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Nominate Service Groups for the 2023 Land Rover Service Awards

The annual Land Rover Defender Service Awards are here, bringing recognition — and an SUV — to great community service organizations.

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This article was published in partnership with Land Rover.

Do you know of a nonprofit organization in your community or a supporting charity that deserves recognition, and maybe a new Land Rover? Nominations are being accepted now for this year’s Land Rover Defender Service Awards, a program that honors and celebrates the people and organizations making a difference in their communities.

The awards program was launched in 2021, inspired by acts of public service and selflessness by individuals and charities during the covid pandemic. The program expanded in 2022 to include nonprofits and partner organizations. The winners of last year’s Defender Service Awards received a total of $300,000 dollars and five Defender 130 models.

For 2023, the awards include the Land Rover Defender 130 P300 S, which the company says has, for decades, “been known worldwide for enabling service workers to reach the most remote places across the globe in efforts of helping others.”

Presenting sponsor Chase will provide $150,000 to the finalists, and additional sponsors will contribute $25,000 to each of the category winners.

2023 Defender Service Awards and Sponsors

Category sponsors for this year’s program are:

  • Veteran and Civil Servant Outreach Award, Presented by Hearts and Science
  • Community Services Award, Presented by ei3
  • Search and Rescue and Emergency Services Award, Presented by PELICAN
  • Outdoor Accessibility and Education Award, Presented by Outside Interactive Inc.
  • Animal, Wildlife and Marine Mammal Welfare Award, Presented by Animal Planet

Each category highlights a different aspect of service, giving a voice and a vehicle to a few organizations deserving of them. The program is open to organizations in the continental U.S., Canada, and Puerto Rico.

The awards also give these worthy organizations a chance to win a customized Defender 130 SUV. The Defender 130 is a longer, roomier version of the legendary off-road SUV that returned in 2020. It seats up to eight people and carries up to 88.9 cubic feet of cargo, making it ideal for hauling supplies, volunteers, or equipment for missions. The winners will get to work with the Defender team to accessorize their vehicle according to their specific needs.

How to Enter the 2023 Defender Service Awards

The Defender Service Awards program is now open for nominations. Contenders must complete an entry form and submit a video (up to three minutes long), where eligible organizations can showcase their mission, impact, and explain how a Defender 130 would boost their efforts.

From now to July 21, 2023, individuals from various fields of service can nominate themselves or their organizations for the awards.

A panel of judges will review the submissions and select the finalists, who best represent the Defender spirit and show outstanding commitment to their cause. The finalist videos will then be posted online for public voting at Landroverusa.com and Landrover.ca starting in September.

The winners will be announced at a special event celebrating the Defender community, adventure, and service this fall.

Each category finalist will win $5,000 from Chase and $2,500 from Warner Bros. Discovery and each category winner will receive $25,000 from their sponsor, in addition to a custom Defender 130.

The 2022 Land Rover Defender Service Awards Winners

The categories and winning organizations from 2022.

Veteran Outreach Award, presented by dentsu X: This category salutes the men and women who've served our country and protected our communities, honoring organizations that offer vital support to military veterans, firefighters, first responders, and police officers injured in action.

2022 Winner: Patriot Service Dogs, a Marion County, Fla.-based organization that provides trained service dogs at no charge to honorably discharged veterans dealing with issues such as PTSD, traumatic brain injuries, mobility challenges, and military sexual trauma.

Community Services Award, presented by ei3: Here, Defender applauds organizations that tackle critical social issues within their communities, from fighting food insecurity and homelessness to empowering seniors.

2022 winner: Mercy Chefs is a faith-based, non-profit group that serves up meals and clean water to people in need during disasters and emergencies, often trekking over dangerous terrain to get there. So far, Mercy Chefs has dished out over 20 million meals in 150 disasters, 29 states, and 12 countries, thanks to their 10,000 volunteers.

Search and Rescue Award, presented by Pelican: When disaster strikes and lives are at stake, heroes step up to provide crucial support. This category recognizes organizations involved in remote area search and rescue, natural disaster support, firefighting, and other emergency services facing dangerous situations.

2022 winner: Sauvetage Bénévole Outaouais Ottawa Volunteer Search and Rescue (SBO-OVSAR) is a volunteer-based search and rescue organization that plays a key role in Western Quebec and Eastern Ontario. It offers critical assistance during emergencies and delivers public education programs that teach safe outdoor practices.

Animal Welfare Award, presented by KONG: This category acknowledges organizations committed to promoting outdoor accessibility, adaptive sports programs, environmental education, and conservation efforts, honoring those who work to ensure everyone has the chance to enjoy nature.

2022 winner: Appalachian Bear Rescue is on a mission to care for orphaned and injured black bear cubs, rehabilitating them for eventual release back into their natural habitats. In addition to their crucial wildlife conservation efforts, the nonprofit raises awareness about coexisting with black bears and more.

Environmental and Conservation Award, presented by Outside Interactive, Inc.: Heroes come in all shapes and sizes, and this category salutes those who work tirelessly to protect and conserve animal, wildlife, and marine mammal welfare. These champions devote their lives to preserving our planet’s precious biodiversity.

2022 winner: Green Lake Association safeguards Wisconsin’s deepest natural inland lake. This nonprofit organization serves as a model for cleaner lakes within the Lake Michigan basin and around the world, from restoring missing species to tackling water quality.

An additional category will give finalists (but not winners) from the 2021 and 2022 contests another crack at winning a Defender.

If you know of an organization or individual making a difference, let them know about the awards program, which is accepting nominations. They might just drive away with a symbol of their dedication. 

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Four burning questions about the future of the $16.5B Novo-Catalent deal

To build or to buy? That’s a classic question for pharma boardrooms, and Novo Nordisk is going with both.
Beyond spending billions of dollars to expand…

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To build or to buy? That’s a classic question for pharma boardrooms, and Novo Nordisk is going with both.

Beyond spending billions of dollars to expand its own production capacity for its weight loss drugs, the Danish drugmaker said Monday it will pay $11 billion to acquire three manufacturing plants from Catalent. It’s part of a broader $16.5 billion deal with Novo Holdings, the investment arm of the pharma’s parent group, which agreed to acquire the contract manufacturer and take it private.

It’s a big deal for all parties, with potential ripple effects across the biotech ecosystem. Here’s a look at some of the most pressing questions to watch after Monday’s announcement.

Why did Novo do this?

Novo Holdings isn’t the most obvious buyer for Catalent, particularly after last year’s on-and-off M&A interest from the serial acquirer Danaher. But the deal could benefit both Novo Holdings and Novo Nordisk.

Novo Nordisk’s biggest challenge has been simply making enough of the weight loss drug Wegovy and diabetes therapy Ozempic. On last week’s earnings call, Novo Nordisk CEO Lars Fruergaard Jørgensen said the company isn’t constrained by capital in its efforts to boost manufacturing. Rather, the main challenge is the limited amount of capabilities out there, he said.

“Most pharmaceutical companies in the world would be shopping among the same manufacturers,” he said. “There’s not an unlimited amount of machinery and people to build it.”

While Novo was already one of Catalent’s major customers, the manufacturer has been hamstrung by its own balance sheet. With roughly $5 billion in debt on its books, it’s had to juggle paying down debt with sufficiently investing in its facilities. That’s been particularly challenging in keeping pace with soaring demand for GLP-1 drugs.

Novo, on the other hand, has the balance sheet to funnel as much money as needed into the plants in Italy, Belgium, and Indiana. It’s also struggled to make enough of its popular GLP-1 drugs to meet their soaring demand, with documented shortages of both Ozempic and Wegovy.

The impact won’t be immediate. The parties expect the deal to close near the end of 2024. Novo Nordisk said it expects the three new sites to “gradually increase Novo Nordisk’s filling capacity from 2026 and onwards.”

As for the rest of Catalent — nearly 50 other sites employing thousands of workers — Novo Holdings will take control. The group previously acquired Altasciences in 2021 and Ritedose in 2022, so the Catalent deal builds on a core investing interest in biopharma services, Novo Holdings CEO Kasim Kutay told Endpoints News.

Kasim Kutay

When asked about possible site closures or layoffs, Kutay said the team hasn’t thought about that.

“That’s not our track record. Our track record is to invest in quality businesses and help them grow,” he said. “There’s always stuff to do with any asset you own, but we haven’t bought this company to do some of the stuff you’re talking about.”

What does it mean for Catalent’s customers? 

Until the deal closes, Catalent will operate as a standalone business. After it closes, Novo Nordisk said it will honor its customer obligations at the three sites, a spokesperson said. But they didn’t answer a question about what happens when those contracts expire.

The wrinkle is the long-term future of the three plants that Novo Nordisk is paying for. Those sites don’t exclusively pump out Wegovy, but that could be the logical long-term aim for the Danish drugmaker.

The ideal scenario is that pricing and timelines remain the same for customers, said Nicole Paulk, CEO of the gene therapy startup Siren Biotechnology.

Nicole Paulk

“The name of the group that you’re going to send your check to is now going to be Novo Holdings instead of Catalent, but otherwise everything remains the same,” Paulk told Endpoints. “That’s the best-case scenario.”

In a worst case, Paulk said she feared the new owners could wind up closing sites or laying off Catalent groups. That could create some uncertainty for customers looking for a long-term manufacturing partner.

Are shareholders and regulators happy? 

The pandemic was a wild ride for Catalent’s stock, with shares surging from about $40 to $140 and then crashing back to earth. The $63.50 share price for the takeover is a happy ending depending on the investor.

On that point, the investing giant Elliott Investment Management is satisfied. Marc Steinberg, a partner at Elliott, called the agreement “an outstanding outcome” that “clearly maximizes value for Catalent stockholders” in a statement.

Elliott helped kick off a strategic review last August that culminated in the sale agreement. Compared to Catalent’s stock price before that review started, the deal pays a nearly 40% premium.

Alessandro Maselli

But this is hardly a victory lap for CEO Alessandro Maselli, who took over in July 2022 when Catalent’s stock price was north of $100. Novo’s takeover is a tacit acknowledgment that Maselli could never fully right the ship, as operational problems plagued the company throughout 2023 while it was limited by its debt.

Additional regulatory filings in the next few weeks could give insight into just how competitive the sale process was. William Blair analysts said they don’t expect a competing bidder “given the organic investments already being pursued at other leading CDMOs and the breadth and scale of Catalent’s operations.”

The Blair analysts also noted the companies likely “expect to spend some time educating relevant government agencies” about the deal, given the lengthy closing timeline. Given Novo Nordisk’s ascent — it’s now one of Europe’s most valuable companies — paired with the limited number of large contract manufacturers, antitrust regulators could be interested in taking a close look.

Are Catalent’s problems finally a thing of the past?

Catalent ran into a mix of financial and operational problems over the past year that played no small part in attracting the interest of an activist like Elliott.

Now with a deal in place, how quickly can Novo rectify those problems? Some of the challenges were driven by the demands of being a publicly traded company, like failing to meet investors’ revenue expectations or even filing earnings reports on time.

But Catalent also struggled with its business at times, with a range of manufacturing delays, inspection reports and occasionally writing down acquisitions that didn’t pan out. Novo’s deep pockets will go a long way to a turnaround, but only the future will tell if all these issues are fixed.

Kutay said his team is excited by the opportunity and was satisfied with the due diligence it did on the company.

“We believe we’re buying a strong company with a good management team and good prospects,” Kutay said. “If that wasn’t the case, I don’t think we’d be here.”

Amber Tong and Reynald Castañeda contributed reporting.

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Petrina Kamya, Ph.D., Head of AI Platforms at Insilico Medicine, presents at BIO CEO & Investor Conference

Petrina Kamya, PhD, Head of AI Platforms and President of Insilico Medicine Canada, will present at the BIO CEO & Investor Conference happening Feb….

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Petrina Kamya, PhD, Head of AI Platforms and President of Insilico Medicine Canada, will present at the BIO CEO & Investor Conference happening Feb. 26-27 at the New York Marriott Marquis in New York City. Dr. Kamya will speak as part of the panel “AI within Biopharma: Separating Value from Hype,” on Feb. 27, 1pm ET along with Michael Nally, CEO of Generate: Biomedicines and Liz Schwarzbach, PhD, CBO of BigHat Biosciences.

Credit: Insilico Medicine

Petrina Kamya, PhD, Head of AI Platforms and President of Insilico Medicine Canada, will present at the BIO CEO & Investor Conference happening Feb. 26-27 at the New York Marriott Marquis in New York City. Dr. Kamya will speak as part of the panel “AI within Biopharma: Separating Value from Hype,” on Feb. 27, 1pm ET along with Michael Nally, CEO of Generate: Biomedicines and Liz Schwarzbach, PhD, CBO of BigHat Biosciences.

The session will look at how the latest artificial intelligence (AI) tools – including generative AI and large language models – are currently being used to advance the discovery and design of new drugs, and which technologies are still in development. 

The BIO CEO & Investor Conference brings together over 1,000 attendees and more than 700 companies across industry and institutional investment to discuss the future investment landscape of biotechnology. Sessions focus on topics such as therapeutic advancements, market outlook, and policy priorities.

Insilico Medicine is a leading, clinical stage AI-driven drug discovery company that has raised over $400m in investments since it was founded in 2014. Dr. Kamya leads the development of the Company’s end-to-end generative AI platform, Pharma.AI from Insilico’s AI R&D Center in Montreal. Using modern machine learning techniques in the context of chemistry and biology, the platform has driven the discovery and design of 30+ new therapies, with five in clinical stages – for cancer, fibrosis, inflammatory bowel disease (IBD), and COVID-19. The Company’s lead drug, for the chronic, rare lung condition idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis, is the first AI-designed drug for an AI-discovered target to reach Phase II clinical trials with patients. Nine of the top 20 pharmaceutical companies have used Insilico’s AI platform to advance their programs, and the Company has a number of major strategic licensing deals around its AI-designed therapeutic assets, including with Sanofi, Exelixis and Menarini. 

 

About Insilico Medicine

Insilico Medicine, a global clinical stage biotechnology company powered by generative AI, is connecting biology, chemistry, and clinical trials analysis using next-generation AI systems. The company has developed AI platforms that utilize deep generative models, reinforcement learning, transformers, and other modern machine learning techniques for novel target discovery and the generation of novel molecular structures with desired properties. Insilico Medicine is developing breakthrough solutions to discover and develop innovative drugs for cancer, fibrosis, immunity, central nervous system diseases, infectious diseases, autoimmune diseases, and aging-related diseases. www.insilico.com 


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Another country is getting ready to launch a visa for digital nomads

Early reports are saying Japan will soon have a digital nomad visa for high-earning foreigners.

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Over the last decade, the explosion of remote work that came as a result of improved technology and the pandemic has allowed an increasing number of people to become digital nomads. 

When looked at more broadly as anyone not required to come into a fixed office but instead moves between different locations such as the home and the coffee shop, the latest estimate shows that there were more than 35 million such workers in the world by the end of 2023 while over half of those come from the United States.

Related: There is a new list of cities that are best for digital nomads

While remote work has also allowed many to move to cheaper places and travel around the world while still bringing in income, working outside of one's home country requires either dual citizenship or work authorization — the global shift toward remote work has pushed many countries to launch specific digital nomad visas to boost their economies and bring in new residents.

Japan is a very popular destination for U.S. tourists. 

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This popular vacation destination will soon have a nomad visa

Spain, Portugal, Indonesia, Malaysia, Costa Rica, Brazil, Latvia and Malta are some of the countries currently offering specific visas for foreigners who want to live there while bringing in income from abroad.

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With the exception of a few, Asian countries generally have stricter immigration laws and were much slower to launch these types of visas that some of the countries with weaker economies had as far back as 2015. As first reported by the Japan Times, the country's Immigration Services Agency ended up making the leap toward a visa for those who can earn more than ¥10 million ($68,300 USD) with income from another country.

The Japanese government has not yet worked out the specifics of how long the visa will be valid for or how much it will cost — public comment on the proposal is being accepted throughout next week. 

That said, early reports say the visa will be shorter than the typical digital nomad option that allows foreigners to live in a country for several years. The visa will reportedly be valid for six months or slightly longer but still no more than a year — along with the ability to work, this allows some to stay beyond the 90-day tourist period typically afforded to those from countries with visa-free agreements.

'Not be given a residence card of residence certificate'

While one will be able to reapply for the visa after the time runs out, this can only be done by exiting the country and being away for six months before coming back again — becoming a permanent resident on the pathway to citizenship is an entirely different process with much more strict requirements.

"Those living in Japan with the digital nomad visa will not be given a residence card or a residence certificate, which provide access to certain government benefits," reports the news outlet. "The visa cannot be renewed and must be reapplied for, with this only possible six months after leaving the countr

The visa will reportedly start in March and also allow holders to bring their spouses and families with them. To start using the visa, holders will also need to purchase private health insurance from their home country while taxes on any money one earns will also need to be paid through one's home country.

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