making this space redundant. The company’s lease rate on the Kendall Square space is $14.3 million in 2003, and $19.2 million annually in subsequent years. The lease runs through 2017. The space is not currently occupied. Vertex also leases 300,000 sf on Waverly Street.

“Vertex is advancing a broad pipeline of first-in-class pharmaceutical products into late-stage clinical development and commercialization, both independently and with partners,” says Dr. Joshua Boger, chairman and CEO of Vertex. “This restructuring will provide the operational flexibility to make the significant development investments that will be required as our pipeline matures, and reflects a broader set of financial and corporate strategies that are focused on maximizing the potential of our innovative product candidates…We have had to make difficult choices about the size of the research organization that is optimal for Vertex moving forward.”

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