Genetics in Drug Development. One impressive panel featured leaders from Pfizer, Vertex Pharmaceuticals, GlaxoSmithKline, and Regeneron Pharmaceuticals. The group discussed the impact that genetic data is making in drug development. Jeff Leiden, the new CEO of Vertex, hailed the combination of genetics and cell biology as having greatly accelerated the discovery (and approval) of Vertexs ivacaftor (Kalydeco), which targets the 3-4 percent of cystic fibrosis patients with the G551D mutation. George Yancopoulos, the president and chief scientist at Regeneron, explained how the discovery of an LDL-lowering mutation in a small number of patients turned out to have clinical relevance for a large majority, and eventually led to drug candidate REGN727, which showed excellent Phase II data earlier this year. Both Leiden and Yancopoulos emphasized the opportunity to get quicker and less-risky approvals for smaller populations and then expand to subsequent indications.