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As Hal Barron steals the show, there’s no off position on the John Maraganore switch; Danny Bar-Zohar makes another leap forward at Merck KGaA

John Maraganore
→ The needle on the Maraganore Meter is moving again, as John Maraganore keeps collecting more post-Alnylam roles. First, he and BeiGene co-founder Peter Ho will be strategic advisors for Hillhouse-backed China startup Overland Pharmaceuti

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John Maraganore

→ The needle on the Maraganore Meter is moving again, as John Maraganore keeps collecting more post-Alnylam roles. First, he and BeiGene co-founder Peter Ho will be strategic advisors for Hillhouse-backed China startup Overland Pharmaceuticals, founded by Hua Mu and Ed Zhang. (By the way, Zhang has been named permanent CEO of Overland this week after the one-time COO and CBO served as interim chief since May.) Next, Maraganore has been elected to the board of directors at protein degradation biotech Kymera Therapeutics — a board chaired by Bruce Booth that includes Don Nicholson and outgoing Blueprint Medicines CEO Jeff Albers.

Maraganore began the year with a truckload of appointments at RTW, Atlas Venture, Hemab, SQZ Biotechnologies and the Stanley Crooke non-profit n-Lorem Foundation. And not long after he announced his departure from Alnylam, he also took a board seat at Beam Therapeutics.

Hal Barron

→ In case you’ve been in an underground bunker deprived of biopharma news, you know that Hal Barron has decided to part ways with GlaxoSmithKline to helm Rick Klausner’s preclinical anti-aging play Altos Labs — and the list of names associated with the startup is chock full of industry bigwigs. Tony Wood, who joined the UK pharma giant in 2017 from Pfizer, is at the ready in August to see things through with the “New GSK” as R&D chief. When our John Carroll asked Barron what Altos would look like, he answered, “I don’t know. I think that’s kind of the exciting thing about biotech.” For more coverage of Barron’s new CEO gig, you can read the rest of his interview and get the inside scoop from Klausner himself.

Danny Bar-Zohar

Danny Bar-Zohar has been elevated to global head of R&D at Merck KGaA, while the German multinational — which bought out Exelead in a $780 million deal to ring in 2022 — has also promoted Joern-Peter Halle to chief strategy officer. Bar-Zohar was named global head of development in the fall of 2020, not long before R&D chief Luciano Rossetti joined Flagship’s Pioneering Medicines as CMO. Before Merck KGaA, Bar-Zohar spent nearly seven years in a number of roles at Novartis, namely global head, clinical development & analytics. Halle, who started in the Merck KGaA universe in 2005, had been global head of research since June 2020.

David Weinstock

→ As for the other Merck, Frank Clyburn will leave as president of the human health business on Feb. 1 to become president and CEO of International Flavors & Fragrances (IFF), and the pharma giant has installed David Weinstock as VP, discovery oncology for Merck Research Laboratories. Weinstock just wrapped up a 14-year stint at Dana-Farber, where he was the Lavine Family Chair for Preventative Cancer Therapies. Merck just released data for its blockbuster Keytruda in advanced hepatocellular carcinoma, an indication that has generated highs and lows, as our Nicole DeFeudis pointed out this week.

Dominique Costantini

→ We have a change at the top at OSE Immunotherapeutics, where Dominique Costantini takes over as interim CEO for Alexis Peyroles, who “is stepping down for health reasons,” according to the release. Costantini was chief executive at the French biotech from 2012-18 and currently chairs the board of directors. Just a month ago, OSE made a bevy of leadership moves, naming Laurence de Schoulepnikoff as CBO and Silvia Comis as head of clinical development, among others.

→ RNA pioneer Ionis has tapped Joseph Baroldi as CBO and Eric Bastings as VP, development strategy. Baroldi, who was VP of business development during his previous decade-long stint at Ionis, returns on Jan. 31 after two years as COO of Art Levin’s Avidity Biosciences. Bastings held a string of neuro posts over a 21-year career at the FDA, leaving the agency as deputy director of the Office of Neuroscience. Ionis recently struck a deal with its Spinraza partner, as Biogen snapped up the antisense oligonucleotide BIIB115 for $60 million upfront.

Sandra Horning

→ If you’re setting up a new scientific advisory board, you better make it count, and Colorado-based MRD assay developer Foresight Diagnostics appears to be doing just that by appointing Sandra Horning. Foresight will rely on Horning’s oncology expertise as the company partners with the National Cancer Institute on the lymphoma drug acalabrutinib, which is in a Phase II trial. Horning, who co-founded EQRx and retired from Genentech/Roche in 2019, is a board member at Gilead, Moderna and Olema Oncology.

→ Next-gen CAR-T player ImmPACT Bio has been busy. The company that merged with UCLA spinoff Kalthera last year has now snagged $111 million in a Series B financing round, posted a glimpse at some positive, early Phase I data, and also had a C-suite shakeup. Leading the company at its helm is incoming CEO Sumant Ramachandra, who previously served as chief science, technology, and medical officer at Baxter International. Meanwhile, former CEO Rick Kendall is moving over to the CSO spot. Finally, ImmPACT has plucked up Sheila GujrathiOrbiMed venture advisor and former Gossamer Bio CEO  — as the new board chair.

→ Copenhagen’s Bavarian Nordic, in the thick of an RSV vaccine race with the likes of GSK, J&J and Pfizer, will get help from the competition by making Big Pharma vet Russell Thirsk COO beginning April 1. He will succeed Henrik Birk, who “has decided to seek new challenges outside Bavarian Nordic,” the statement reads. Thirsk hails from GSK, where he was head of operations at GSK Vaccines in Belgium the last 5½ years, and he held a number of positions at Novartis Vaccines, moving up to head of global technical operations before GSK acquired the business.

Antonio Gualberto

Antonio Gualberto led off a February 2020 Peer Review when he took the CMO job at Eisai sub H3 Biomedicine, but he’s started to write a new chapter as president of R&D and CMO of Exo Therapeutics, an exosite-centered play from David Liu’s lab. Gualberto, a Pfizer R&D vet, co-founded Kura Oncology and was medical chief there before bolting for H3, and he’s also been Global Clinical Development Center for Oncology head (US) for EMD Serono. Exo, which launched in December 2020, pulled in some extra coin with a $78 million Series B raise in October 2021.

Andrew Sandford

David Hallal’s crew at ElevateBio has locked in Andrew Sandford as president of the ElevateBio BaseCamp, the gene and cell therapy biotech’s cGMP facility in Waltham, MA. Sandford, the co-founder and ex-CEO of Vrex Therapeutics, was global VP of business development, biologics for Catalent and also had BD gigs at Lonza and Selexis. Bolstering the “basecamp” was one of the big goals attached to ElevateBio’s monster Series C last March that totaled $525 million.

Jing Marantz

→ Moving on from Acceleron after the Merck deal, Jing Marantz has signed on to Pittsburgh gene therapy player Krystal Biotech as CBO. Marantz, the ex-head of medical affairs at Acceleron and Alnylam, has packed her career with such posts as global medical lead, Tecfidera at Biogen and VP, global medical affairs, head of US medical affairs, and interim head of Latin America medical affairs for Alexion. The Takeda vet was just named to the board of directors at Arcturus Therapeutics and has exited the board at Krystal, making room for ex-Translate Bio president and former Sanofi exec Rand Sutherland.

Syed Rizvi

Caribou Biosciences, the CRISPR startup working on off-the-shelf CAR-Ts from the creative world of Jennifer Doudna, has turned to Syed Rizvi to take on the role of CMO. Rizvi just held the same title at Chimeric Therapeutics, and at Legend, he was in charge of developing the Janssen-partnered autologous BCMA CAR-T cilta-cel — which now has a Feb. 28 PDUFA date after the original date of Nov. 29 was postponed.

Richard John Daly

Richard John Daly (not to be confused with two-time major golf champion John Daly) has been named president of Shanghai-based CARsgen’s US subsidiary, CARsgen Therapeutics Corporation. Daly leaves his COO post behind at BeyondSpring — which has taken some punches with a CRL for the non-small cell lung cancer drug plinabulin and a subsequent 35% reduction in its US workforce — and he’s also been president of AstraZeneca’s US diabetes subsidiary. CARsgen announced its plans to gain a foothold in the US last May with the construction of two sites in North Carolina, and the Chinese CAR-T player bagged a $186 million raise in November 2020.

Hongming Chen

→ Throwing its hat into the AI ring with an $86 million Series A round last month, METiS Therapeutics has selected Hongming Chen for the dual roles of president and head of R&D. Chen took on research posts at Merck and AstraZeneca early in her career, and she was with Kala Pharmaceuticals from its inception in 2010, first as VP of research and most recently as CSO.

Alyssa Levin

ViaCyte, which recently posted “disappointing” data that leaves the future of its attempted diabetes cure uncertain, has signed on Alyssa Levin as CFO and Lisa Porter to its board of directors. Levin joins with experience from her times as CFO and SVP of operations at Tentarix Biotherapeutics and CFO at Bird Rock Bio. Meanwhile, Porter currently serves as CMO of Nano Precision Medical and was formerly CMO at Eiger Biopharmaceuticals and Dance Biopharma. Additionally, Porter has held roles at Amylin Pharmaceuticals, GSK and Zeneca Pharmaceuticals.

Lisa Tesvich-Bonora

Jonathan Lim’s cancer biotech Erasca has enlisted Lisa Tesvich-Bonora as chief people officer and promoted Ignyta alum Robert Shoemaker to SVP of research. This is Tesvich-Bonora’s maiden voyage as a biotech exec after nearly 20 years as founder and president of Inspire True Leadership, although she’s worked in the past with leaders in biotechnology, pharmaceuticals and CROs. Shoemaker is a founding member of the Erasca family, starting the company with Lim and Gary Yeung in 2018 and serving as VP of biology.

Anupama Hoey

→ San Francisco-based AI biotech Fountain Therapeutics has added Anupama Hoey as CBO. Prior to joining Fountain, Hoey had the same title at Sensei Biotherapeutics — steering the company to its nine-figure IPO in early 2021 — and Second Genome. She’s also held positions at Invenra, Arcus Biosciences and Sutro Biopharma.

→ With former CRISPR Therapeutics exec Philippe Drouet now leading the way as CEO, San Diego protein degradation shop BioTheryX has welcomed Sahm Nasseri as CBO. Nasseri had been CEO of PYC Therapeutics since late 2020, and in the previous six years at Merck, he was interim VP and global product leader for HPV vaccines as well as executive director, global strategy, oncology. Before Drouet’s arrival, BioTheryX netted a $92 million Series E round in May 2021.

Charlotte Deane

→ UK deep learning company Exscientia, which just inked a $100 million upfront AI megadeal with Sanofi, has welcomed aboard Charlotte Deane as the company’s first-ever chief scientist of biologics AI. Deane currently serves as a professor of structural bioinformatics at the University of Oxford and also leads the university’s Protein Informatics group. Deane has also served as deputy executive chair of the Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council at UK Research and Innovation (UKRI) and was a member of the UK government’s Scientific Advisory Group for Emergencies (SAGE).

→ Starting on Feb. 1, Hendrik Nogai will take over as CMO at Polish cancer player Ryvu Therapeutics. Over the last seven years with Bayer, Nogai has served as clinical pharmacology leader, senior clinical development leader, immune-oncology and VP, global development leader in the German pharma giant’s NTRK program.

Maria Beconi

→ Two new execs have made the team at ZielBio out of the University of Virginia: First, chief science officer Maria Beconi comes from Disc Medicine, where she was SVP, translational R&D, and she also took a two-year spin at Goldfinch Bio as VP, nonclinical and pharmacology. At Merck Research Laboratories, Ramesh Ramanathan was executive medical director of global medical and scientific affairs, and now he pivots to ZielBio as VP for clinical development. ZielBio’s lead candidate ZB131 takes aim at plectin that can spur the growth of cancer cells.

Matt Wiley

Matt Wiley has signed on as chief commercial officer of AI biotech BioXcel, which is currently in a pivotal Phase III for its most advanced program BXCL501 to treat agitation for patients with dementia and Alzheimer’s. Wiley had been CCO for Vyne Therapeutics since 2018, and at Jazz Pharmaceuticals, he was VP of marketing and business unit lead for a sleep medicine unit known for Sunosi and Xyrem.

→ Israeli biotech VBL Therapeutics has recruited Matthew Trudeau as chief commercial officer. Before his departure last summer, Trudeau held a pocketful of roles in a five-year span at bluebird bio, including head of the LentiGlobin maker’s US business team. Before bluebird, he was head of the Asia-Pacific region and then director of international commercial operations for Biogen. VBL ran into some CMC troubles in June 2021 with its ovarian cancer drug VBL-111, used in combination with paclitaxel in the Phase III OVAL trial versus placebo.

Corinne Foo-Atkins

Third Rock Ventures-backed regenerative play Ambys Medicines, which closed $107 million in total Series A funding last month, has tapped Corinne Foo-Atkins as the company’s first-ever chief strategy officer. Foo-Atkins hails from NGM Biopharmaceuticals, where she served as VP, product strategy. Prior to that, Foo-Atkins held roles at Genentech, Novartis and McKinsey and Company.

Alisa Lask

→ Rochester, MN-based exosome biotech RION has appointed Alisa Lask as chief commercial officer. Lask, who has a decade at Eli Lilly under her belt, was an exec with Galderma from 2014-21, becoming VP & general manager, US aesthetics, and for three years before that, she worked in global strategic marketing, facial aesthetics for Allergan.

XyloCor, which is working on a regenerative heart disease gene therapy, has picked up Elizabeth Tarka as CMO and Brian Davis as CFO. Tarka most recently served as CMO at Idera Pharmaceuticals and was previously VP, clinical development at Complexa. Earlier in her career, Tarka worked at Janssen and GSK. Meanwhile, Davis hails from Verrica Pharmaceuticals, where he served as CFO and also has experience in the chief finance chair at Strongbridge Biopharma, Tengion and Neose Technologies.

Bethany Sensenig

9 Meters Biopharma, focused on the treatment of digestive diseases, has brought in Bethany Sensenig as CFO. Sensenig formerly served as VP of finance and commercial operations at Biogen and previously was CFO and head of US operations at Minovia Therapeutics. Earlier in her career, Sensenig had stints at Merck and Nexus Technologies.

→ Brisbane, CA-based Second Genome has bagged Joseph Dal Porto as CSO. Dal Porto has experience under his belt from stints at Pfizer, where he served as VP of the company’s emerging science & innovation division and site head for the company’s Centers for Therapeutic Innovation — West Coast. Prior to that, Dal Porto was co-founder and director of preclinical research and development at Modus Biomedicine and held positions at Roche earlier in his career.

→ CRO-CDMO Sai Life Sciences has reeled in Sauri Gudlavalleti as COO. Gudlavalleti comes from a 7-year stint at Dr. Reddy’s Laboratories, where he was heading global R&D and portfolio management for small molecule API & formulations. Prior to Dr. Reddy’s, Gudlavalleti was with McKinsey & Company.

David Kaufman

David Kaufman has been promoted to partner at Third Rock Ventures, while Jigar Raythatha and Jeff Walsh enter the fray as venture partners. Before becoming a venture partner at Third Rock in 2020, Kaufman was CMO and head of translational development at the Bill and Melinda Gates Medical Research Institute. Raythatha completed a four-year run as CEO of Constellation Pharmaceuticals in August 2021, and Walsh — the former chief financial and strategy officer at bluebird bio — serves on the board of directors at Tenaya Therapeutics and Tevard Biosciences. These are far from the only recent additions at Third Rock, with Mark Angelino, Andrea van Elsas and Lorence Kim all jumping on board in the last year and a half.

→ Roche immunology and neurology partner Jnana Therapeutics is adding John Throup to the ranks as SVP, head of development. Throup joins from Bristol Myers Squibb, where he was serving as VP and development lead responsible for leading the development of assets in the immunology pipeline across early and late development. Prior to his stint at BMS, Throup had a 15-year stint at GSK.

Tyler Benedum

MPM-founded Aktis Oncology, vying to break through in the white-hot radiopharma space with such companies as ITM and RayzeBio (along with Big Pharma names like Bayer and Novartis), has appointed Tyler Benedum as VP, head of CMC and Daša Lipovšek as VP, head of lead discovery. Benedum is a veteran of Eli Lilly sub Avid Radiopharmaceuticals, where he served as VP of CMC development and manufacturing. Lipovšek comes to Aktis from Bristol Myers, where she served as scientific associate director, selection technologies and protein engineering.

Fang Li

→ Baltimore eye disease biotech Graybug Vision has brought on Fang Li as VP, regulatory affairs and Ali Kakavand as VP, head of program management. Li, who has regulatory experience from Alcon, Novartis and Iveric Bio, had been VP of regulatory affairs with Hurley Consulting for the last two years. After a short stay at Portola, Kakavand was Alexion’s director of strategy, program and portfolio management.

Ami Bavishi

→ New Haven, CT-based Rallybio, part of the IPO class of 2021, has brought on Ami Bavishi as head of investor relations and corporate communications. Most recently, Bavishi served as director of investor relations at Aerie Pharmaceuticals, where longtime CEO Vicente Anido was terminated back in September after a Phase IIb flop. Prior to Aerie, she served as VP of investor relations at Burns McClellan.

Peter Krein

Zach Hornby’s Boundless Bio, the San Diego oncology outfit that notched $105 million in a Series B round last April, has recruited Peter Krein as VP, precision medicine. Krein leaps to Boundless Bio after his stint as executive director, diagnostic development and medical affairs at Jacob Van Naarden-led Loxo Oncology at Lilly.

→ Toronto-based AXON has promoted Elisabeth Mozel-Jury to the role of VP, strategy and business development within the agency’s clinical studies practice. Mozel-Jury has been with the company since 2011 and most recently served as director in the public relations practice. Prior to AXON, Mozel-Jury was with Merck Serono.

Doug Quinn

→ Skin health-focused SkinBioTherapeutics is on the hunt for a full-time CFO. Doug Quinn has been serving as part-time CFO in the interim. Quinn has been with the company since 2016. The UK-based company hopes to snag someone by early second quarter, and the company is looking to recruit a new non-executive director.

Maria Fardis

→ Former Iovance CEO Maria Fardis is taking over as chair of Obsidian Therapeutics’ board of directors, succeeding Peter Barrett, who will remain as a member of the board. Fardis is a current venture partner at Frazier Life Sciences and has previously served as COO of Acerta Pharma and held roles at Pharmacyclics and Gilead.

Daniel Welch

Daniel Welch, the former chairman, president and CEO of InterMune — which Roche purchased in 2014 — has been appointed chairman of the board at GPCR startup ShouTi. Prior to running InterMune, Welch was chairman and CEO of Triangle Pharmaceuticals, which was acquired by Gilead in 2003.

→ After naming Ann Berman to the board of directors last summer, Immuneering has reserved a seat for Diana Hausman on the board. Hausman is the CMO of Blueprint sub Lengo Therapeutics and the former CMO of Zymeworks.

Laurie Keating

→ While we’re on the subject of Immuneering board members, Laurie Keating has also joined the board at PepGen, replacing Ramin Farzaneh-Far, who will remain acting CMO. After 10 years at Millennium, Keating became general counsel and secretary at Alnylam, rising to EVP, chief legal officer and secretary from 2019-21.

Alfonso Zulueta

Barbara Bodem and Alfonso “Chito” Zulueta have staked their claim to board seats at North Carolina-based Syneos Health. Bodem, a board member at Turning Point Therapeutics who retired last year as CFO of Hillrom, is the former SVP of finance at Mallinckrodt. Zululeta also retired after a 33-year career at Eli Lilly, closing out his time at the Indianapolis pharma as SVP and president of Lilly International.

Rakhshita Dhar

George Church amino-acid-to-protein-therapy spinout GRO Biosciences has added Rakhshita Dhar to the board of directors. Dhar recently joined Leaps by Bayer as senior director of venture investments health and is the ex-director of business development at Roche.

→ University of Colorado oncology spinout OnKure Therapeutics has given Nicholas Saccomano a spot on the board of directors. The ex-CSO at Array Biopharma, which was co-founded by OnKure CEO Tony Piscopio, Saccomano was CSO and site head of Pfizer R&D’s facility in Boulder.

Gary Bridger

Raking in an $80 million Series B round for its quest to drug RNA, Expansion Therapeutics has elected Gary Bridger to the board of directors. Bridger, the interim CSO and a board member at Liminal Biosciences, also sits on the board of X4 Pharmaceuticals.

→ London-based Cell and Gene Therapy Catapult has poached Ian McCubbin to its board of non-executive directors as chairman. McCubbin spent nearly a decade with GSK before his retirement in 2017. In response to the pandemic, McCubbin led the manufacturing activities of the UK Government’s Vaccines Task Force (VTF) between February 2020 and June 2021.

Bettina Cockroft

Bettina Cockroft is now a member of the board of directors at Doug Love’s Annexon Biosciences. Cockroft, a former clinical development exec at Cytokinetics, has been Sangamo’s CMO since September 2019.

Brooklyn ImmunoTherapeutics, which is developing its cytokine therapy IRX-2 for head and neck cancer and reeled in Susan McClatchey as VP and head of quality last month, has made two new additions to its board with the appointments of Erin Enright and Heather Redman. Enright currently serves as managing partner and co-founder at Prettybrook Partners, while Redman is managing partner at Flying Fish Partners.

→ Agricultural biotech Oerth Bio has pulled in Thong Le as an independent member of its board of directors. Le currently serves as senior managing director and CEO of Accelerator Life Science Partners. Le has served as founding CEO and director of Petra Pharma, RodeoTherapeutics and Lodo Therapeutics.

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Lactation Lab receives FDA Breakthrough Device designation for breast-milk-testing device that allows mothers to test for key nutritional elements in their milk

Los Angeles, May 25, 2022 –Lactation Lab, which offers the most scientifically advanced breast milk testing available, has announced today that the…

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Los Angeles, May 25, 2022 –Lactation Lab, which offers the most scientifically advanced breast milk testing available, has announced today that the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA), has granted the company Breakthrough Device designation for its latest device Emily’s Care Nourish Test System that tests and provides a nutritional analysis of breast milk. 

Credit: Dr. Stephanie Canale

Los Angeles, May 25, 2022 –Lactation Lab, which offers the most scientifically advanced breast milk testing available, has announced today that the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA), has granted the company Breakthrough Device designation for its latest device Emily’s Care Nourish Test System that tests and provides a nutritional analysis of breast milk. 

This first-of-its-kind breast-milk (point of care)-test allows mothers to test for key macronutrients (fat, protein, carbohydrates and adjust their nutritional intake accordingly. The test was developed for use in the NICU, hospital clinics, milk banks and home use. 

“The FDA Breakthrough Device designation for Emily’s Care Test System is a critical step in serving the most vulnerable infant population,” says Dr. Stephanie Canale, CEO of Lactation Lab. “Research in the past five years demonstrates how important key nutrients are for babies in the first five weeks of life. Nutrition is the only modifiable factor for preterm babies, and our Emily’s Care device provides potentially life-saving data, especially for those at risk of life-threatening conditions.”

The FDA Breakthrough Device designation will expedite regulatory review of Emily’s Care to provide patients and health care providers with quicker access. The designation is only awarded to breakthrough technologies that have the potential to provide effective treatment and diagnosis for life-threatening or irreversible debilitating diseases or conditions.

Founded in 2017 by CEO Dr. Stephanie Canale, Lactation Lab’s proprietary tests were developed by a team of practicing physicians, Ph.D. chemists and toxicologists. The startup company is housed at the Magnify Incubator at the California NanoSystems Institute at UCLA, which provides access to one of the most advanced research labs in the world. 

Lactation Lab is pioneering academic research in breast milk composition, also publishing findings in several prominent scientific journals, including Breastfeeding Medicine and Clinical Lactation.

Canale, a physician formerly at UCLA whose practice largely consisted of new mothers and babies, started Lactation Lab to provide parents with scientific and evidence-based insights, resources, and guidance. As a mom with an infant diagnosed with “failure to thrive,” also known as growth faltering. Canale wondered why there was no way to know what was in her own breast milk. 

“The time is now to empower moms with the kind of information and peace of mind I needed during my own breastfeeding journey. During the Covid-19 pandemic, amid the anxiety of leaving the home and going to doctor’s visits, we decided to bring Emily’s Care directly to mothers and take the guesswork out of breastfeeding,” said Canale. 

Lactation Lab’s breast-milk-test surpasses the creamatocrit breast milk test first developed in 1978. This rudimentary test is still widely used in hospitals, NICUs and support centers. Lactation Lab’s Emily’s aims to replace the existing test with Emily’s Care, which provides more accurate data than infra-red human milk analyzers. The company also just launched Emily’s Care infant supplement, which is the first infant supplement to receive Clean Label Project Certification and will support breastfeeding babies.

“We would like to continue advancements in women’s health to remove the current stigma around postpartum care and breastfeeding,” said Canale. “The data supports objective, evidence-based decision-making not only for hospitals and NICUs, but also for mothers at home. These are revolutionary steps to improve the standard of care surrounding breast milk for mom and baby.” 

Currently in the seed round of funding. Those interested in investing in Lactation Lab may reach out to scanale@lactationlab.com. To learn more, visit lactationlab.com and join the conversation @lactationlab.

About Lactation Lab

Founded by CEO Stephanie Canale, a doctor and mother of two, Lactation Lab is a first-of-its-kind breast-milk-testing kit. Lactation Lab analyzes your breast milk for basic nutritional content like calories and protein, as well as vitamins, fatty acids, and environmental toxins. Results are delivered in a user-friendly report that reads like a food label. Lactation Lab explains how results affect children, offers suggestions for enhancing the quality of milk, and offers personal consultation. Other products include mastitis screening test strips and the company will soon be launching a Clean Label certified infant supplement. Learn more at www.lactationlab.com.

About the FDA Breakthrough Device Program

The FDA Breakthrough Device program enables expedited regulatory assessment of novel technologies with the potential to provide more effective treatment or diagnosis of life-threatening or irreversibly debilitating diseases or conditions. The goal of the Breakthrough Devices Program is to provide patients and health care providers with timely access to these medical devices by speeding up their development, assessment, and review, while preserving the statutory standards for premarket approval, 510(k) clearance, and De Novo marketing authorization, consistent with the Agency’s mission to protect and promote public health.

About Magnify Incubator at the California NanoSystems Institute at UCLA 

Centrally located at UCLA’s Court of Sciences, Magnify strives to enhance the vibrant culture of entrepreneurship at UCLA and the broader Los Angeles region. Magnify was built with one goal in mind: to help startups succeed by vastly accelerating their access to facilities while increasing their capital efficiency and market opportunities.

Related Links

www.lactationlab.com
magnify.cnsi.ucla.edu

Learn more about Lactation Lab from CEO Dr. Stephanie Canale
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3t4Q1OX05lg


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Hertz Foundation announces 2022 Hertz fellows

The Fannie and John Hertz Foundation today announced the recipients of the prestigious 2022 Hertz Fellowships in applied science, mathematics and engineering….

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The Fannie and John Hertz Foundation today announced the recipients of the prestigious 2022 Hertz Fellowships in applied science, mathematics and engineering.

Credit: Fannie and John Hertz Foundation

The Fannie and John Hertz Foundation today announced the recipients of the prestigious 2022 Hertz Fellowships in applied science, mathematics and engineering.

This year’s fellowships will fund 13 remarkable doctoral students who demonstrate extraordinary potential to become foremost leaders in their fields and tackle the most significant challenges facing the nation and the world. The fellowship will directly support researchers interested in defending the nation’s digital infrastructure against cyberthreats, developing more efficient electronics that can help reduce dependence on fossil fuels, and creating biomedical devices to aid rehabilitation and cancer diagnostics.

“To remain a global leader in science and technology, our nation requires enterprising minds capable of inventing creative solutions to real problems,” said Robbee Baker Kosak, president of the Hertz Foundation. “We’re thrilled to be able to support these promising innovators and fuel their research at such a pivotal time in their careers.”

Since 1963, the Hertz Foundation has granted fellowships empowering the nation’s most promising young minds in science and technology. Hertz Fellows receive five years of funding, valued up to $250,000, which offers flexibility from the traditional constraints of graduate training and the independence needed to pursue research that best advances our security and economic vitality.

In addition to receiving financial support, Hertz Fellows join a multigenerational, intellectual community of peers, which offers a unique engine for professional development and collaboration. Hertz Fellows have access to lifelong programming, such as mentoring, events, and networking, which has led them to form research collaborations, commercialize technology, and create and invest in early-stage companies together, among other opportunities.

Among the past recipients of the Hertz Fellowship are Nobel laureate John Mather, a NASA astrophysicist and project scientist for the James Webb Space Telescope; Kim Budil, director of Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory; Nathan Myhrvold, founder and CEO of Intellectual Ventures, founding director of Microsoft Research, and former chief technology officer at Microsoft; Kathleen Fisher, deputy office director for the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency Information Innovation Office; and neuroscientist Ed Boyden of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, who is developing optogenetic technologies to understand and treat brain conditions such as Parkinson’s disease. 

The Hertz Foundation is dedicated to expanding and accelerating the U.S. pipeline of scientific and technical leadership. Through a rigorous and time-tested selection process, led by Hertz Fellow Philip Welkhoff, director of the malaria program at the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, the fellowship selection committee sought out candidates demonstrating deep, interconnecting knowledge and the extraordinary creativity necessary to tackle problems that others can’t solve.

“John Hertz’s vision was that as new challenges arise, a vibrant and innovative cadre of researchers in the applied sciences was essential for facing and overcoming them,” said Welkhoff. “This cohort of Hertz Fellows embodies these values in so many unique and individual ways. I am delighted to welcome them into the Hertz community and to see what they achieve in the decades ahead.”

The 2022 class joins a community of fellows comprising some of the nation’s most noted science and technology leaders, whose transformative research and innovation impact our lives every day. Hertz Fellows have increased the accessibility of ultrasounds with the invention of a low-cost handheld device and helped prove the big-bang theory of the universe. They are using machine learning to investigate disparities in COVID-19 testing and develop collaborative research tools. They have saved lives with a simple test that reveals fake pharmaceuticals, are influencing companies to institute environmentally sound practices, and are developing aircraft powered by hydrogen fuel cells for energy-efficient, lower-cost transportation.

Over the foundation’s 59-year history of awarding fellowships, more than 1,200 Hertz Fellows have established a remarkable track record of accomplishments. Their ranks include two Nobel laureates; recipients of eight Breakthrough Prizes and three MacArthur Foundation “genius awards”; and winners of the Turing Award, the Fields Medal, the National Medal of Technology and the National Medal of Science. In addition, 48 are members of the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering and Medicine, and 32 are fellows of the American Association for the Advancement of Science. Hertz Fellows hold over 3,000 patents, have founded more than 375 companies, and have created hundreds of thousands of science and technology jobs.

Introducing the 2022 Hertz Fellows

Fellows are listed with their graduate university affiliations and fields of interest.

Roderick Bayliss III
University of California, Berkeley
Power Electronics

Roderick Bayliss wants to design more efficient and power-dense electronics, a step toward reducing the world’s dependence on fossil fuels. Currently a graduate student at the University of California, Berkeley, Bayliss has already carried out work developing novel types of power converters — devices that change the current, voltage or frequency of electrical energy — and inductors, which store energy. He received both his bachelor’s degree and his master’s degree in electrical engineering from MIT.

Nikhil Bhattasali
New York University
Neuroscience, Artificial Intelligence

Nikhil Bhattasali is interested in understanding biological intelligence to build better artificial intelligence. Inspired by animal nervous systems, he assembles computational models that can control embodied agents and robots. Currently a NeuroAI Scholar at Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory, Bhattasali conducts highly interdisciplinary research combining machine learning, systems neuroscience and computer science. Bhattasali received both his bachelor’s degree in symbolic systems and his master’s degree in computer science from Stanford University. He will be joining the doctorate program in computer science at New York University in fall 2022. 

Alexander Cohen
Massachusetts Institute of Technology
Mathematics

Alexander Cohen studies how waves interfere with each other — a topic of mathematics that has far-reaching implications across computer science, physics and number theory. Cohen is a first-year graduate student at MIT, and he graduated from Yale University in 2021 with a dual bachelor’s and master’s degree in mathematics. He was awarded a Goldwater Scholarship for his work and an honorable mention for the Morgan Prize — one of the highest undergraduate honors in mathematics.

Wenjie Gong
Massachusetts Institute of Technology
Physics

Wenjie Gong is interested in the intersection between quantum information and physical systems. Her goal is to develop scalable, stable and noiseless quantum devices that can push technology past the classical era. Gong is currently finishing her bachelor’s and master’s degrees at Harvard University, where she has already made significant inroads into understanding quantum phenomena in the fundamental constituents of matter. She will begin her doctorate in quantum information theory at MIT in fall 2022.

Jonah Herzog-Arbeitman
Princeton University
Physics

Jonah Herzog-Arbeitman is a condensed matter physicist working toward the discovery of new states of matter and the development of quantum materials. He hopes to tackle high-temperature superconductivity — the challenge of keeping superconductors stable at anything other than extreme cold temperatures. Herzog-Arbeitman studied physics, math and poetry as an undergraduate at Princeton University. Now a first-year graduate student at Princeton University, he is active in mentorship programs that demystify academia and the path to a career in research.

David Li 
Stanford University
Bioengineering

David Li aims to develop transformative technologies that enable new biological insights, approaches and therapies. Throughout his undergraduate career at MIT, Li worked on tools for gene editing, directed evolution and COVID-19 diagnostics. Li will spend time abroad in the U.K. as a Marshall Scholar, studying the structure of amyloid filaments at the MRC Lab of Molecular Biology through Cambridge University before pursuing a doctorate in bioengineering at Stanford University. He received a bachelor’s degree in electrical engineering and computer science from MIT in 2022.

Daniel Longenecker
Princeton University
Physics

Daniel Longenecker studies scattering amplitudes in quantum field theory and string theory at Princeton University, where he is a first-year graduate student. His goal is to contribute to the reformulation of quantum field theory by discovering new principles and mathematical structures. During his time as an undergraduate at Cornell University, where he received his bachelor’s in physics and physics education in 2021, Longenecker discovered a new connection between string theory and mathematical linguistics.

Scott Barrow Moroch
Massachusetts Institute of Technology
Physics

Scott Moroch is an experimental physicist pursuing research at the intersection of atomic, nuclear and particle physics. Using tabletop experiments, Moroch hopes to shed new light on the standard model of particle physics. He is currently a graduate student at MIT and received his undergraduate degree in physics from the University of Maryland in 2021. 

Vivek Nair
University of California, Berkeley
Computer Science

Vivek Nair develops cutting-edge cryptographic techniques to defend digital infrastructure against sophisticated cyberthreats. Currently a graduate student at the University of California, Berkeley and a researcher at Cornell’s Initiative for Cryptocurrencies and Contracts, Nair is also the founder of Multifactor.com and holds multiple patents for secure user authentication technologies. He was the youngest-ever recipient of bachelor’s and master’s degrees in computer science at the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign.

Syamantak Payra
Stanford University
Engineering

Syamantak Payra is a scientist and engineer who is passionate about creating new biomedical devices to solve unmet health care needs. A senior at MIT, Payra has created digital fibers for electronic garments that can assist in diagnosing illnesses and has contributed to next-generation space suit prototypes that could better protect astronauts on spacewalks, among many other projects. He will begin his doctorate at Stanford University in fall 2022.

Shuvom Sadhuka
Massachusetts Institute of Technology
Computational Biology

Shuvom Sadhuka wants to apply mathematical algorithmic principles to the biological sciences to help create more efficient, private and robust tools for analyzing biological — especially genomic — data. In particular, he hopes to leverage ideas from algorithmic privacy, machine learning and data structures to create safe and efficient methods to accelerate biomedical research. He will receive his bachelor’s degree in computer science and statistics in spring 2022 from Harvard University and plans to pursue a graduate degree in computer science at MIT.

Emily Trimm
Stanford University
Biophysics, Medicine

An MD-PhD student in biophysics at Stanford University, Emily Trimm is interested in combining genomics with innovative biophysical techniques to address some of the biggest unanswered questions in human disease. Her current research uses multiomic data from high-altitude species, such as guinea pigs, alpine ibex and snow leopards, to study how the cells lining veins and arteries respond to physical force. She received her bachelor’s degree in physics and biophysics from the University of Pennsylvania in 2018.

Anonymous
Massachusetts Institute of Technology
Physics

About the Hertz Foundation

The Fannie and John Hertz Foundation identifies the nation’s most promising innovators in science and technology and empowers them to pursue solutions to our toughest challenges. Launched in 1963, the Hertz Fellowship is the most prestigious fellowship program in the U.S., fueling more than 1,200 leaders, disruptors and creators who apply their remarkable talents where they’re needed most — from our national security to the future of health care. Hertz Fellows hold 3,000+ patents, have founded 375+ companies, and have received 200+ major national and international awards, including two Nobel Prizes, eight Breakthrough Prizes, the National Medal of Technology, the Fields Medal and the Turing Award. Learn more at HertzFoundation.org.


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US sees spike in Paxlovid usage as Merck’s molnupiravir and AstraZeneca’s Evusheld are slower off the shelf

New data from HHS shows that more than 162,000 courses of Pfizer’s Covid-19 antiviral Paxlovid were administered across the US over the past week, continuing…

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New data from HHS shows that more than 162,000 courses of Pfizer’s Covid-19 antiviral Paxlovid were administered across the US over the past week, continuing a streak of increased usage of the pill, and signaling not only rising case numbers but more awareness of how to access it.

In comparison to this week, about 670,000 courses of the Pfizer pill have been administered across the first five months since Paxlovid has been on the U.S. market, averaging about 33,000 courses administered per week in that time.

Signs for such a spike in usage were evident earlier this month as in a call with reporters senior HHS officials credited the surge in the use of Paxlovid to their outreach, and through the Biden administration’s Test to Treat initiative, which allows for use of Paxlovid with a positive test at participating pharmacies.

“We have seen more than a 315% increase in Paxlovid use over the past four weeks. In the first week of May, nearly 115,000 courses were dispensed,” an official said at the time.

Meanwhile, outside of Paxlovid, few other treatment options are really in wide use.

Merck’s molnupiravir, known commercially as Lagevrio, has struggled to make its way out of the inventory closet, according to the latest numbers posted by HHS. Only about 20,000 courses of the Merck pill were used in the past week, and only about 13% of the total US inventory of molnupiravir has been used to date. That compares with about 35% of overall usage of Paxlovid courses ordered by states so far, and the bulk of those orders have come within the last several months.

But for AstraZeneca’s Evusheld, which is a monoclonal antibody that’s supposed to be used ahead of molnupiravir if both are on hand, only about 16,000 courses were administered in the past week. But about 38% of all Evusheld ordered by states has been administered so far, according to the latest HHS numbers.

Meanwhile, HHS has become less and less transparent with its data and information on its distribution of Covid-19 therapeutics.

After the Trump administration, and the beginning of the Biden administration allowed for the public posting of weekly calls between HHS and states on Covid-19 therapeutic distribution, those calls have since been made private and the prior recordings have been deleted from the ASPR website.

In addition, each week’s therapeutic administration numbers have to be tallied independently because HHS now deletes the previous week’s numbers.

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