Leidens Bolster Bench-to-Clinic Innovation

“Generation after generation, Brigham and Women’s Hospital trains a special breed of person: the physician-scientist,” says Jeffrey Leiden, MD, PhD, chairman, president, and CEO of Vertex, a leading global biotechnology company based in Boston. “I support the Brigham because we need that next generation.”

Dr. Leiden credits his successes in academic medicine, venture capital, pharmaceuticals, and biotechnology to his experiences as an intern, resident, and cardiology fellow at BWH.

“The Brigham is my intellectual home,” he says. “I can trace almost every stage of my career to what I learned there.”

In gratitude for these formative years, he and his wife, Lisa, who met at BWH more than 35 years ago, donated $4 million to establish The Jeffrey M. and Lisa L. Leiden Family Professorship in Translational Medicine at Harvard Medical School and BWH.

The endowed position will support transformative medical breakthroughs and training of future physician-scientists. BWH President Betsy Nabel, MD, whom Dr. Leiden trained with, will conduct a nationwide search to fill this leadership role.

“During his illustrious 30-year career, Jeff has focused on bringing transformative medicines to people in need,” Dr. Nabel says. “This gift enables us to recruit someone with a similar passion as Jeff. I’m so grateful for the Leidens’ dedication to our mission.”

The couple’s generosity also extends to Ariadne Labs, a joint center for health systems innovation at BWH and the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health.

Last year, the Leidens donated $250,000 to advance the vision of Ariadne Labs to develop simple, scalable solutions for delivering high-quality care to the right person at the right time, every time. Atul Gawande, MD, MPH, Ariadne Labs’ founder, thought leader, and BWH surgeon, is precisely the type of physician-scientist Dr. Leiden hopes to nurture through these gifts.

“Supporting physician-scientists will enable cures for cancers, neurodegenerative diseases, and genetic diseases like cystic fibrosis, muscular dystrophy, and sickle cell disease,” says Dr. Leiden. “For breakthroughs like these to reach patients, we need discovery of health systems innovations like those at Ariadne Labs to deliver this care consistently. We need unique physician-scientists to do this, and they don’t come from many places. This is the one.”