Vertex Announces Partnership with Basketball Hall of Famer Alonzo Mourning to Raise Awareness of APOL1-Mediated Kidney Disease (AMKD)

BOSTON, November 04, 2022–(BUSINESS WIRE)–Vertex Pharmaceuticals Incorporated (Nasdaq: VRTX) today announced that the company has partnered with Basketball Hall of Famer Alonzo Mourning to launch “Power Forward” (www.PowerForwardTogether. com), an educational initiative aimed at raising awareness of APOL1-mediated renal failure (AMKD), highlighting the importance of early diagnosis and genetic testing.

Alonzo Mourning is best known for his legendary basketball career in the 1990s and early 2000s. Among his many accomplishments are National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) records at Georgetown, seven NBA All-Star recognitions, an NBA championship, an Olympic gold medal and Hall of Fame inductions. At the height of his career, Mr. Mourning’s doctors noticed signs of kidney disease during a routine physical examination and performed follow-up tests to confirm his diagnosis: a rare kidney disease now known as AMKD. In 2003, he received a kidney transplant and returned to professional basketball, leading the Miami Heat to an NBA championship in 2006 before retiring in 2008. Years later, he learned his illness was d genetic origin. Mr. Mourning is now a kidney health advocate and encourages others to be proactive as well.

“I was on top of the basketball world when I first noticed symptoms of kidney disease, and the truth is, if it hadn’t been for my pre-season physical, I’d probably would have continued to ignore them,” Mr Mourning said. “Many people with AMKD may not even know they have this disease and may not know that it is an inherited form of kidney disease, which is why we we must all take an active part in our health.This means knowing your family history of kidney disease, your risk of developing AMKD and seeing your doctor for regular checkups and possible tests.I hope Power Forward will inspire others to learn more about kidney disease and take charge of your health – because when it comes to kidney disease, early diagnosis and genetic testing are key.”

“We are proud to partner with Alonzo Mourning to bring awareness to American communities about AMKD,” said Carmen Bozic, MD, executive vice president, Global Drug Development and Medical Affairs, and chief medical officer of Vertex. “Our teams are working tirelessly to advance a potential treatment for AMKD. At the same time, we recognize the immense need for greater disease awareness, education, and genetic testing resources within the kidney health community. We hope this partnership will empower others to be proactive about kidney health, and we’re excited to team up with Alonzo to work towards that goal. »

Power Forward includes a toolkit of educational and actionable content for people who may be at risk for AMKD. This includes a discussion guide that can be used during doctor appointments, information on how to get tested if you are at risk for AMKD, and other educational resources. In addition to the Power Forward website, the campaign can be found on social media via Facebook (@PowerForwardTogether), Instagram (@PowerForwardTogether) and Twitter (@Power___Forward). Visit to learn more.

About AMKD

APOL1-mediated renal failure is a form of chronic renal failure associated with the presence of two risk variants of the APOL1 gene and is estimated to affect 100,000 people in the United States and Europe. People who inherit two risk variants in the APOL1 have an increased risk of developing kidney disease and have a much more aggressive course of kidney disease than in the absence of the at-risk variants. Progressive kidney disease can lead to death or require dialysis or a kidney transplant.

APOL1 risk variants are found in people of sub-Saharan African descent because they provide protection against human African trypanosomiasis – a parasitic disease endemic in parts of sub-Saharan Africa. In the United States, an estimated 13% of all African Americans have two APOL1 risk variants and face a higher risk of developing kidney disease. APOL1 risk variants partly explain the disproportionate burden of kidney disease experienced by African Americans. Studies show that 23% of African Americans with hypertension-associated renal failure and 54-73% of African Americans with focal segmental glomerulosclerosis (FSGS) have two APOL1 risk variants. Their disease is of genetic origin: they have AMKD.

AMKD is characterized by its rapid progression and, like many forms of kidney disease, it does not present symptoms visible to the patient until the disease is advanced. Diagnosis is based on a urine test to detect proteinuria and blood tests to detect reduced kidney function and both APOL1 risk variants.

About Vertex

Vertex is a global biotechnology company that invests in scientific innovation to create transformative medicines for people with serious diseases. The company has several approved drugs that treat the underlying cause of cystic fibrosis (CF) – a rare and life-threatening genetic disease – and has several ongoing CF clinical and research programs. Beyond cystic fibrosis, Vertex has a strong portfolio of experimental small molecule, cellular and genetic therapies in other serious diseases where it has in-depth knowledge of the causal human biology, including sickle cell disease, beta-thalassemia, APOL1-mediated kidney disease, pain, type 1 diabetes, alpha-1 antitrypsin deficiency, and Duchenne muscular dystrophy.

Founded in 1989 in Cambridge, Mass., Vertex’s global headquarters are now located in Boston’s Innovation District and its international headquarters are in London. Additionally, the company has research and development sites and sales offices in North America, Europe, Australia and Latin America. Vertex is consistently recognized as one of the best places to work in the industry, including 13 consecutive years on Science magazine’s Top Employers list and one of Fortune’s Best Biotech and Pharmaceutical Workplaces and Top workplaces for women. For company updates and to learn more about Vertex’s history of innovation, visit or follow us on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, YouTube and Instagram.

Special note regarding forward-looking statements

This press release contains forward-looking statements as defined in the Private Securities Litigation Reform Act of 1995, as amended, including, without limitation, statements by Dr. Carmen Bozic in this press release, and statements regarding our pipeline and our expectations for Power Forward. Although Vertex believes that the forward-looking statements contained in this press release are accurate, these forward-looking statements represent the Company’s beliefs only as of the date of this press release and there are a number of risks and uncertainties that could cause actual events or results. differ materially from those expressed or implied by such forward-looking statements. These risks and uncertainties include the risks listed under “Risk Factors” in Vertex’s most recent annual report filed with the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) and available on the company’s website at www.vrtx .com and on the SEC’s website at www. You should not place undue reliance on these statements. Vertex disclaims any obligation to update the information contained in this press release as new information becomes available.


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