Kenneth Bridges

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Kenneth R. Bridges received the MD degree from Harvard Medical School, and subsequently trained in internal medicine and hematology in Boston, at Massachusetts General and Brigham and Women’s Hospitals, respectively. Following medical subspecialty training, he investigated the biology of cellular iron metabolism for three years at the National Institutes of Health in Bethesda, Maryland. Dr. Bridges subsequently returned to Harvard as a member of the Hematology Division at Brigham and Women’s Hospital, reaching the faculty rank of Associate Professor of Medicine. In parallel with his laboratory investigation of iron metabolism, he maintained an active clinical practice in hematology. In response to the dearth of coordinated, integrated care for people with sickle cell disease at Harvard, he established the Joint Center for Sickle Cell and Thalassemic Disorders at Brigham and Women’s Hospital and Massachusetts General Hospital, which conducted bench-to-patient translational research in addition to providing comprehensive patient care. Dr. Bridges expanded his efforts regionally as a member of the HRSA-sponsored New England Regional Genetics Group which developed care and management programs for patients with sickle cell disease and thalassemia in New England. He also worked closely with the Sickle Cell Disease Branch of the National Heart Lung and Blood Institute, serving on many panels including the Data Safety and Monitoring Board for the pivotal trial of hydroxyurea in babies with sickle cell disease (Baby HUG). Dr. Bridges published over 70 peer-reviewed articles during his academic career, as well as number book chapters. He also co-authored with Dr. Howard Pearson of Yale University a textbook on red cell disorders and anemia. Dr. Bridges left academia for positions in biotechnology, initially with Hoffman La Roche followed by 3 years at Amgen where he worked on Aranesp and helped launch Nplate for the treatment of immune thrombocytopenic purpura. He then moved to Onyx Pharmaceuticals and oversaw several trials involving Kyprolis (carfilzomib) for the treatment of multiple myeloma. Following the of Onyx by Amgen, Dr. Bridges moved to Global Blood Therapeutics where he established the Medical Affairs Department in his new role as Vice President. He participated intimately in the development of Oxbryta (voxelotor) for sickle cell disease, the first drug to target polymerization of sickle hemoglobin, the underlying cause of the condition. Dr. Bridges recently assumed the role of Vice President, External Affairs at GBT focusing primarily on the challenge of sickle cell disease in low-resource countries, where largely impoverished people account for more than 95% of the worldwide disease burden. His other great effort currently involves mentoring programs for underrepresented minority students both through initiatives at GBT and the Harvard Medical School Alumni Association, where he currently serves as President.