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Parexel CEO to retire; CAR-T maker AffyImmune promotes business leader to chief executive

Peyton Howell
→ Jamie Macdonald will retire as CEO of Parexel on May 15, and the clinical research organization has already named Peyton Howell — the…



Peyton Howell

Jamie Macdonald will retire as CEO of Parexel on May 15, and the clinical research organization has already named Peyton Howell — the current chief operating and growth officer — as his successor. Macdonald replaced co-founder and longtime chief executive Josef von Rickenbach in March 2018, and Howell arrived two months later as chief commercial and strategy officer. Earlier, she handled a series of roles for more than a decade at AmerisourceBergen.

“Jamie guided Parexel through a pivotal time in the company’s evolution, leading it through its successful acquisition by EQT and Goldman Sachs Asset Management in 2021 and achieving industry-leading profit growth across his tenure with the company — outpacing the top-tier CROs during this same period to position Parexel for sustainable growth,” board chair Sheri McCoy said in a statement.

Macdonald will keep his board seat at Parexel until the end of this year.

Matt Britz

→ Chaired by Simone Song, who just announced a $260 million second fund at ORI Capital a month ago, AffyImmune Therapeutics has promoted Matt Britz to CEO. Britz joined AffyImmune as SVP of business development from Minerva Biotechnologies in 2021, and he was quickly elevated to COO. In addition to the new boss, AffyImmune has welcomed bluebird bio alum Pete Gelinas as SVP of CMC. For the past two years, Gelinas led manufacturing and technical operations at David Hallal’s ElevateBio. Song’s crew at ORI forked over $30 million for AffyImmune’s “Series A+” in October 2021, and we’ll see if the CAR-T developer has another fundraising round on the horizon.

Christine Roth

Bayer told Nicole DeFeudis this week that it’s “basically halving” the number of execs on its pharmaceutical leadership team as part of the massive restructuring project that’s taking place at the German multinational. It means the end of the road for Anne-Grethe Mortensen, a longtime Bayer staffer who has been chief marketing officer since 2019, but she’s the only one who will part ways. Sebastian Guth, who has been doing double duty as president of Bayer US and president of North America pharmaceuticals, will be COO on April 1 and stay in the US. The head of the oncology strategic business unit, Christine Roth, will lead a new “global commercialization” team on June 1. Meanwhile, R&D chief Christian Rommel and product supply leader Holger Weintritt aren’t going anywhere and neither is CMO Michael Devoy, but Devoy won’t be on the pharma leadership roster.

Annemarie Hanekamp

Annemarie Hanekamp will replace Sean Marett as BioNTech’s chief commercial officer on July 1. Hanekamp led the radioligand therapy teams at Novartis, which got a jump on an increasingly buzzy field with the approvals of Lutathera (from the Advanced Accelerator Applications buyout) and Pluvicto. Before that, she had numerous roles in 11 years at Bristol Myers Squibb, culminating in her promotion to head of sales, US immunology. BioNTech makes this leadership move as Covid-19 revenue continues its downward slide and as the German company touts an oncology pipeline that contains ADCs and bispecifics.

Noah Berkowitz

→ Several weeks after CFO Sean Cassidy’s departure, Arvinas has made another C-suite change by bringing in Noah Berkowitz as CMO. From 2020-23, Berkowitz was Bristol Myers’ development unit head, hematology, and he also tackled the role of clinical development head for hematology during his tenure at Novartis. Ron Peck, a Bristol Myers vet in his own right who had been medical chief since 2019, is stepping down from the protein degradation player “to pursue other opportunities.”

Fulcrum Therapeutics has enlisted Patrick Horn as CMO, while interim medical chief Iain Fraser will become SVP of early development. We last saw Horn in this space when he was named CMO of HemoShear Therapeutics, and he’s held the same position with Tetraphase and Albireo Pharma. Ex-Fulcrum CMO Santiago Arroyo left after five months to take the role of development chief at Bicycle Therapeutics in April 2023. Four months later, the FDA lifted the clinical hold on Fulcrum’s sickle cell therapy FTX-6058.

Simon Cooper

Morphic Therapeutic also has a new medical chief: Simon Cooper spent more than two and a half years with Keros Therapeutics in the same capacity, and he’s also been CMO at Kadmon and Anokion. Cooper has an extensive Big Pharma background with Roche, Novartis and Sanofi, and he was an asset strategy leader for risankizumab (known as the blockbuster Skyrizi) at AbbVie. Last September, Morphic’s stock took a tumble when its inflammatory bowel disease drug MORF-057 did not surpass Takeda’s Entyvio in terms of efficacy.

→ Eye drug developer Clearside Biomedical has picked up Victor Chong as CMO. Chong joins the team in Georgia from J&J Innovative Medicine, where he was VP, global head of retina DAS. Before that, he was global head of medicine, retinal health at Boehringer Ingelheim.

→ Elsewhere, at Ocugen, the company has promoted Huma Qamar to the role of CMO. Qamar has been with the company for over three years. Prior to her role at Ocugen, Qamar was with FSD Pharma as SVP, head of R&D.

Petra Kaufmann

Vigil Neuroscience concludes our tour through the latest CMO hires with the exit of Christopher Silber after just five months with the company. In walks Petra Kaufmann, the former CMO of AAV gene therapy biotech Affinia Therapeutics. Kaufmann is also the former SVP, clinical development, translational medicine & analytics for Novartis Gene Therapies. The FDA lifted a partial clinical hold on Vigil’s lead program, a TREM2 antibody now called iluzanebart, almost exactly a year ago.

Michael Boretti has taken the CBO job at Solu Therapeutics, the Longwood upstart that’s now run by ex-Faze Medicines CEO Phil Vickers. Boretti previously held the CBO post at Celsius Therapeutics since 2019 and he’s the ex-VP of business development for Epizyme. Santé Ventures, DCVC Bio and the venture arm of Astellas are among the investors that joined Longwood for Solu’s $31 million seed round last summer.

Dan Neil

BenevolentAI says that chief technology officer Dan Neil will be ending his seven-year run at the company in April “to relocate to be nearer his family.” James Malone will succeed Neil. He just finished a year-long stint with as VP of engineering; earlier, Malone was BenchSci’s VP, data engineering, machine learning and bioinformatics.

Larry Hineline is retiring after 22 years as CFO of Caplyta maker Intra-Cellular Therapies, which has also elevated Michael Halstead to president. Halstead has spent the last decade as Intra-Cellular’s general counsel and was elevated to EVP in 2019.

Jonathan Gillis

→ Through its acquisition of Karuna Therapeutics, Bristol Myers has a Sept. 26 decision date for the schizophrenia drug KarXT. Another contender in this space comes from MapLight Therapeutics, which has selected Vishwas Setia as CFO and shifted his predecessor, Jonathan Gillis, to chief administrative and accounting officer. Setia worked at Bank of America Securities for nearly a decade and served as a managing director in the healthcare investment banking group. MapLight secured a $225 million Series C last October and while ML-007C-MA is a muscarinic 1 and muscarinic 4 agonist like KarXT, the difference is it’s in combination with a peripheral muscarinic antagonist.

Syndax Pharmaceuticals, which closed a $230 million public offering in December, has named Steven Closter as CCO. Closter previously worked at Sunovion Pharmaceuticals, culminating in his role as VP, brand strategy and launch excellence. Before that, he spent nearly two decades at Forest Laboratories in senior marketing and commercial roles, including VP, marketing.

Tracey Lodie

→ Co-founded by scientific advisory board chair George Church and backed by Bayer, GRO Biosciences has welcomed Tracey Lodie as chief development officer. Lodie comes to GRObio from Quell Therapeutics, where he had been CSO since the summer of 2021. The 14-year Sanofi Genzyme vet also spent two years as Gamida Cell’s science chief and was SVP, translational immunology for BlueRock Therapeutics. In November 2021, GRObio raised $25 million in Series A financing to make protein therapies with artificial amino acids.

→ Lyon, France-based MaaT Pharma, which completed a new microbiome facility in France with Skyepharma last September, has enlisted Jonathan Chriqui as CBO. Chriqui has experience from Ipsen and Servier under his belt and formerly served as chief operating & chief business development officer at Somagenetix.

John Maraganore

John Maraganore inundated Peer Review with a barrage of board appointments and advisory gigs after he stepped down from Alnylam, but lately it’s been all quiet on the Maraganore front — until this week. He’s now on the board at Rapport Therapeutics, a neuro biotech that racked up two megarounds in short order last year and is chaired by ex-Karuna chief Steve Paul. Maraganore is also a venture partner at both Atlas Ventures and ARCH Venture Partners.

→ As BeiGene celebrates the long-awaited US approval of its PD-1 drug tislelizumab, which will be branded as Tevimbra, Checkpoint Therapeutics will resubmit a BLA for its PD-1 candidate cosibelimab after the FDA issued a CRL in December. Checkpoint has now elected Amit Sharma to the board of directors. Sharma, the VP of clinical development and therapeutic head for nephrology and hematology at AstraZeneca’s rare disease unit Alexion, was previously a medical affairs exec in Bayer’s cardiovascular and renal division.

Maggie Pax has sewn up a spot on the board of directors at Repligen. In the back half of her eight years with Thermo Fisher, Pax was VP, strategy and innovation.

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Censorship And The Digital Public Square

Censorship And The Digital Public Square

Authored by Adeline Von Drehle via RealClear Wire,

“We don’t want no censorship, we don’t…



Censorship And The Digital Public Square

Authored by Adeline Von Drehle via RealClear Wire,

We don’t want no censorship, we don’t need no censorship!” Kevin Nathaniel’s voice boomed from the podium in front of the Supreme Court as he, frontman of the Spirit Drummers, led the crowd in a series of sing-songy, reggae-inspired chants. His audience was small but excitable. Some wore Kennedy ’24 beanies and “Ivermectin saves lives” T-shirts. Others showed off signs reading “Fauci is the tyrant the founding fathers warned us about,” and “Freedom of speech includes views you don’t like,” and “Media literacy = censorship,” as they bopped along to the bongo drums.

Inside, the Supreme Court was gearing up to hear the oral arguments of Murthy v. Missouri, in which Missouri and Louisiana, as well as several individuals, claim that federal officials violated the First Amendment in their efforts to combat misinformation on social media. The parties contend that the Biden administration effectively coerced platforms into silencing the voices of American citizens, particularly those on the right who posted about the COVID-19 lab leak theory, pandemic lockdowns, vaccine side effects, election fraud, and the Hunter Biden laptop story. The plaintiffs have called it a “sprawling Censorship Enterprise.”

People live with different facts than their neighbors. One reason for this is social media algorithms, which use engagement features such as “like” buttons to feed users more of the content they seem to be interested in. Such a system can result in one person’s feed looking completely alien to another person. That we live in parallel universes is not news, but the dilemma it poses raises crucial questions about the responsibility of social media companies to track what is on their platforms and whether the government even has the right – or the responsibility – to counter what it deems misinformation, and when a line has been crossed into unconstitutional censorship.

Plaintiffs in Murthy v. Missouri claim the line was crossed, and then crossed a few hundred more times. The suit names federal officials including President Joe Biden, former White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki, Anthony Fauci, Surgeon General Vivek Murthy, and others – as well as federal agencies such as the Department of Health and Human Services and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

While the lawsuit ostensibly sets out to detail the many ways the federal government violated Americans’ First Amendment rights, it also spent a great deal of its time explaining why the information the mainstream has labeled “misinformation” is actually the truth.

The Missouri and Louisiana attorneys general cite studies, journal articles, and news stories to bolster their assertions about mail-in voter fraud and about the inefficacy of masking, quarantining, and COVID-19 vaccines. “Yesterday’s ‘misinformation’ often becomes today’s viable theory and tomorrow’s established fact,” they wrote in their legal brief.

The plaintiffs go on to the meat of their complaint, which is about 50 pages of what they hope will be viewed as convincing evidence of a well-oiled censorship machine.

In one example, they present transcripts of Jen Psaki linking encouragement for social media companies to “stop amplifying untrustworthy content … especially related to COVID-19, vaccinations, and elections” with comments about anti-trust regulation and privacy protections, insinuating that the federal government would impose undesirable regulations on social media companies if they do not increase censorship of right-wing messaging.

The suit also states that Dr. Fauci “coordinated with social-media firms to police and suppress speech regarding COVID-19 on social media,” particularly about the lab-leak theory – which contends that COVID-19 originated in a lab in Wuhan, China – because Fauci himself signed off on funding the gain-of-function research that may have created the virus. Instead, Fauci and other officials at the National Institutes of Health pushed the narrative that COVID was a zoonotic virus that jumped to humans in a Wuhan seafood market.

Whether these examples and many others constitute threats or nefarious coercion is what the high court is now weighing. A federal district court judge issued a preliminary injunction that prevents much of the federal government from collaborating with various groups about what should and should not be allowed on social media. The Fifth U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals kept it in place, saying the evidence showed the existence of “a coordinated campaign” of unprecedented “magnitude orchestrated by federal officials that jeopardized a fundamental aspect of American life.”

The injunction rang alarm bells as it specifically banned communication between the federal government and the Election Integrity Partnership, which was instrumental in debunking false claims about the 2020 election. The Supreme Court stayed the injunction, suggesting it was less convinced than the lower courts by initial evidence.

One private individual suing alongside the states is Dr. Aaron Kheriaty, who was fired from his job at a University of California school for refusing a COVID-19 vaccine. Author of “The New Abnormal: The Rise of the Biomedical Security State,” Kheriaty describes government censorship as a “leviathan,” a Hobbesian term to describe an entity with utter control over its subjects.

“It’s an interconnected network of public and supposedly private entities that is basically working 24/7 to flag and pressure the social media companies into doing its bidding with censorship,” said Kheriaty. “If these social media companies are not complying, the government can turn the screws and turn up the temperature and basically force them into compliance.”

Some conspiracy theories turn out to be true. But this would be a big one.

It is undeniable that conservative and right-wing voices were censored on social media, mostly beginning in and around March 2020, just as the plaintiffs argue in their suit. Platforms such as Facebook, X (formerly Twitter), and YouTube all made concerted efforts to either outright remove dissenting posts about the COVID-19 pandemic and the 2020 presidential election, or at least to diminish the reach of such posts.

Litigating whether such measures are unconstitutional raises a host of questions, starting with whether platforms such as X or Facebook are solely private sector companies or whether in a highly digital age they have become the de facto public square where censorship is more proscribed. This is not merely an academic concern. The First Amendment protects, in the Supreme Court’s words, a “robust sphere of individual liberty” that allows private actors to make their own decisions about what speech they wish to associate with. Social media companies have been considered private actors under the law and are permitted to moderate user speech and content as they see fit under Section 230 of the Communications Decency Act.

But with social media platforms acting as the present-day town square, it’s no surprise that so many Americans think it unjust that they could be censored for their views. “Modern society is so thoroughly dependent upon social media for communication, news, commerce, education, and entertainment that any restriction of access to it can easily feel like a matter of constitutional significance,” writes legal scholar Mary Anne Franks.

The Murthy v. Missouri suit argues that Section 230 “directly contributed to the rise of a small number of extremely powerful social-media platforms, who have now turned into a ‘censorship cartel.’” In this part of the suit, the case transforms itself into an argument for the overturning of Section 230, which multiple states are considering.

The lawsuit cites numerous examples of censorship that occurred before the Biden administration took office, and claims it was indeed threats from the Biden campaign which coerced social media companies to overly censor. It will be difficult to prove abridgment of free speech on these points, as only a government – not a campaign – is legally bound by the First Amendment.

The plaintiffs cite, “perhaps most notoriously,” the example of the Hunter Biden laptop story. The New York Post ran a story on Oct. 14, 2020, about the computer of then-presidential nominee Joe Biden’s son and the proof it held of corrupt business dealings, but the Post’s Twitter account was blocked until after the election. In fact, no one could share the story (even via Twitter direct message) because, as the Wall Street Journal Editorial Board put it, “nearly all of the media at the time ignored the story or ‘fact-checked’ as false.” The plaintiffs argue the story was censored because social media companies were “parroting the Biden campaign’s false line,” and so treated the story as “disinformation.”

Similar arguments are made about censorship of speech that raised concerns about the security of voting by mail – that the Biden campaign coerced social media companies into censoring such speech because it did not align with their personal interests. Such posts about election fraud spiraled into a narrative that the election was stolen and contributed to the violent Jan. 6 riot at the U.S. Capitol.

In 1783, George Washington warned that if ‘the Freedom of Speech may be taken away,’ then ‘dumb and silent we may be led, like sheep, to the Slaughter.’ Citing this quote, the plaintiffs in Murthy v. Missouri began their quest to unveil the censorship leviathan.

Whether the courts find their evidence compelling enough to reapply the injunction on much of the federal government is the question of the case. The plaintiffs argue that the government has no role at all, insisting that labeling “disfavored speech ‘misinformation’ or ‘disinformation’ does not strip it of First Amendment protection. Some false statements are inevitable if there is to be an open and vigorous expression of views.”

Kheriaty echoed the sentiment. “The constitution is very clear that the government’s role is not to distinguish between true and false information or true and false speech,” he said. “The government’s only role is to distinguish between legal and illegal speech.”

Danger is invited in when people are not exposed to a multitude of viewpoints, they say. Perhaps we are all victims of the certain censorship that comes from our personalized social media feeds, in which we are fed only information we want to hear. Each side thinks the other is brainwashed. This has led to real-world harm, and surely will again in the future. Whose job is it to save us from ourselves?

Tyler Durden Fri, 03/22/2024 - 04:15

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SNB Ends the Rate-Cut Drought

This makes it the first developed nation to cut interest rates after the COVID-19 pandemic, the fall of Credit Suisse, the onset of the war in Ukraine,…



This makes it the first developed nation to cut interest rates after the COVID-19 pandemic, the fall of Credit Suisse, the onset of the war in Ukraine, and persistent inflation pressures.

Switzerland’s central bank explained its decision by stating that local inflation will probably remain below 2% for the foreseeable future. Despite this announcement and a drop in inflation, economists believe that the Bank of England (BOE) will not alter its current interest rates.

Norges Bank, the Norwegian central bank, and the US Federal Reserve kept their countries’ respective interest rates unchanged. The latter is, however, expecting three rate cuts in 2024.

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CNBC said that a Reuters poll predicted that the SNB would keep rates at 1.75%. According to this report, Swiss inflation fell to 1.2%, which is below the 2% benchmark, signalling an economy ready for rate cuts.

The SNB expects further annual inflation decreases and predicts average inflation of 1.4% for 2024, 1.2% for 2025, and 1.1% for 2026 should the policy rate remain steady at 1.5% for the entire period.

CNBC cited analysts from Capital Economics, who commented:

We think inflation will come in even lower than the new SNB forecasts imply and remain around the current level of 1.2% before falling to below 1.0% next year. Accordingly, we forecast the SNB to cut rates at the September and December meetings taking the policy rate to 1%, where we think it will remain throughout 2025 and 2026.



The post SNB Ends the Rate-Cut Drought appeared first on LeapRate.

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CCP-Linked Virologist Fired After Transferring Ebola From Winnipeg To Wuhan Resurfaces In China – And Is Collaborating With Military Scientists

CCP-Linked Virologist Fired After Transferring Ebola From Winnipeg To Wuhan Resurfaces In China – And Is Collaborating With Military Scientists



CCP-Linked Virologist Fired After Transferring Ebola From Winnipeg To Wuhan Resurfaces In China - And Is Collaborating With Military Scientists

A virologist who had a "clandestine relationship" with Chinese agents and was subsequently fired by the Trudeau government has popped back up in China - where she's conducting research with Chinese military scientists and other virology researchers, including at the Wuhan Institute of Virology, where she's allegedly studying antibodies for coronavirus, as well as the deadly Ebola and Niaph viruses, the Globe and Mail reports.

Xiangguo Qiu and her husband Keding Cheng were fired from the National Microbiology Laboratory in Winnipeg, Canada and stripped of their security clearances in July of 2019.

Declassified documents tabled in the House of Commons on Feb. 28 show the couple had provided confidential scientific information to China and posed a credible security threat to the country, according to the Canadian Security Intelligence Service.

The Globe found that Dr. Qiu’s name appears on four Chinese patent filings since 2020, two with the Wuhan Institute of Virology whose work on bat coronaviruses has placed it at the centre of concerns that it played a role in the spread of COVID-19 – and two with the University of Science and Technology of China, or USTC. The patents relate to antibodies against Nipah virus and work related to nanobodies, including against coronaviruses. -Globe and Mail

Canadian authorities began questioning the pair's loyalty, as well as the potential for coercion or exploitation by a foreign entity, according to more than 600 pages of documents reported by The Counter Signal.

Highlights (via

  • Qiu and Cheng were escorted out of Winnipeg's National Microbiology Laboratory in July 2019 and subsequently fired in January 2021.
  • The pair transferred deadly Ebola and Henipah viruses to China's Wuhan Institute of Virology in March 2019.
  • The Canadian Security Intelligence Service assessed that Qiu repeatedly lied about the extent of her work with institutions of the Chinese government and refused to admit involvement in various Chinese programs, even when evidence was presented to her.
  • [D]espite being given every opportunity in her interviews to describe her association with Chinese entities, "Ms. Qiu continued to make blanket denials, feign ignorance or tell outright lies."
  • A November 2020 Public Health Agency of Canada report on Qiu says investigators "weighed the adverse information and are in agreement with the CSIS assessment."
  • A Public Health Agency report on Cheng's activities says he allowed restricted visitors to work in laboratories unescorted and on at least two occasions did not prevent the unauthorized removal of laboratory materials.
  • Cheng was not forthcoming about his activities and collaborations with people from government agencies "of another country, namely members of the People's Republic of China."

Following their firings, Qiu returned to China despite it being under a pandemic travel lockdown until January, 2023.

"It’s very likely that she received quite preferential treatment in China on the basis that she’s proven herself. She’s done a very good job for the government of China," said Brendan Walker-Munro, senior research fellow at Australia’s University of Queensland Law School. "She’s promoted their interests abroad. She’s returned information that is credibly useful to China and to its ongoing research."

More via the Globe and Mail;

Documents reviewed by The Globe show that Dr. Qiu is most closely aligned with the University of Science and Technology of China (USTC) in Hefei. In March, 2023, a document posted by a Chinese pharmaceutical company listed Dr. Qiu as second amongst “major completion personnel” on a project awarded by the Chinese Preventive Medicine Association for study related to an anti-Ebola virus therapeutic antibody. Most of the other completion personnel were associated with the Chinese People’s Liberation Army.

USTC was founded by the Chinese Academy of Sciences and initially established to build up Chinese scientific expertise useful to the military, which at the time was pursuing technology to build satellites, intercontinental ballistic missiles and atomic bombs. The university has continued to maintain close military ties.

The document says Dr. Qiu works for USTC. Jin Tengchuan, the principal investigator at the Laboratory of Structural Immunology at USTC, lists her as a co-inventor on a patent. Mr. Jin did not respond to requests for comment.

A person who answered the phone at USTC told The Globe, “I don’t have any information about this teacher.”

In 2012, USTC signed a strategic co-operation agreement with the Army Engineering University of the People’s Liberation Army, designed to strengthen research on cutting-edge technology useful for communications, weaponry and other national-defence priorities.

Dr. Qiu is also listed as a 2019 doctoral supervisor for students studying virology at Hebei Medical University.

Well, that makes me wonder what circumstances she was under when she emigrated to Canada. Why did she come?” asked Earl Brown, a professor emeritus of biochemistry, microbiology and immunology at the University of Ottawa’s faculty of medicine who has worked extensively in China in the past. “People leave for more freedom from China, or to make more money. But China keeps tabs on most people so I am not sure if she came over to infiltrate or whether she came and the infiltration happened later through contact with China.”

It may be impossible to answer that question. Three former colleagues at the National Microbiolgy Lab have indicated that Dr. Qiu and her husband were diligent and pleasant to deal with, but largely kept to themselves outside of work. They say Dr. Qiu was a brilliant scientist with a strong work ethic, although her English was weak. The Globe is not identifying the three who did not want to be named.

Dr. Qiu is a medical doctor from Tianjin, China, who came to Canada for graduate studies in 1996. She started at the University of Manitoba, but began working at the national lab as a research scientist in 2006, working her way up to become head of the vaccine development and antiviral therapies section in the National Microbiology Laboratory’s special pathogens program.

She was also part of the team that helped develop ZMapp, a treatment for the deadly Ebola virus, which killed more than 11,000 people in West Africa between 2014 and 2016.

“My sense is this was part of a larger strategy by China to get access to our innovation system,” said Filippa Lentzos, an associate professor of science and international security at King’s College London. “It was a way for them to to find out what was going on in Canada’s premier lab.”

Initially trained as a medical doctor, Dr. Qiu graduated in 1985 from Hebei University in the coastal city of Tianjin, which lies southeast of Beijing. Dr. Qiu went on to obtain her master of science degree in immunology at Tianjin Medical University in 1990.

Her career at Canada’s top infectious disease lab in Winnipeg began in 2003, only four years after Ottawa opened this biosafety level 4 facility at the Canadian Science Centre for Human and Animal Health.

Over time, she built up a reputation for academic collaboration, particularly with China. It was welcomed by management who felt her work was helping build a name internationally for the National Microbiology Lab.

By the time Canadian officials intervened in 2018 and began investigating, documents show, Dr. Qiu was running 44 separate projects at the Winnipeg lab, an uncommonly large workload.

Her work with former colleague and microbiologist Gary Kobinger vaulted Dr. Qiu into the international spotlight. The pair developed a treatment for Ebola, one that in its first human application led to the full recovery of 27 patients with the infection during a 2014 outbreak in Liberia.

Mr. Kobinger’s career continued to soar and he is now director of the Galveston National Laboratory, a renowned biosafety level 4 facility in Texas. In 2022, he told The Globe that it was “heartbreaking” to see what had happened to his colleague. He declined to speak for this article.

“She had lost a lot of weight with all the stress. She was so convinced that this was all a misunderstanding … and she would go back to her job,” he said in 2022. “ Her career has been destroyed with all this. She was one of the top female Canadian scientists of virology and Canada has lost that.”

Over a period of 13 months, though, the Chinese-Canadian microbiologist and her biologist husband’s lives were turned upside down.

She went from being feted at Ottawa’s Rideau Hall with a Governor-General’s Award in May, 2018, to being locked out of the Winnipeg lab in July, 2019 – the high-security facility where she had made her name as a scientist in Canada. By January, 2021, she and Mr. Cheng were fired.

Last month, after being pressed into explaining what happened, the Canadian government finally disclosed the reasons for this extraordinary dismissal: CSIS found the pair had lied about and hid their co-operation with China from Ottawa.

A big question remains following their departure: Why would Dr. Qiu risk her career, including the stature associated with developing an Ebola treatment, for China?

Read the rest here...

Tyler Durden Thu, 03/21/2024 - 18:40

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