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Takeda oncology vet drills down the ‘basics’ at cell therapy startup; Sarepta promotes new R&D chief

Kathryn Corzo
Kathryn Corzo — an oncology veteran and the program head behind Sanofi’s multiple myeloma monoclonal antibody isatuximab — is now in the C-suite.
The newest member at cell therapy player as their COO, the longtime drug developer…



Kathryn Corzo

Kathryn Corzo — an oncology veteran and the program head behind Sanofi’s multiple myeloma monoclonal antibody isatuximab — is now in the C-suite.

The newest member at cell therapy player as their COO, the longtime drug developer left Takeda (where she served, in turn, as the head of oncology cell therapy and then a partner in its venture arm) to join the small biotech. For Corzo, presented a unique opportunity to try and solve issues that had been plaguing cell therapy — and one of the three reasons why she left Takeda.

Aside from’s cell coding platforms and “their ability to pretty much target any human cell,” according to Corzo, she left Takeda to both leverage her experience in drug development and build upon skills that she learned at MIT just a few years prior, while getting her MBA.

Corzo’s journey into the world of biotech and medicine began early in life — born into a family of engineers. And it was when she was growing up that she realized the importance of problem solving, alongside a keen interest in math and science.

But her passion for oncology and cancer therapy really started to come into view when a family member was diagnosed with cancer — Hodgkin’s lymphoma.

“And I saw that individual go through treatment, and really, really suffer through treatment. Now, the positive outcome is that he’s in remission. He has lived his life, and he is doing extremely well. But that, for me, galvanized my interest in working to develop new cancer therapies,” Corzo told Endpoints News.

After she graduated from the Massachusetts College of Pharmacy and Health Sciences in the mid 1980s, she then went on to work with several notable biotechs, including Roche, Eli Lilly, Sanofi and Takeda before joining

And while at Sanofi, 28 years into her professional career, Corzo decided to go to MIT and get her MBA in 2017, finishing the program two years later.

Corzo joined on Nov. 1, the same week announced its $103 million Series B raise — alongside some impressive names joining’s board. The pitch revolved around a gene engineering approach that enables the company to produce any number of batches of any human cell for research, drug discovery and therapeutic purposes.

With the new cash, Corzo said there is a ton of opportunity to go into different indications with’s current platform — so over the next few months, will be working on prioritizing where the company wants to go in its portfolio.

In her first few weeks at, Corzo has focused on the basics, as she called it, to get the ball rolling. Those “basics” are decently expansive, such as figuring out’s “key priorities,” what they can deliver in the next six to 24 months, and how can expand more into cell therapy. According to Corzo, that’s just step one.

Number two? Getting to build out what it still needs. is working on setting up a project management office, Corzo said — to “not only define the [’s] strategy, but we can drill that down and execute on the strategy we’re looking at.” And with the biotech currently headquartered in Cambridge in the UK, the biotech is also looking at if they need a footprint in the US, should decide to expand.

And the third thing? Partnerships. Corzo emphasized how important they are to small biotechs, but remained mum on any negotiations or talks with other companies to partner with

Paul Schloesser

Louise Rodino-Klapac

Sarepta R&D chief Gilmore O’Neill is on his way out at the end of the month, paving the way for Louise Rodino-Klapac to slide into his job while remaining CSO of the Duchenne biotech. In February, the FDA approved Sarepta’s third DMD drug, Amondys 45, without much fanfare. And after a failed study of its gene therapy SRP-9001-102, Sarepta declared itself back in the game with safety results from 103 that it revealed in May to catapult the drug into Phase III. Rodino-Klapac was elevated to CSO in a December 2020 staff reshuffling that included Ian Estepan moving to CFO. In other Sarepta news, Merck board member and Caltech biology and chemistry professor Stephen Mayo has joined the board of directors.

Mike Grey

Mike Grey has jumped back into the fold as a CEO once again, stepping in at San Francisco’s Spruce Biosciences on an interim basis. Richard King, Spruce’s CEO since 2019, has announced his retirement and will be a strategic advisor until the end of the year. Grey, the chairman at Spruce since 2017, chairs the board at two other companies he’s helmed, Mirum Pharmaceuticals and Reneo Pharmaceuticals. He’s also chairman at Plexium, which just named AstellasPercival Barretto-Ko as CEO, and is on the board of directors at Horizon.

That’s not all: Pamela Wedel, the former SVP of clinical operations at another biotech where Grey has been chief executive — Amplyx — has been appointed VP of development operations. Spruce, part of the IPO avalanche of 2020, is continuing development of its drug for classic congenital adrenal hyperplasia (CAH), tildacerfont.

Jakob Lindberg

→ This week in “meet the new boss, same as the old boss” (non-Robert Califf division), Jakob Lindberg returns as CEO of Oncopeptides after leading the company from 2011-20. Lindberg takes over from Marty Duvall, whose die was cast last month when multiple myeloma drug Pepaxto was yanked from the US market, decimating the stock. Duvall — formerly CEO of Tocagen, the brain cancer biotech that merged with Forte Biosciences — had only been chief executive at Oncopeptides since July 1, 2020, at which point Lindberg slid into the CSO post.

Al Sandrock

→ When aducanumab was approved in June — cause for celebration under normal circumstances — the groundswell of controversy kicked in almost immediately. From industry analysts to FDA adcomm members resigning in protest, the big biotech has faced strong headwinds from the get-go. Now coupled with a rocky rollout, marked by a steep price tag and major insurers telling Biogen they may not even cover the drug, Al Sandrock has decided to retire as R&D chief beginning Dec. 31. Timing is everything, so the saying goes, and the timing of this surprise move only adds to the shadow Aduhelm has cast.

Priya Singhal

Sandrock, a 23-year Biogen vet who had led R&D since October 2019 and was CMO from 2012-20, hands the baton to Priya Singhal — Biogen’s head of global safety and regulatory sciences — on an interim basis. And the pushback doesn’t appear it will slow down any time soon: On Wednesday, two days after the Sandrock announcement, an EMA panel handed Biogen a “negative trend vote” on its marketing application in the region.

Pfizer’s C-suite continues to be in a state of flux with the retirement of CFO Frank D’Amelio after 14 years on the job. D’Amelio is leaving Pfizer in exceptionally strong shape, as the pharma giant and BioNTech expect a $36 billion windfall from the Covid-19 vaccine and sales for its antiviral pill, Paxlovid, are projected to reach somewhere between $15 billion and $25 billion.

Frank D’Amelio

D’Amelio, who’s also been EVP of global supply, will be replaced in this capacity by Mike McDermott, whose title will be tweaked to chief global supply officer starting Jan. 1. McDermott, Pfizer’s president of global supply since 2019, began his Pfizer career in 2003 as the head of Wyeth’s biotech manufacturing operations in Pearl River, NY. D’Amelio joins CMO Mace Rothenberg, CBO John Young and chief development officer Rod MacKenzie as major execs who have left or are preparing to leave Pfizer.

→ While on the hunt to prove the next big I/O target, Immunitas’ chief dealmaker Amanda Wagner has taken over the reins from former Akcea COO Jeffrey Goldberg as CEO. Wagner’s promotion from her CBO post comes on the heels of the company’s recent close of a $58 million round. Wagner’s start to her biopharma career began at Concert Pharmaceuticals, where she spent a decade as VP, business development & product strategy. From there, Wagner moved to Altas Venture as VP, corporate & business development and later consulted for the Longwood Fund in 2019.

Heidi Hagen

→ It’s good to be Heidi Hagen this week: Not only has she signed on to Jeff Bluestone’s cell therapy play Sonoma Biotherapeutics as chief technical officer, she’s also taken a seat on the board of directors at Obsidian Therapeutics. Hagen, who held the interim CEO role at Ziopharm Oncology after the sturm und drang of the activist attack, co-founded and was chief strategy officer for Vineti until she replaced Laurence Cooper in February. She’s also spent 10 years at Dendreon and served as the Provenge maker’s SVP of operations.

Young Kwon

→ With ex-Ra Pharmaceuticals CEO Doug Treco at the controls, Alchemab Therapeutics has picked up Young Kwon as chief financial and operating officer. After five years at Biogen, Kwon joined Momenta in 2011, rising to CBO and later chief financial and business officer in early 2020. Then, J&J purchased Momenta last summer, with Kwon playing a crucial role in the negotiations. In our Amber Tong’s play-by-play of the $6.5 billion buyout, Kwon and Momenta CEO Craig Wheeler “had been trying cautiously to snatch a better deal from J&J. The offer price from the initial proposal, they said, was insufficient — and ‘limited high-priority diligence’ might help them prove the case.” You can refresh your memory on the sale here.

Darrin Miles

Darrin Miles is decamping from Agios “to pursue a chief executive officer role at a private biotechnology company,” and on Dec. 6, Jackie Fouse’s crew has lined up Richa Poddar to replace Miles as chief commercial officer. An eight-year Roche/Genentech vet, Poddar has filled numerous positions at Agios in the last five years, and in August she was promoted to SVP, head of corporate strategy and business development. Back in December 2020, Agios completely reversed course from cancer to focus on mitapivat, a pyruvate kinase R (PKR) activator for hemolytic anemias that secured a Feb. 17, 2022 PDUFA date.

Rachel Zolot Schwartz

→ One of Agios’ co-founders is future Dana-Farber faculty member Lewis Cantley, who also co-founded Volastra, the New York cancer biotech that added some extra punch by announcing a partnership with Microsoft alongside a Series A in April. This week Volastra has a huge batch of appointments as Scott Drutman (head of translational science) and Rachel Zolot Schwartz (head of business development and commercial) get things rolling. Drutman hails from Regeneron, where he was a director in oncology clinical development, while Schwartz spent six years at Pfizer in various capacities — as a senior director of business development in oncology, she was a key cog in Pfizer’s 2019 acquisition of Array BioPharma.

Elsewhere at Volastra, the roster of scientific execs under CSO Michael Su has been finalized: Sarah Bettigole, VP, immunology; Derek Cogan, VP, chemistry; Christina Eng, VP, biology; Al Swiston, VP, head of data science; and Rumin Zhang, VP, head of biochemistry.

Jenny Marlowe

→ Frequent Peer Review dweller AavantiBio has selected Jenny Marlowe to be CSO as bluebird bio loses another exec following a split into two companies that officially took effect this month. Marlowe was bluebird’s beta thalassemia program lead and VP, preclinical & translational development after a decade in investigative toxicology and preclinical safety with Novartis. AavantiBio CEO Bo Cumbo has methodically filled positions at the gene therapy upstart that we’ve covered since its October 2020 launch, naming a CFO, CMO, COO and several others over the last eight months.

Teri Loxam

Teri Loxam will juggle the dual roles of CFO and COO at immune-mediated disease biotech Kira Pharmaceuticals, which debuted last November and is led by ex-Sienna Biopharmaceuticals CEO Frederick Beddingfield. After working in investor relations with Bristol Myers Squibb and Merck, Loxam took the CFO job at SQZ Biotechnologies and had been there since 2019. Loxam was also on our radar in September when VaxCyte added her to the board of directors.

Ann Neale

→ Rescuing an old Amgen drug out of mothballs to target muscle aging, Bay Area anti-aging upstart BioAge Labs has nabbed Dov Goldstein as CFO and Ann Neale as chief development officer. We had Goldstein in this space last year when he became chief financial and business officer at Indapta Therapeutics — the former Loxo Oncology CFO also resides on the board of directors at Gain Therapeutics, Neubase Therapeutics and Coya Therapeutics. Neale comes to BioAge after a three-year stay at Principia, where she was SVP of development operations after a lightning-fast turn as Science 37’s SVP, clinical operations and patient affairs.

→ Co-founded by George Church and developing protein therapeutics from non-standard amino acids (NSAAs), GRO Biosciences scored a Series A earlier this month with an assist from Leaps by Bayer and this week has named Tad Stewart CBO. During more than 15 years at Merrimack, Stewart was SVP of business development and head of commercial, and since 2019 he had served as CBO of Ribon Therapeutics.

Nancy Whiting

→ As mentioned alongside a $60 million Series A round, Recludix Pharma has snagged Seagen vet Nancy Whiting as CEO. Whiting, a 15-year vet of Seagen, most recently served as EVP of corporate strategy. Prior to that, Whiting was Seagen’s EVP of late-stage development, SVP of clinical development and medical affairs and head of experimental medicine. During her time at Seagen, Whiting was instrumental in the development of Adcetris for lymphoma, Padcev for bladder cancer, Tukysa for breast cancer and Tivdak for cervical cancer. Whiting currently sits on the board of Caribou Sciences.

Penrose TherapeuTx has bagged David Sherris as president and CEO. Sherris brings with him experience from his roles at Serono, Centocor, Unilever Research and Mateon Therapeutics. Prior to his newest C-suite role, Sherris was CEO of GenAdam Therapeutics, Paloma Pharmaceuticals and VasculoMedics.

Marguerite Hutchinson

→ South San Francisco-based Frontier Medicines, trying to nudge into the KRAS sweepstakes after Amgen’s milestone approval of Lumakras, has $88.5 million in Series B cash in the bank and a new CBO in Marguerite Hutchinson. She began her time at Plexxikon as senior director, business development in 2013, rising to COO and general counsel this summer before making the switch to Frontier, which signed a protein degradation deal in December 2020 with AbbVie for $55 million upfront.

Puneet Arora

→ Backed by Frazier Healthcare Partners and taking aim at IL-11, San Diego-based Lassen Therapeutics has welcomed Puneet Arora as CMO. After nearly eight years at Genentech, Arora jumped to Principia in 2019, and when Sanofi forked over $3.7 billion for the company last summer, he became the French pharma’s head of clinical, inflammation and immunology. A month ago, Lassen made room for Magenta CSO and head of research Lisa Olson on the board of directors.

Kristen Harrington-Smith

Kristen Harrington-Smith is on board as chief commercial officer at ADC player ImmunoGen, seeking redemption with IMGN632 in relapsed or refractory blastic plasmacytoid dendritic cell neoplasm after the FDA’s smackdown of mirvetuximab soravtansine in Phase III. Harrington-Smith concludes a 21-year run at Novartis that saw her take on an assortment of roles — since March 2020 she had been the pharma giant’s US commercial head of hematology. More from ImmunoGen: Ex-Sanofi Genzyme head of legal and current Blueprint Medicines chief legal and compliance officer Tracey McCain has joined the board of directors.

→ University of Texas spinout Dolormics has named Chris Flores as president and chief research and development officer. Flores joins after a 19-year stint at J&J, where he served in a number of positions, including VP of neuroscience, La Jolla R&D site head and global external innovation head of discovery sciences at Janssen Research & Development, to name a few.

Trishna Goswami

Trishna Goswami has taken on the role of CMO at IN8bio, the NY-based biotech that just last week postponed its IPO plans. Most recently, Goswami was VP, clinical development at Immunomedics and continued as an exec at Gilead after the buyout. She has also served as senior medical director at Stemline and as medical director at AstraZeneca/MedImmune.

Lynx Biosciences (LynxBio) has brought on former J&J exec Sylvaine Cases to the team as the company’s first-ever CBO. During her career at J&J, Cases served as VP of oncology strategic partnering. Prior to that, Cases served at Sanofi, Arete Therapeutics (as head of pharmacology) and Cytokinetics (as senior group leader).

Sanjay Aggarwal has been named CMO of Apollo Therapeutics, a UK translational medicine biotech that reached for the stars with a $145 million raise in June. Aggarwal, who will be based out of Apollo’s Cambridge, MA facility, spent the last year as the medical chief for Angiocrine Bioscience and oversaw the Phase II and III programs for Rezurock as Kadmon’s SVP of clinical development. Apollo is the product of a joint venture with University of Cambridge, Imperial College London, University College London and three Big Pharmas: GSK, J&J and AstraZeneca.

Patricia Françon

→ With a new name and $39 million worth of new cash announced this summer, French gene therapy biotech Coave Therapeutics — the erstwhile Horamahas installed Thomas Blaettler as CMO and Patricia Françon as COO. Before spending the last five years as CMO of Orphazyme, Blaettler was with the clinical neuroscience divisions at Bristol Myers and then Roche. Françon leaves her post at Skinosive as chief operating/technology officer and has jumped around in clinical development with companies like Sanofi and Cellectis.

→ Houston-based Memgen has lassoed up Kevin Coveney as CFO. Coveney makes his way to the company after a stint as CFO of Q-State Biosciences. Earlier in his career, Coveney was SVP of finance, human resources and information technology at Vedanta Biosciences.

Barry Deutsch

→ Respiratory and chronic disease-focused Aerami Therapeutics has tapped Barry Deutsch as CFO. Deutsch joins the Durham, NC-based company from Xeris Pharmaceuticals, where he was CFO and previously VP of business development. Prior to his time at Xeris, Deutsch was with Baxter BioScience, Baxalta Incorporated and Ovation Pharmaceuticals among others.

Rebeca Sanchez Sarmiento is joining both Insightful Science and Dotmatics as CFO. Sanchez Sarmiento brings with her experience from her times as CFO at InvestCloud and ATTOM Data Solutions. Additionally, Sanchez Sarmiento was a sell-side equity research analyst at Deutsche Bank and Citigroup.

Justine Levin-Allerhand

Flagship Pioneering has brought on Justine Levin-Allerhand as senior partner, corporate development. Levin-Allerhand had been with the Broad Institute for the last eight years, and in April she began the new role of EVP, development, business and external relations. Flagship’s latest startup, the tRNA-focused Alltrna, made its debut last week and is helmed by Pfizer and AstraZeneca alum Lovisa Afzelius.

Bassem Elmankabadi

→ One of the latest companies to do a SPAC dance, South San Francisco’s Blade Therapeutics has recruited Bassem Elmankabadi as SVP of clinical development. Elmankabadi says goodbye to FibroGen, where he was executive medical director and therapeutic area lead for fibrosis and oncology, and before that he was a senior medical director, global clinical safety officer with Amgen. With ex-Purdue Pharma CEO Mark Timney as chairman, Blade reverse merged this month with Biotech Acquisition Company in a $254.3 million SPAC, and its idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis drug cudetaxestat is slated for a Phase II trial next year.

Whenever I call you Friend: To Australia we go, where John Friend has joined Sydney cancer biotech Kazia Therapeutics as CMO. Friend served as SVP of medical and scientific affairs at the end of his seven-year tenure at Helsinn and CMO at NJ-based Cellectar Biosciences.

Cedilla and CEO Sandra Glucksmann have plugged in two new execs with VP of biology Joshua Murtie and VP of finance Chris Lindblom. Murtie was just a senior director ever so briefly at Servier after seven years at Agios, ascending to senior director and head of cancer biology. Meanwhile, Lindblom has held the same post at IFM Therapeutics, Cogen Immune Medicine (which merged with Torque and is now Repertoire Immune Medicines) and Warp Drive Bio. Last month Cedilla, focused on small molecules that take aim at cancer, topped off its latest round of funding with $25 million, giving them a new Series B total of $82.6 million.

Moya Daniels

Moya Daniels has moved on from Histogen after Richard Pascoe’s departure as CEO to become SVP of regulatory affairs and quality assurance at Aruvant, a gene therapy “vant” from the Roivant stable of companies. We had Daniels in Peer Review in October 2020 when she was named head of regulatory, quality and clinical operations at Histogen after a short tenure in quality assurance at SanBio. After 12 years at Osiris Therapeutics, Daniels was a regulatory exec at Fate Therapeutics and Orchard Therapeutics. Aruvant’s lentiviral gene therapy for sickle cell disease, ARU-1801, is in a Phase I/II trial.

→ After experiencing a rollercoaster ride of highs and lows in the first half of 2021, Provention Bio has now ushered in Jan Hillson as SVP of clinical development. Hillson comes to the NJ-based company from Alpine Immune Sciences, where she served as SVP, clinical development. Prior to that, Hillson was with ChemoCentryx, Momenta, ZymoGenetics, Bristol Myers and Xcyte Therapies.

→ Oxford, UK-based VLP vaccine player and Serum Institute of India partner SpyBiotech has turned to Simon Jones to be VP, finance and operations after Vien Phan’s stint as interim finance director. Before heading to Sumi Biswas’ team, Jones was CFO during his eight years with another British biotech, Karus Therapeutics.

Nachu Narasimhan

→ Nestled into Theseus Pharmaceuticals’ Q3 report are the appointments of two execs. Merck vet Nachu Narasimhan takes on the role of SVP, drug metabolism and preclinical safety for Tim Clackson’s squad after his time with Verastem as VP of drug metabolism and clinical pharmacology, while Len Rozamus has turned up at Theseus as SVP, technical operations. Before getting into the consulting game in 2017, Rozamus logged 21 years at Ariad Pharmaceuticals and was senior director of manufacturing operations.

→ Cambridge, MA CAR-NK player Catamaran Bio floats back into Peer Review by naming Tara Place VP, human resources and organizational effectiveness. Place, who comes to Catamaran after leading human resources at Chiasma, spent seven years in talent acquisition with Vertex and Biogen. Catamaran launched almost exactly one year ago with a $42 million Series A.

→ Life science tools company Lumicks has made two new additions to its management team with the appointments of Jos Maas (general manager, dynamic single molecule (DSM) business) and Geerte Hesen (general counsel). Maas joins the Amsterdam-based company with experience from his time at Thermo Fisher Scientific, Nearfield Instruments, Phenom-World and ASML. Meanwhile, Hesen hops aboard from ASML and Philips Personal Health business.

Roy Beveridge

Gritstone CEO Andrew Allen has resigned from the board of directors at Epizyme after seven years, while the door opens for Roy Beveridge and Carol Stuckley. Beveridge, the ex-CMO of Humana, is currently with Avalere Health as a consultant. Stuckley had a 22-year career with Pfizer that ended in 2007 and sits on the board at Centessa.

Diana Brainard

Nektar has given its board of directors a boost with the arrival of Diana Brainard. Now the CEO of AlloVir, Brainard is best known for her 10 years at Gilead where, as virology chief, she helped lead the effort to clinch an emergency use authorization for remdesivir to treat Covid-19.

→ Now chaired by former Strongbridge Biopharma CEO John Johnson, obe-cel developer Autolus has named Bill Young to the board of directors. Now a senior advisor at Blackstone, Young put an exclamation point on 19 years at Genentech by serving as its COO from 1997-99.

Alise Reicin

→ After shelling out $29.5 million upfront to license five antibody-drug conjugate programs from LegoChem Biosciences earlier this week, Czech biotech Sotio has enlisted Alise Reicin (CEO of Tectonic Therapeutic), Josep Tabernero (head of medical oncology department at Vall d’Hebron University Hospital) and Anthony Tolcher (CEO and founder of NEXT Oncology) to its strategic advisory board.

→ Austin, TX-based Aeglea BioTherapeutics has a seat for Rhythm Pharmaceuticals CFO Hunter Smith on the board of directors. The interim CEO until David Meeker came along at Rhythm, Smith has also been VP of finance and CFO of Celgene’s inflammation and immunology business unit.

Heidi Hunter

→ San Francisco’s Sutro Biopharma, which was granted fast track designation in August for its ovarian cancer drug STRO-002, has added Cardinal Health president Heidi Hunter to the board of directors. The former Boehringer Ingelheim exec was previously SVP of the global immunology business unit at UCB.

Adicet Bio has space reserved for Michael Kauffman on its board of directors. Kauffman, who co-founded and was the CEO of Karyopharm, is also a board member for Verastem and Kezar Life Sciences in addition to Karyopharm.

Lyn Baranowski

→ San Jose-based Rani Therapeutics has appointed Lyn Baranowski to its board of directors. Baranowski, the current COO at Altavant, has also served as SVP, corporate development and strategy at Melinta Therapeutics.

Ed Baracchini is adding yet another board seat to his résumé with his latest appointment at Durham, NC-based CoImmune. Baracchini formerly served as CBO of Imago Biosciences and Xencor. Additionally, he has held stints at Elitra Pharmaceuticals, Ionis and Agouron Pharmaceuticals, among others. Baracchini currently sits on the boards of INmune Bio and 4D Pharma.

Michelle McMurry-Heath-led BIO has recruited Carine Boustany to its board of directors. Boustany serves as Boehringer Ingelheim’s global head, development science and head, development site US. Boustany joined Boehringer in 2011 and previously served in the company’s discovery research team.

Nora Brennan is now a member of the board of directors at Novartis DNA repair partner Artios, which hit a $153 million jackpot on its Series C in July. This spring, Brennan was appointed CFO of Philadelphia oncology biotech Fore Biotherapeutics.

Derek Graf also contributed to this edition.

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“The Real President Is Whoever Controls The Teleprompter”: Musk Delivers Scathing Criticism Of Biden

"The Real President Is Whoever Controls The Teleprompter": Musk Delivers Scathing Criticism Of Biden

Authored by Jack Phillips via The Epoch…



"The Real President Is Whoever Controls The Teleprompter": Musk Delivers Scathing Criticism Of Biden

Authored by Jack Phillips via The Epoch Times,

Tech billionaire Elon Musk this week warned that the United States must take steps to address inflation or it will end up like socialist Venezuela.

Musk, who is currently in the process of acquiring Twitter, told a virtual conference that he believes the government has printed too much money in recent years.

“I mean, the obvious reason for inflation is that the government printed a zillion amount of more money than it had, obviously,” Musk said, likely referring to COVID-19 relief stimulus packages worth trillions of dollars that were passed in recent years.

U.S. inflation rose by 8.3 percent in April, compared with the previous year. That’s slightly lower than the 8.5 percent spike in March, but it’s still near the 40-year high.

“So it’s like the government can’t … issue checks far in excess of revenue without there being inflation, you know, velocity of money held constant,” the Tesla CEO said.

“If the federal government writes checks, they never bounce. So that is effectively creation of more dollars. And if there are more dollars created, then the increase in the goods and services across the economy, then you have inflation, again, velocity of money held constant.”

If governments could merely “issue massive amounts of money and deficits didn’t matter, then, well, why don’t we just make the deficit 100 times bigger,” Musk asked. “The answer is, you can’t because it will basically turn the dollar into something that is worthless.”

“Various countries have tried this experiment multiple times,” Musk said.

“Have you seen Venezuela? Like the poor, poor people of Venezuela are, you know, have been just run roughshod by their government.”

In 2018, Venezuela, a country with significant reserves of oil and gas, saw its inflation rise more than 65,000 percent amid an economic crash that included plummeting oil prices and government price controls. The regime of Nicolas Maduro then started printing money, thereby devaluing its currency, which caused prices to rapidly increase.

During the conference, Musk also said the Biden administration “doesn’t seem to get a lot done” and questioned who is actually in charge. 

“The real president is whoever controls the teleprompter,” he said.

“The path to power is the path to the teleprompter.”

“The Trump administration, leaving Trump aside, there were a lot of people in the administration who were effective at getting things done,” he remarked.

Musk’s comment about the White House comes as Jeff Bezos, also one of the richest people in the world, has increasingly started to target the administration’s economic policies. Bezos, in a series of Twitter posts, said the rapid increase in federal spending is the reason why inflation is as high as it is.

“Remember the Administration tried their best to add another $3.5 TRILLION to federal spending,” Bezos wrote on Monday, drawing rebuke from several White House officials. “They failed, but if they had succeeded, inflation would be even higher than it is today, and inflation today is at a 40-year high.”

Tyler Durden Tue, 05/17/2022 - 15:05

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Type-I interferon stops immune system ‘going rogue’ during viral infections

Hamilton, ON (May 17, 2022) – McMaster University researchers have found not only how some viral infections cause severe tissue damage, but also how…



Hamilton, ON (May 17, 2022) – McMaster University researchers have found not only how some viral infections cause severe tissue damage, but also how to reduce that damage.

Credit: Georgia Kirkos/McMaster University

Hamilton, ON (May 17, 2022) – McMaster University researchers have found not only how some viral infections cause severe tissue damage, but also how to reduce that damage.


They have discovered how Type I interferon (IFN) stops the immune system ‘going rogue’ and attacking the body’s own tissues when fighting viral infections, including COVID-19.


Their paper was published in the journal PLOS Pathogens today.


Senior author Ali Ashkar said IFN is a well-known anti-viral signalling molecule released by the body’s cells that can trigger a powerful immune response against harmful viruses.


“What we have found is that it is also critical to stop white blood cells from releasing protease enzymes, which can damage organ tissue. It has this unique dual function to kick start an immune response against a viral infection on the one hand, as well as restrain that same response to prevent significant bystander tissue damage on the other,” he said.


The research team investigated IFN’s ability to regulate a potentially dangerous immune response by testing it on both flu and the HSV-2 virus, a highly prevalent sexually transmitted pathogen, using mice. Data from COVID-19 patients in Germany, including post-mortem lung samples, was also used in the study.


“For many viral infections, it is not actually the virus that causes most of the tissue damage, it is our heightened immune activation towards the virus,” said Ashkar, a professor of medicine at McMaster.


First co-author of the study and PhD student Emily Feng said: “Our body’s immune response is trying to fight off the virus infection, but there’s a risk of damaging innocent healthy tissue in the process. IFNs regulates the immune response to only target tissues that are infected.


“By discovering the mechanisms the immune system uses that can inadvertently cause tissue damage, we can intervene during infection to prevent this damage and not necessarily have to wait until vaccines are developed to develop life-saving treatments,” she added.


“This applies not just to COVID-19, but also other highly infectious viruses such as flu and Ebola, which can cause tremendous and often life-threatening damage to the body’s organs,” said first study co-author Amanda Lee, a family medicine resident. 


Ashkar said the release of harmful proteases is the result of a ‘cytokine storm’, which is life-threatening inflammation sometimes triggered by viral infections. It has been a common cause of death in patients with COVID-19, but treatment has been developed to prevent and suppress the cytokine storm.


Ashkar said that steroids like dexamethasone are already used to rein in an extreme immune response to viral infections. The authors used doxycycline in their study, an antibiotic used for bacterial infections and as an anti-inflammatory agent, inhibits the function of proteases causing the bystander tissue damage.


Lee added: “This has the potential in the future to be used to alleviate virus-induced life-threatening inflammation and warrants further research.” 


The study was funded by the Canadian Institutes of Health Research.





Pictures of Ali Ashkar and Emily Feng may be found at




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mRNA vaccines like Pfizer and Moderna fare better against COVID-19 variants of concern

A comparison of four COVID-19 vaccinations shows that messenger RNA (mRNA) vaccines — Pfizer-BioNTech and Moderna — perform better against the World…



A comparison of four COVID-19 vaccinations shows that messenger RNA (mRNA) vaccines — Pfizer-BioNTech and Moderna — perform better against the World Health Organization’s variants of concern (VOCs) than viral vector vaccines — AstraZeneca and J&J/Janssen. Although they all effectively prevent severe disease by VOCs, the research, publishing May 17th in the open access journal PLOS Medicine, suggests that people receiving a viral vector vaccine are more vulnerable to infection by new variants.

Credit: Carlos Reusser Monsalvez, Flickr (CC0,

A comparison of four COVID-19 vaccinations shows that messenger RNA (mRNA) vaccines — Pfizer-BioNTech and Moderna — perform better against the World Health Organization’s variants of concern (VOCs) than viral vector vaccines — AstraZeneca and J&J/Janssen. Although they all effectively prevent severe disease by VOCs, the research, publishing May 17th in the open access journal PLOS Medicine, suggests that people receiving a viral vector vaccine are more vulnerable to infection by new variants.

By March 2022, COVID-19 had caused over 450 million confirmed infections and six million reported deaths. The first vaccines approved in the US and Europe that protect against serious infection are Pfizer-BioNTech and Moderna, which deliver genetic code, known as mRNA, to the bodies’ cells, whereas Oxford/AstraZeneca and J&J/Janssen are viral vector vaccines that use a modified version of a different virus — a vector — to deliver instructions to our cells. Three vaccines are delivered as two separate injections a few weeks apart, and J&J/Janssen as a single dose.

Marit J. van Gils at the University of Amsterdam, Netherlands, and colleagues, took blood samples from 165 healthcare workers, three and four weeks after first and second vaccination respectively, and for J&J/Janssen at four to five and eight weeks after vaccination. Samples were collected before, and four weeks after a Pfizer-BioNTech booster.

Four weeks after the initial two doses, antibody responses to the original SARS-CoV-2 viral strain were highest in recipients of Moderna, followed closely by Pfizer-BioNTech, and were substantially lower in those who received viral vector vaccines. Tested against the VOCs – Alpha, Beta, Gamma, Delta and Omicron – neutralizing antibodies were higher in the mRNA vaccine recipients compared to those who had viral vector vaccines. The ability to neutralize VOCs was reduced in all vaccine groups, with the greatest reduction against Omicron. The Pfizer-BioNTech booster increased antibody responses in all groups with substantial improvement against VOCs, including Omicron.

The researchers caution that their AstraZeneca group was significantly older, because of safety concerns for the vaccine in younger age groups. As immune responses tend to weaken with age, this could affect the results. This group was also smaller because the Dutch government halted use for a period.

van Gils concludes, “Four COVID-19 vaccines induce substantially different antibody responses.”


In your coverage, please use this URL to provide access to the freely available paper in PLOS Medicine:

Citation: van Gils MJ, Lavell A, van der Straten K, Appelman B, Bontjer I, Poniman M, et al. (2022) Antibody responses against SARS-CoV-2 variants induced by four different SARS-CoV-2 vaccines in health care workers in the Netherlands: A prospective cohort study. PLoS Med 19(5): e1003991.


Author Countries: The Netherlands, United States


Funding: This work was supported by the Netherlands Organization for Scientific Research (NWO) ZonMw (Vici grant no. 91818627 to R.W.S., S3 study, grant agreement no. 10430022010023 to M.K.B.; RECoVERED, grant agreement no. 10150062010002 to M.D.d.J.), by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation (grant no. INV002022 and INV008818 to R.W.S. and INV-024617 to M.J.v.G.), by Amsterdam UMC through the AMC Fellowship (to M.J.v.G.) and the Corona Research Fund (to M.K.B.), and by the European Union’s Horizon 2020 program (RECoVER, grant no. 101003589 to M.D.d.J). The funders had no role in study design, data collection and analysis, decision to publish, or preparation of the manuscript.

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