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Quinn: We Are Trapped In ‘A Truman Show’ Directed By Psychopaths

Quinn: We Are Trapped In ‘A Truman Show’ Directed By Psychopaths

Authored by Jim Quinn via The Burning Platform blog,

“Whether in actual…

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Quinn: We Are Trapped In 'A Truman Show' Directed By Psychopaths

Authored by Jim Quinn via The Burning Platform blog,

“Whether in actual fact the policy of the boot-on-the-face can go on indefinitely seems doubtful. My own belief is that the ruling oligarchy will find less arduous and wasteful ways of governing and of satisfying its lust for power, and these ways will resemble those which I described in Brave New World. Within the next generation I believe that the world’s rulers will discover that infant conditioning and narco-hypnosis are more efficient, as instruments of government, than clubs and prisons, and that the lust for power can be just as completely satisfied by suggesting people into loving their servitude as by flogging and kicking them into obedience.” – Aldous Huxley – Letter to George Orwell about 1984 in 1949

“There will be, in the next generation or so, a pharmacological method of making people love their servitude, and producing dictatorship without tears, so to speak, producing a kind of painless concentration camp for entire societies, so that people will in fact have their liberties taken away from them, but will rather enjoy it, because they will be distracted from any desire to rebel by propaganda or brainwashing, or brainwashing enhanced by pharmacological methods. And this seems to be the final revolution” ― Aldous Huxley

When I step back from the day-to-day minutia and trivialities flooding my senses from all directions and media devices, it almost appears as if I’m living in a highly scripted reality TV program where the characters and plots are designed to create passions and reactions to support whatever narrative is being weaved by those directing the show. Huxley really did foresee the future as clearly and concisely as anyone could, decades before his dystopian vision came to fruition.

Orwell’s boot on the face vision is only now being initiated because a few too many critical thinkers have awoken from their pharmaceutically induced stupor and begun to question the plotline of this spectacle masquerading as our reality. The mass formation psychosis infecting the weak-minded masses; relentless mass propaganda designed to mislead, misinform, and brainwash a dumbed down and government indoctrinated populace; and complete control of the story line through media manipulation, regulation, and censorship of the truth; has run its course. As Charles Mackay stated 180 years ago, the masses go mad as a herd, but only regain their senses slowly, and one by one.

My recognition that the world seems to be scripted and directed by Machiavellian managers, working behind a dark shroud, representing an invisible governing authority, molding our minds, suggesting our ideas, dictating our tastes, and creating fear, triggered a recollection of the 1998 Jim Carrey movie – The Truman Show. The movie, directed by Peter Weir (Gallipoli, Witness, Dead Poet’s Society), had the surreal feel of Forest Gump, while beckoning the horrendous introduction of reality TV (Big Brother, Survivor), which poisons our shallow unserious society to this day. The plot of the movie focuses on individuality versus conformity, consumerism, voyeurism, reality versus manipulation, false narratives, the truth about the American Dream, and the dangers of surveillance in a technologically advanced society.

Truman Burbank is the unsuspecting star of The Truman Show, a reality television program filmed 24/7 through thousands of hidden cameras and broadcast to a worldwide audience. Christof, the show’s creator seeks to capture Truman’s authentic emotions and give audiences a relatable everyman. Truman has been the unsuspecting star of the show since he was born 30 years prior. Truman’s hometown of Seahaven Island is a complete set built within an enormous dome, populated by crew members and actors who highlight the product placements that generate revenue for the show. The elaborate set allows Christof to control almost every aspect of Truman’s life, including the weather. The picture-perfect home, with picket fence and plastic people, is an attempt to convince Truman he is living the American Dream rather than in an inescapable dystopian techno-prison.

To prevent Truman from discovering his false reality, Christof manufactures scenarios that dissuade Truman’s desire for exploration, such as the “death” of his father in a sea storm to instill aquaphobia, and by constantly broadcasting and printing messages of the dangers of traveling and the virtues of staying home. One cannot but acknowledge the plotline to keep Truman under control, obedient, and locked down in his controlled environment, with no escape hatch visible, as exactly the plotline used by our overlords during the Covid scam. Using fear to regulate your subjects is a familiar theme used by those controlling the narrative and pulling the strings behind the scenes of our glorious democracy of dystopia.

The first task was to instill fear into the masses through fake videos, fake medical experts spewing fake “facts”, denying the reality masks, social distancing, and locking down the world did not stop a microscopic virus, while suppressing treatments which were clearly safe and effective (ivermectin, hydroxychloroquine) and forcing Fauci’s remdesivir and ventilators on patients – insuring their deaths. Truman’s life was built upon lies, deception, and fake narratives, controlled by a tyrannical director putting on a show to please his bosses and maximize profits. We are experiencing the same reality today.

Since March 2020 we have been trapped in a dystopian reality show based on lies, deception, and fake narratives about a weaponized virus created in a lab funded by Anthony Fauci and utilized to further the totalitarian Great Reset agenda of Schwab, Gates and their ilk, while maximizing the profits of Pfizer, TV networks and filling the pockets of politicians, shills, and apparatchiks willing to sellout the people of our country for thirty pieces of silver.

As the Truman Show approached its 30th anniversary, Truman began discovering unusual elements, such as a spotlight falling out of the sky in front of his house and a radio channel that precisely described his movements. He began to awaken to the fact he was nothing but a peculiarity trapped in a cage and constantly deterred from escaping at every turn, for the good of the show. He lived in a scripted world of conformity, where questioning the plot was not allowed, and the masses just played their parts.

This is exactly how a dictatorship without tears uses technology, pharmaceuticals, and psychological manipulation to convince the masses to love their servitude. This is the reality show we have been living in during this 21st Century dictatorship dystopia of dunces. But this psychological phenomenon is not new to mankind, as Plato described an ancient Truman Show analog in the 6th Century with his Allegory of the Cave. The nature of human beings has not changed across the trials and tribulations of history.

In the allegory, Plato describes a group of people who have lived chained in a cave all their lives, facing a blank wall. The people watch shadows projected on the wall from objects passing in front of a fire behind them and give names to these shadows. The shadows are the prisoners’ reality but are not an accurate representation of the real world. An enlightened man is like a prisoner who is freed from the cave and comes to understand the shadows on the wall are not reality.

The ignorant inmates do not desire to leave their prison/cave, for it is the only life they know, and they fear reality. The fire and the puppets, used to create shadows, are controlled by artists. Plato indicates the fire is also the political doctrine taught by a nation state. The artists use light and shadows to indoctrinate the masses with the dominant doctrines of the times. Few humans ever escape the cave. Most humans will remain at the bottom of the cave, with a small few elevated as major artists, to project the shadows keeping the masses disoriented, confused and fearful.

“Whereas the truth is that the State in which the rulers are most reluctant to govern is always the best and most quietly governed, and the State in which they are most eager, the worst.” ― Plato, The Allegory of the Cave

“Most people are not just comfortable in their ignorance, but hostile to anyone who points it out.” ― Plato, The Allegory of the Cave

The State is run by an eager group of psychopaths who are hell bent on destroying our civil society and common culture on behalf of globalists attempting to implement their Great Reset agenda, and enforcing it through technological surveillance, mind control through propaganda messaging, and strict management of the daily plot via mainstream media and social media censorship of the truth. As Plato contemplated fifteen centuries ago, most men will remain in their cave, believing shadows presented by their overlords is reality, never questioning their servitude or seeking the truth.

Never has this fact been truer than during this covid pandemic reality show directed by our Christof – mass murderer Anthony Fauci. The willful ignorance of the masses was assumed by the covid controllers who cast shadows of fear and death on the cave walls of the locked down extras in this well-orchestrated reality show. Using a purposefully misleading PCR test to vastly overestimate “cases”, paying hospitals to classify all deaths as covid, and having the propaganda professionals at CNN, MSNBC and Fox showing Covid Death Counters on their screens 24/7 to terrify the masses into compliance was the Covid Show.

Once the fear level was ramped to eleven on the control dial, the producers of this show introduced the miraculous Big Pharma vaccine antidote to save the day. Their script was so believable they were able to convince over 5 billion members of their captive audience to inject themselves with an untested, unproven genetic therapy, that didn’t prevent you from catching, transmitting, getting sick, being hospitalized, or dying from the Fauci funded Wuhan lab produced virus. But, as a dramatic twist to the tale, it seems the “vaccine” causes myocarditis, blood clots, infertility, miscarriages, heart attacks, cancer, and sudden death.

Despite the obvious dangers and failures of these “vaccines”, those bullied into getting jabbed became so comfortable in their ignorance, they were easily persuaded to hate the unjabbed and wish for their deaths. Orwell’s “Two Minutes of Hate” was extended for over a year and continues to this day. Rather than think critically and question why annual flu cases averaged 35 million per year prior to 2020 but dropped to near ZERO during the covid “emergency”, the cave dwellers lashed out in anger at anyone questioning the plot, because to admit they were duped would destroy their self-esteem and decrease their virtue signal credits.

The annual flu didn’t disappear. Covid was the annual flu, with a multi-billion-dollar marketing campaign. This wasn’t a pandemic, but an IQ test, and most people failed miserably. But the critical thinking unvaxxed are still considered the enemy of the state, especially since they have been proven right.

Whether we are trapped in an artificial world produced in a dome, cave, or our current technologically advanced surveillance propaganda state, the goal of those controlling our false reality is to take away our freedoms, crush dissent, keep us ignorant of the truth, and treat us as plebs to be taxed and molded. Christof, whose name is supposed to invoke him being a god-like figure ruling over Truman’s world, declares Truman could discover the truth and leave at any time, while using every diabolical trick to keep that from ever happening, because his show generated revenues exceeding the GDP of a small country.

Truman and ourselves are essentially prisoners in a vast production, and our overlords believe it is their duty to convince us to love our servitude and prefer our cells, because it is financially beneficial to the overlords and their crew.

Our world is not fake, but it is tightly controlled by those running the show. Seemingly random events, plots, and subplots are manipulated to generate specific emotions and reactions by the public in order to achieve the objectives of those benefitting from the various storylines. They are molding our minds and forming our tastes through psychological and technological manipulation of our daily existence. Christof explained why most rarely discover the truth or question the world they live in – “We accept the reality of the world with which we’re presented. It’s as simple as that.”

We have allowed men we have never seen to dictate how we live our lives, the choices we make, and which politicians and “experts” to believe, without ever putting in the effort to understand why we are being prodded to do so. We are locked in a self-imposed prison of desires, emotions, and needs through mass media messaging and a constant barrage of advertisements. Conformity and obedience are the desired traits sought by the ruling class, while individuality and skepticism are frowned upon and punished through social ostracism.

We are conditioned from birth to believe what they tell us to believe. Government school indoctrination and mass media misinformation does the trick. Distracted by our techno-gadgets and ignorant of truth is how the globalist oligarchs methodically implement their Great Reset agenda. They are so convinced of the ignorance of the masses they openly proclaim their depopulation and techno-prison schemes with no fear of push back or retribution.

The ending of the Truman Show is a lesson in resistance, persistence, and the strength of the individual, even in the face of a technologically advanced Big Brother state. It offers a message of hope, no matter how powerful our overlords appear to be. Refusing to obey or conform by one individual can inspire others to do likewise. Once Truman ‘awoke’ to his plight as a lab rat in a scripted show, he began to plot his escape. Using a makeshift tunnel in his basement, out of view of Christof’s cameras, he disappeared and forced the suspension of the broadcast for the first time in thirty years.

Christof discovers Truman sailing away from Seahaven in a small boat, as he has overcome the fake conditioning of fear instilled in him by the man who supposedly loves him but traumatized him about the sea by faking his father’s death while at sea. Christof chooses to almost drown Truman by creating a violent storm to deter him from discovering the truth. Ultimately the storm ceases and his boat strikes the wall of the dome.

This is exactly how our controllers treat the ignorant masses. They feed us stories designed to make us fearful and compliant to the exhortations of their paid experts. Paid to lie. Paid to misinform. Paid to persuade people a dangerous concoction is “safe and effective”. The evilness of using Sesame Street characters to convince four-year-old children they need this Big Pharma gene altering toxic brew, even though essentially ZERO children on earth died from covid, is a testament to the greed and malevolent impulses of those in power. Vast amounts of ever-increasing advertising revenue are what kept The Truman Show on the air for thirty years.

The covid advertising campaign will never be topped, as Hollywood stars, top athletes, famous writers, rock legends, supposedly impartial journalists, and all the major networks said SHOW ME THE MONEY!!!! Everyone was for sale, and all they had to do was lie and say the jabs were “safe and effective”. Product placement was the money-making formula for the Truman Show, while hard selling a Big Pharma phony cure over the airwaves 24/7 using the tax dollars of the victims was the final solution of the Great Reset Cabal.

The grand finale is a clash of the philosophies of reality versus false reality, as Truman discovers a staircase leading to an exit door. Christof speaks to Truman, claiming there was no more truth in the real world than in his artificial world, and he would be safe, with nothing to fear, in a world controlled by men invisible to him assuring him they have his best interests at heart. Truman chooses individuality, truth, risk, living a real meaningful life, and seeking honest relationships over a safe existence in a bubble where all decisions were made by others. Truman bows to the audience and exits, leaving Chistof to mourn the loss of his star and the revenue he generated. The ignorant masses watching the show cheer his escape and then ask, “what’s on next?” Plato captured the uncertainty and bewilderment Truman must have felt as he walked into the light.

“Anyone who has common sense will remember that the bewilderments of the eyes are of two kinds, and arise from two causes, either from coming out of the light or from going into the light” ― Plato, The Allegory of the Cave

This world of manufactured dystopian pleasure harkens more towards Huxley’s Brave New World, where pharmaceuticals and conditioning would keep the public seeking pleasure, pre-occupied with trivialities, distracted by materialism, unable to think critically, and reduced to passivity and egoism through the control of messaging by their controllers. Our efficient totalitarian state has gained complete control by convincing the masses to love their servitude and beg for more rules, restrictions, and reduction of liberties in the name of safety and security.

Smart phones, smart cities, and smart streets are nothing more than code for spying on you and controlling you. Truman finally understood his liberty was his to choose and not Christof’s to give. There is a small minority of Americans who are realizing the same thing after two years of totalitarian measures designed to take away our freedoms and liberty. The question is whether enough will exit this tyrannical government produced show to make a difference. The future of mankind literally depends on the answer to this question.

“Liberties aren’t given, they are taken.” ― Aldous Huxley

“A really efficient totalitarian state would be one in which the all-powerful executive of political bosses and their army of managers control a population of slaves who do not have to be coerced, because they love their servitude.” ― Aldous Huxley, Brave New World

Just as those controlling the Truman Show were not doing it for Truman’s benefit, but for their enrichment, those controlling the puppet strings of our society today had no interest in our health over the last two years, our financial well-being, our psychological well-being, or the peaceful rational functioning of our civilization. They have no interest in securing our border, reducing crime, holding fair elections, promoting peaceful solutions to global conflict, or allowing the truth to reach the masses. Their agenda has been and continues to be, the destruction of our civilized society, obliteration of our core standards and norms, depopulation of the planet, confiscation of our wealth, and ultimately our enslavement through technological shackles and chains.

As Huxley noted decades ago, technology has just provided our civilization with a more efficient means of going backwards. Technology is being used by our controllers to monitor our movements, communications, and to surveil, distract, and amuse us to death. It is no longer a force for good, but a means to control us. They plan to use technology to disarm their citizens through increasingly authoritarian regulations, sold as keeping us safe from mass shooters.

Their climate agenda isn’t about the climate, but about complete control of the masses. When government and their social media attack dogs monitor the citizens for “hate speech and misinformation”, and dole out retribution at their whim, our system is profoundly broken and extremely warped. They are supposed to answer to us. But these megalomaniacs have much bigger agenda.

We’ve lost all sense of reality, reason, and truth in a profoundly abnormal world, created by those we allowed to ascend to power through the control and influence of shadowy globalist billionaires operating as an invisible government, with Deep State apparatchiks doing the dirty work. Schwab, Gates, Soros, the World Economic Forum, and whoever hides in the shadows behind these psychopaths, intend to control the entire world and steal all the wealth because they believe they are smarter, more ruthless, and know what’s best for the lowly peasants polluting their satanic playground planet.

They know facts can be ignored when they’ve conditioned the masses to be willfully ignorant. They know they can lie without implications, but even more powerful, they can stay silent about the truth through censorship, suppression, and cancellation of truth tellers. The adaptation of the masses to this abnormal society, created by evil power-seeking men, is a form of mental illness – or as documented by Mattias Desmet in his book The Psychology of Totalitarianism – Mass Formation Psychosis.

 “The real hopeless victims of mental illness are to be found among those who appear to be most normal. Many of them are normal because they are so well adjusted to our mode of existence, because their human voice has been silenced so early in their lives that they do not even struggle or suffer or develop symptoms as the neurotic does. They are normal not in what may be called the absolute sense of the word; they are normal only in relation to a profoundly abnormal society. Their perfect adjustment to that abnormal society is a measure of their mental sickness. These millions of abnormally normal people, living without fuss in a society to which, if they were fully human beings, they ought not to be adjusted.” ― Aldous Huxley, Brave New World Revisited

I know I will never adapt or adjust to this abnormal society. We certainly can’t change a system, so thoroughly rigged and controlled (e.g., 2022 Arizona election and the 2020 presidential election), through traditional means. Those in control can easily buy-off our politicians, scientists, doctors, academics, TV personalities, and journalists to spin whatever web they choose, enabling their despicable anti-human agenda of deviancy. The only viable solution is the individual solution of walking away from this phony world like Truman.

Armed revolution is a non-starter, as the oligarchs have far more firepower, and the dissenters are unorganized and scattered. A form of ‘Irish Democracy’ where a silent dogged resistance, marked by the withdrawal from society, belligerence to authority and non-compliance with government dictates by millions of ordinary people would accomplish far more than rioting and armed revolution. Millions have already practiced a form of Irish Democracy by not masking, not social distancing, not getting jabbed, and taking control of their own health decisions.

They have almost sealed the escape hatch in this dystopian paradise of pleasure and pain. They know their techniques of control through fear work like a charm. Their final task to achieve total control is central bank digital currencies (CBDC), where everything we buy and sell is tracked digitally, so taxes can be levied, your life tracked, and if you choose to dissent from government directives, your ability to utilize CBDCs will be turned off. Micro-chipping us is next on the agenda.

We need to reduce our tax and digital footprint now. It might seem hopeless in going to battle against these vile, vindictive vermin, but the solution is to not play. Many have already walked away from the modern world, taking to the country – farming, homesteading, bartering, and only giving to Caesar the bare minimum. They’ve chosen a hard, but a far more fulfilling life.

The more people who disassociate from their fake world, the weaker they get. As their hold on our lives weakens, they will lash out. This is why it is important to be armed. Direct armed confrontation with the establishment’s forces is foolish, but guerrilla tactics on land you know would start to eat away at the morale of the paid police thugs sent to enforce their dictates. The beast isn’t as strong as it portrays. It’s broke and its empire of debt is crumbling.

If millions walk out the exit door, the beast will begin to starve and eventually die. Maybe a new, less complex, smaller, more community-oriented society could be born from the ashes. Tribe up with like-minded individuals with different skills, if possible. There is hope if enough patriots decide to regain their senses and walk away from this abnormal society, leaving our totalitarian Christofs to wallow in their failure to control the truly awoken.

“Do not let the hero in your soul parish, in lonely frustration, for the life you deserved but never have been able to reach. Check your road and the nature of your battle. The world you desired can be won. It exists, it is real, it is possible, it is yours.” ― Ayn Rand, Atlas Shrugged

*  *  *
It is my sincere desire to provide readers of The Burning Platform with the best unbiased information available, and a forum where it can be discussed openly, as our Founders intended. But it is not easy nor inexpensive to do so, especially when those who wish to prevent us from making the truth known, attack us without mercy on all fronts on a daily basis. So each time you visit the site, I would ask that you consider the value that you receive and have received from The Burning Platform and the community of which you are a vital part. I can't do it all alone, and I need your help and support to keep it alive. Please consider contributing an amount commensurate to the value that you receive from this site and community, or even by becoming a sustaining supporter through periodic contributions.

Tyler Durden Fri, 12/02/2022 - 16:25

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International

Your Lululemon Faves May Not be Around for Long

A sportswear giant is accusing lululemon of patent infringement.

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A sportswear giant is accusing lululemon of patent infringement.

The Gucci loafers. The Burberry  (BBRYF) trench coat. When it comes to fashion, having a unique design is everything. This is why brands spend millions both creating and protecting their signature looks and the reason, as in the case of Adidas  (ADDDF) , extricating a brand's design from creators who behave badly is a costly and difficult process.

There is also the constant effort to release new styles without infringing on another group's style. This week, sportswear giant Nike  (NKE) - Get Free Report filed a lawsuit accusing lululemon  (LULU) - Get Free Report of infringing on its patents in the shoe line that the Vancouver-based activewear company launched last spring.

After years of selling exclusively clothing, accessories and the odd yoga mat, lululemon expanded into the world of footwear with a running shoe it dubbed Blissfeel last March. These were soon followed by training shoe and pool slide styles known as Chargefeel, Strongfeel -- all three of the designs (including a Chargefeel Low and a Chargefeel Mid design) have been mentioned in the lawsuit as causing "economic harm and irreparable injury" to Nike.

Nike's History Of Suing Lululemon Over Design

The specific issue lies in the technology used to build the shoes. According to the lawsuit filed in Manhattan federal court, certain knitted elements, webbing and tubular structures are too similar to ones that had been used by Nike earlier.

Nike is keeping the amount it hopes to receive from lululemon under wraps but is insisting the company infringed on its patent when releasing a shoe line too similar to its own. Lululemon had previously talked about how its shoe line "far exceeded" its leaders' expectations both in terms of sales and ability to expand.

In a Q1 earnings call, chief executive Calvin McDonald said that the line "definitely had a lot more demand than we anticipated."

Nike has already tried to go after lululemon through the courts once before. In January 2022, it accused the company of infringing on six patents over its at-home Mirror Home Gym. As the world emerged out of the pandemic, lululemon has been billing it as a hybrid model between at-home and in-person classes. 

The lawsuit was also filed in the U.S. District Court in Manhattan but ultimately fizzled out.

When it comes to the shoe line lawsuit, Lululemon has been telling media outlets that "Nike's claims are unjustified" and the company "look[s] forward to proving [their] case in court."

Lululemon

Some More Examples Of Prominent Design Battles

In the fashion industry, design infringement accusations are common and rarely lead to high-profile rulings. While Nike has gone after the technology itself in both cases, lawsuits more often focus on the style or pattern on a given piece.

Shein, a China-based fast-fashion company that took on longtime leaders like H&M  (HNNMY)  and Fast Retailing  (FRCOF) 's Uniqlo with its bottom-of-the-barrel pricing, has faced numerous allegations from smaller and independent designers over the copying of designs -- in some cases not even from fashion designers but artists painting in local communities.

"They didn't remotely bother trying to change anything," U.K.-based artist Vanessa Bowman told the Guardian after seeing her painting of a local church appear on a sweater on Shein's website. "The things I paint are my garden and my little village: it’s my life. And they’ve just taken my world to China and whacked it on an acrylic jumper."

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Government

McDonalds President Says It Might Be ‘Impossible’ to Operate in These Key States

The Fast Food Accountability and Standards Recovery Act is ruffling fast-food industry feathers.

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The Fast Food Accountability and Standards Recovery Act is ruffling fast-food industry feathers.

While the pandemic accelerated both discussions and movement of businesses, talk of how California's high tax rates and liberal leadership has made it "impossible" to do business in the state is anything but new. So are alarm-raising statements about how big business is fleeing the Golden State en masse.

In 1933, one state official wrote that "if we set up a tax on one of their supercolossal $7,000,000 productions, [the movie industry] would no doubt transfer their operations to" Florida. Similar fears of a business exodus to Nevada pushed local legislators to give a property tax break to equipment manufacturers in the 1960s.

More recently, Elon Musk told the audience at the All In Summit in Miami that the Golden State had "gone from a land of opportunity to the land of taxes, over-regulation and litigation." He had earlier moved the Tesla  (TSLA) - Get Free Report offices from the Silicon Valley to Austin, Texas at the end of 2021.

This Is What McDonald's Has Against California

While discussions around the tech exodus took place throughout much of 2020 and 2021, a new discussion has begun around an industry that exists in every state in the country: the fast food business.

In the fall of 2022, the state passed what shortens to the FAST bill -- the Fast Food Accountability and Standards Recovery Act could require fast-food restaurants to pay workers up a minimum wage of $22 an hour with an annual raise of 3.5%.

While initially passed, the law has faced significant pushback both from the industry and local voters. A referendum vote has been set to November 2024 and implementation is blocked until that takes place.

Industry leaders have predictably been very vocal against the law. In an open letter from January 25, McDonald's USA President Joe Erlinger wrote that it "makes it all but impossible to run small business restaurants."

"Under the FAST Act, an unelected council of political insiders, not local business owners and their teams, would make big decisions about crucial elements of running a business, fracturing the economy in the process," Erlinger wrote while adding that paying fast-food workers such a wage could raise the cost of eating at a McDonald's by as much as 20%.

Justin Sullivan/Getty Images

Another State's Worker Movement Is Also Causing A Headache For McDonald's

While California has led the pack with fast-food worker protection movements, Virginia followed with a similar bill just six months later. This month, it introduced Virginia's House Bill 2478.

While not committed to a specific minimum wage, the passed law would require a council of state legislators, elected officials, industry representatives and fast-food workers to get together and regularly oversee worker conditions and compensation.

With both a Republican governor and Republican-controlled house, the bill is extremely unlikely to pass in Virginia in the near future. That said, it still managed to ruffle the feathers of McDonald's leadership -- in the same open letter, Erlinger also takes aim at Bill 2478 as an example of what can happen if California sets an example and, in his words, "this one-sided style of democracy is mimicked elsewhere."

"Just last week, a Virginia legislator imported from California introduced a near-identical piece of legislation that state leaders now have an opportunity to stop in its tracks," Erlinger wrote. "And no doubt, they'll keep looking for backdoors in California."

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Government

EY Eyes Comeback for Biopharma M&A

EY noted that the total value of biopharma M&A in 2022 was $88 billion, down 15% from $104 billion in 2021. The $88 billion accounted for most of the…

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A recent trickle of mergers and acquisitions (M&A) announcements in the billion-dollar-and-up range suggests that biopharma may be ready to resume dealmaking this year—although the value and number of deals isn’t expected to return to the highs seen just before the pandemic.

2022 ended with a handful of 10- and 11-figure M&A deals, led by Amgen’s $27.8 billion buyout of Horizon Therapeutics, announced December 13. The dealmaking continued into January with three buyouts announced on the first day of the recent J.P. Morgan Healthcare Conference: AstraZeneca agreed to acquire CinCor Pharma for up to $1.8 billion, while Chiesi Farmaceutici agreed to shell out up to $1.48 billion cash for Amryt, and Ipsen Group said it will purchase Albireo Pharma for $952 million-plus.

Biopharmas generated about $88 billion in M&A deals in 2022, down 15% from $104 billion in 2021. The $88 billion accounted for most of the $135 billion in 124 deals in the life sciences. The number of biopharma deals fell 17%, to 75 deals from 90. The other 49 deals totaling $47 million consisted of transactions in “medtech,” which includes diagnostics developers and companies specializing in “virtual health” such as telemedicine. [EY]
EY—the professional services firm originally known as Ernst & Young—recently noted that the total value of biopharma M&A in 2022 was $88 billion, down 15% from $104 billion in 2021 [See Chart]. The $88 billion accounted for most of the $135 billion in 124 deals in the life sciences. That $135 billion figure is less than half the record-high $313 billion recorded in 2019, including $261 billion in 70 biopharma deals.

The number of biopharma deals fell 17% to 75 deals from 90. EY’s numbers include only deals greater than $100 million. The other 49 deals totaling $47 million consisted of transactions in “medtech,” which includes diagnostics developers and companies specializing in “virtual health” such as telemedicine.

We expect this to be a more active year as the sentiment starts to normalize a little bit,” Subin Baral, EY Global Life Sciences Deals Leader, told GEN Edge.

Baral is not alone in foreseeing a comeback for biopharma M&A.

John Newman, PhD, an analyst with Canaccord Genuity, predicted last week in a research note that biopharma companies will pursue a growing number of smaller cash deals in the range of $1 billion to $10 billion this year. He said rising interest rates are discouraging companies from taking on larger blockbuster deals that require buyers to take on larger sums of debt.

“We look for narrowing credit spreads and lower interest rates to encourage larger M&A ($50 billion and more) deals. We do not anticipate many $50B+ deals that could move the XBI +5%,” Newman said. (XBI is the SPDR S&P Biotech Electronic Transfer Fund, one of several large ETFs whose fluctuations reflect investor enthusiasm for biopharma stock.)

Newman added: “We continue to expect a biotech swell in 2023 that may become an M&A wave if credit conditions improve.”

Foreseeing larger deals than Newman and Canaccord Genuity is PwC, which in a commentary this month predicted: “Biotech deals in the $5–15 billion range will be prevalent and will require a different set of strategies and market-leading capabilities across the M&A cycle.”

Those capabilities include leadership within a specific therapeutic category, for which companies will have to buy and sell assets: “Prepared management teams that divest businesses that are subscale while doubling down on areas where leadership position and the right to win is tangible, may be positioned to deliver superior returns,” Glenn Hunzinger, PwC’s U.S. Pharma & Life Science Leader, and colleagues asserted.

The Right deals

Rising interest and narrowing credit partially explain the drop-off in deals during 2022, EY’s Baral said. Another reason was sellers adjusting to the drop in deal valuations that resulted from the decline of the markets which started late in 2021.

Subin Baral, EY Global Life Sciences Deals Leader

“It took a little bit longer to realize the reality of the market conditions on the seller side. But on the buyer side, the deals that they were looking at were not just simply a valuation issue. They were looking at the quality of the assets. And you can see that the quality deals—the right deals, as we call them—are still getting done,” Baral said.

The right deals, according to Baral, are those in which buyers have found takeover targets with a strong, credible management team, solid clinical data, and a clear therapeutic focus.

“Rare disease and oncology assets are still dominating the deal making, particularly oncology because your addressable market continues to grow,” Baral said. “Unfortunately, what that means is the patient population is growing too, so there’s this increased unmet need for that portfolio of assets.”

Several of 2022’s largest M&A deals fit into that “right” category, Baral said—including Amgen-Horizon, Pfizer’s $11.6-billion purchase of Biohaven Pharmaceuticals and the $6.7-billion purchase of Arena Pharmaceuticals (completed in March 2022); and Bristol-Myers Squibb’s $4.1-billion buyout of Turning Point Therapeutics.

“Quality companies are still getting funded one way or the other. So, while the valuation dropped, people were all expecting a flurry of deals because they are still companies with a shorter runway of cash that will be running to do deals. But that really didn’t happen from a buyer perspective,” Baral said. “The market moved a little bit from what was a seller’s market for a long time, to what we would like to think of as the pendulum swinging towards a buyers’ market.”

Most biopharma M&A deals, he said, will be “bolt-on” acquisitions in which a buyer aims to fill a gap in its clinical pipeline or portfolio of marketed drugs through purchases that account for less than 25% of a buyer’s market capitalization.

Baral noted that a growing number of biopharma buyers are acquiring companies with which they have partnered for several years on drug discovery and/or development collaborations. Pfizer acquired BioHaven six months after agreeing to pay the company up to $1.24 billion to commercialize rimegepant outside the U.S., where the migraine drug is marketed as Nurtec® ODT.

“There were already some kind of relationships there before these deals actually happened. But that also gives an indication that there are some insights to these targets ahead of time for these companies to feel increasingly comfortable, and pay the valuation that they’re paying for them,” Baral said.

$1.4 Trillion available

Baral sees several reasons for increased M&A activity in 2023. First, the 25 biopharma giants analyzed by EY had $1.427 trillion available as of November 30, 2022, for M&A in “firepower”—which EY defines as a company’s capacity to carry out M&A deals based on the strength of its balance sheet, specifically the amount of capital available for M&A deals from sources that include cash and equivalents, existing debt, and market cap.

That firepower is up 11% from 2021, and surpasses the previous record of $1.22 trillion in 2014, the first year that EY measured the available M&A capital of large biopharmas.

Unlike recent years, Baral said, biopharma giants are more likely to deploy that capital on M&A this year to close the “growth gap” expected to occur over the next five years as numerous blockbuster drugs lose patent exclusivity and face new competition from lower-cost generic drugs and biosimilars.

“There is not enough R&D in their pipeline to replenish a lot of their revenue. And this growth gap is coming between 2024 and 2026. So, they don’t have a long runway to watch and stay on the sidelines,” Baral said.

This explains buyers’ interest in replenishing pipelines with new and innovative treatments from smaller biopharmas, he continued. Many smaller biopharmas are open to being acquired because declining valuations and limited cash runways have increased investor pressure on them to exit via M&A. The decline of the capital markets has touched off dramatic slowdowns in two avenues through which biopharmas have gone public in recent years—initial public offerings (IPOs) and special purpose acquisition companies (SPACs).

EY recorded just 17 IPOs being priced in the U.S. and Europe, down 89% from 158 a year earlier. The largest IPO of 2022 was Prime Medicine’s initial offering, which raised $180.3 million in net proceeds for the developer of a “search and replace” gene editing platform.

Another 12 biopharmas agreed to SPAC mergers with blank-check companies, according to EY, with the largest announced transaction (yet to close at deadline) being the planned $899 million merger of cancer drug developer Apollomics with Maxpro Capital Acquisition.

“For the smaller players, the target biotech companies, their alternate source of access to capital pathways such as IPOs and SPACs is shutting down on them. So how would the biotech companies continue to fund themselves? Those with quality assets are still getting funded through venture capital or other forms of capital,” Baral said. “But in general, there is not a lot of appetite for the biotech that is taking that risk.

Figures from EY show a 37% year-to-year decline in the total value of U.S. and European VC deals, to $16.88 billion in 2022 from $26.62 billion in 2021. Late-stage financing rounds accounted for just 31% of last year’s VC deals, down from 34% in 2021 and 58% in 2012. The number of VC deals in the U.S. and Europe fell 18%, to 761 last year from 930 in 2021.

The decline in VC financing helps explain why many smaller biopharmas are operating with cash “runways” of less than 12 months. “Depending on the robustness of their data, their therapeutic area, and their management, there will be a natural attrition. Some of these companies will just have to wind down,” Baral added.

M&A headwinds

Baral also acknowledged some headwinds that are likely to dampen the pace of M&A activity. In addition to rising interest rates and inflation increasing the cost of capital, valuations remain high for the most sought-after drugs, platforms, and other assets—a result of growing and continuing innovation.

Another headwind is growing regulatory scrutiny of the largest deals. Illumina’s $8 billion purchase of cancer blood test developer Grail has faced more than two years of challenges from the U.S. Federal Trade Commission and especially the European Commission—while Congress acted last year to begin curbing the price of prescription drugs and insulin through the “Inflation Reduction Act.”

Those headwinds may prompt many companies to place greater strategic priority on collaborations and partnerships instead of M&A, Baral predicted, since they offer buyers early access to newer technologies before deciding whether to invest more capital through a merger or acquisition.

“Early-stage collaboration, early minority-stake investment becomes increasingly important, and it has been a cornerstone for early access to these technologies for the industry for a long, long time, and that is not changing any time soon,” Baral said. “On the other hand, even on the therapeutic area side, early-stage development is still expensive to do in-house for the large biopharma companies because of their cost structure.

“So, it is efficient cost-wise and speed-wise to buy these assets when they reach a certain point, which is probably at Phase II onward, and then you can pull the trigger on acquisitions if needed,” he added.

The post EY Eyes Comeback for Biopharma M&A appeared first on GEN - Genetic Engineering and Biotechnology News.

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