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The conference is back. What about the industry? Taking the biotech pulse at #JPM23

SAN FRANCISCO — If the annual JP Morgan conference is speed dating for biopharma deals, fewer eligible singles appeared to have shown up for 2023.



SAN FRANCISCO — If the annual JP Morgan conference is speed dating for biopharma deals, fewer eligible singles appeared to have shown up for 2023.

While attendees continued to pack the rooms for presentations, panels, networking events and happy hours, multiple people told Endpoints News that the confab felt quieter than past years.

“It’s less busy,” said Vor CEO Robert Ang. “I’d say it’s like 70%. But I think everyone’s really glad to come back.”

Biopharma once again congregated in San Francisco — for the first time in three years — in a tempestuous season.

Robert Ang

Over the past year, multiple biotechs have shut down, scaled back or retooled their plans, laying off sizable groups of employees in the process. Many public companies were hit hard on share prices. Although the Nasdaq Biotech Index is trading slightly higher than it was a year ago, the same can’t be said about the S&P Biotech ETF. Few private players made the decision to IPO, and biotech funding in the fourth quarter of 2022 was down more than 50% compared to the prior year.

With fears of a global recession looming, Big Pharma shied away from dramatic M&A gambles, and the deals that did emerge ahead of the meeting’s Monday kickoff, from AstraZeneca’s buyout of CinCor to Ipsen’s acquisition of Albireo to Chiesi’s takeover of Amryt, fell short of offering the big morale boost some were looking for.

Yet conversations with biotech executives and investors outside the Westin St. Francis on the outskirts of the annual gathering suggest the downturn isn’t dampening the mood. The science that underlies the research and development of new drugs, they argue, is still moving at a stunning pace. If anything, longtime players in the industry are hopeful these turbulent times will weed out the weak — and are eager to prove that they are the strong ones who deserve to stay.

Harsh times

There’s no sugarcoating it: Biotech, or at least big parts of it, is hurting.

Vik Bajaj

“It’s a time of upheaval for our industry,” said Vik Bajaj, managing director at Foresite Capital. “There’s been a lot of rearrangement that’s been tough on a lot of people.”

On top of inflation and supply chain issues, Bajaj said he’s worried about two other undercurrents: First, because of holes on the policy level, the biopharma industry isn’t as prepared for future pandemics as the general public may expect; and second, geopolitical tensions and the subsequent trade tariffs and barriers may hinder the increasingly global collaboration of scientists.

He stressed that the consequences won’t be drastic or overnight. But if left unsolved, those issues could create a “long-term tax” on the industry that could change what companies do and how they do it.

At Cerevel Therapeutics, a Nasdaq-listed neuroscience company developing a slate of programs spun out from Pfizer, CEO Tony Coles acknowledged being affected by what he called “micro-environmental things” — such as staffing shortages at clinical sites resulting from Covid and the labor market.

“Those kinds of things are things that we’re dealing with, putting mitigation plans in place. We’re monitoring those timelines very carefully,” he said.

Samantha Singer

For biotechs that are in even earlier stages, the biggest question is often survival. As the IPO window stays shut, fundraising private capital becomes paramount, especially for those that are either not seeking to or struggling to partner with pharma companies.

“It seems to be more difficult than it has been,” said Samantha Singer, who worked at Biogen and the Broad Institute before becoming CEO of Abata, a developer of regulatory T cell therapies for autoimmune diseases. “People are very cautious. They’re taking a long time to make decisions because they’re really doing a lot of careful research. I think it’s a little harder to get someone to take the first step to be the lead.”

Discerning investors

One common narrative for explaining the current biotech downturn goes like this: The go-go times of biotech investing amid a global pandemic where makers of drugs and vaccines carried the hope of the world brought in a tidal wave of cash from generalist investors. When the tide went out, what’s left are specialist investors who ask tougher questions and are pickier about where they put their money.

Joshua Brumm

“We just financed so many companies,” said Josh Brumm, president and CEO of Dyne Therapeutics, which is developing oligonucleotides for muscle diseases. “All these companies need to come back and continue to raise money. And so I think it was a little bit of a flight to quality.”

Chris Bardon, who leads public market investment for MPM Capital, contends that despite the volatility, there’s nothing fundamentally dysfunctional with the system. Companies that come up with good clinical data, she said, are still getting rewarded.

“You have to get over the finish line with the money that you have,” she said. “That’s the rule of the game.”

Ang, the Vor CEO, pointed to his company’s recent $115.8 million raise on the public market as proof. It followed the announcement of first-in-human data for Vor’s edited stem cell product.

“We are very much in an era (where) investors, in particular, just need to see that evidence,” he said.

Two to three years ago, platform companies touting flashy technology could’ve hauled in massive sums while they were still years away from the clinic. Now the sentiment seems to be focusing on translating technology into real products — or at least meaningful updates — sooner.

Peter Maag

Kyverna Therapeutics is gearing up for its first-in-human trial, and it’s dreaming big in cell therapies for autoimmune diseases. CEO Peter Maag believes there’s “ample cash” sitting around; the company just needs a smart strategy to obtain it.

“What used to be one financing event might be now a string of pearls where you think about multiple smaller financings to build the company,” he said.

Bob Nelsen, co-founder of ARCH Venture Partners, told Endpoints founding editor John Carroll in a fireside chat that his firm is investing “at the fastest pace on a dollar basis that we’ve ever invested, even now.” And while there was “a bunch of crap” that got money when it was hot, according to him the overall quality was better than previous upcycles.

“But there will be a shakeout of those companies, and I think there needs to be some consolidation,” he said. “Every graduate student probably can’t have a company.”

Rock bottom?

There’s hope that after the recent tough times, the industry is at a turning point.

“I think people are generally feeling like we probably hit bottom as a biotech sector and we’re on our way back up,” said Peter Anastasiou, CEO of gene therapy biotech Capsida Biotherapeutics. “What fuels that tends to be good data, partnerships, investor interest, pharma interest.”

Still, some of the reverberations from the JP Morgan meeting — including deal talks behind closed doors — won’t be seen or felt until months, if not years.

Bob Nelsen

“While 2023 is going to have these challenges due to macroeconomics, these types of times are sometimes the very best times to build companies,” Vijay Pande, general partner at Andreessen Horowitz, said on a panel at the WuXi Global Forum.

Nelsen noted at the Endpoints event that the scarcest resource isn’t capital but human capital — finding capable CEOs to run the companies being founded.

After all, as insiders underscore again and again, scientists are still making progress and hitting breakthroughs.

“So I have a great deal of optimism that scientific productivity is continuing to fuel productivity in the industry,” Bajaj said, adding later, “We all have to be optimistic in this field.”

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Three Years To Slow The Spread: COVID Hysteria & The Creation Of A Never-Ending Crisis

Three Years To Slow The Spread: COVID Hysteria & The Creation Of A Never-Ending Crisis

Authored by Jordan Schachtel via ‘The Dossier’…



Three Years To Slow The Spread: COVID Hysteria & The Creation Of A Never-Ending Crisis

Authored by Jordan Schachtel via 'The Dossier' Substack,

Last Thursday marked the three year anniversary of the infamous “15 Days To Slow The Spread” campaign.

By March 16, yours truly was already pretty fed up with both the governmental and societal “response” to what was being baselessly categorized as the worst pandemic in 100 years, despite zero statistical data supporting such a serious claim.

I was living in the Washington, D.C. Beltway at the time, and it was pretty much impossible to find a like-minded person within 50 miles who also wasn’t taking the bait. After I read about the news coming out of Wuhan in January, I spent much of the next couple weeks catching up to speed and reading about what a modern pandemic response was supposed to look like.

What surprised me most was that none of “the measures” were mentioned, and that these designated “experts” were nothing more than failed mathematicians, government doctors, and college professors who were more interested in policy via shoddy academic forecasting than observing reality.

Within days of continually hearing their yapping at White House pressers, It quickly became clear that the Deborah Birx’s and Anthony Fauci’s of the world were engaging in nothing more than a giant experiment. There was no an evidence-based approach to managing Covid whatsoever. These figures were leaning into the collective hysteria, and brandishing their credentials as Public Health Experts to demand top-down approaches to stamping out the WuFlu.

To put it bluntly, these longtime government bureaucrats had no idea what the f—k they were doing. Fauci and his cohorts were not established or reputable scientists, but authoritarians, charlatans, who had a decades-long track record of hackery and corruption. This Coronavirus Task Force did not have the collective intellect nor the wisdom to be making these broad brush decisions.

Back then, there were only literally a handful of people who attempted to raise awareness about the wave of tyranny, hysteria, and anti-science policies that were coming our way. There were so few of us back in March in 2020 that it was impossible to form any kind of significant structured resistance to the madness that was unfolding before us. These structures would later form, but not until the infrastructure for the highway to Covid hysteria hell had already been cemented.

Making matters worse was the reality that the vast majority of the population — friends, colleagues, peers and family included — agreed that dissenters were nothing more than reckless extremists, bioterrorists, Covid deniers, anti-science rabble rousers, and the like.

Yet we were right, and we had the evidence and data to prove it. There was no evidence to ever support such a heavy-handed series of government initiatives to “slow the spread.”

By March 16, 2020, data had already accumulated indicating that this contagion would be no more lethal than an influenza outbreak.

The February, 2020 outbreak on the Diamond Princess cruise ship provided a clear signal that the hysteria models provided by Bill Gates-funded and managed organizations were incredibly off base. Of the 3,711 people aboard the Diamond Princess, about 20% tested positive with Covid. The majority of those who tested positive had zero symptoms. By the time all passengers had disembarked from the vessel, there were 7 reported deaths on the ship, with the average age of this cohort being in the mid 80s, and it wasn’t even clear if these passengers died from or with Covid.

Despite the strange photos and videos coming out of Wuhan, China, there was no objective evidence of a once in a century disease approaching America’s shores, and the Diamond Princess outbreak made that clear.

Of course, it wasn’t the viral contagion that became the problem.

It was the hysteria contagion that brought out the worst qualities of much of the global ruling class, letting world leaders take off their proverbial masks in unison and reveal their true nature as power drunk madmen.

And even the more decent world leaders were swept up in the fear and mayhem, turning over the keys of government control to the supposed all-knowing Public Health Experts.

They quickly shuttered billions of lives and livelihoods, wreaking exponentially more havoc than a novel coronavirus ever could.

In the United States, 15 Days to Slow The Spread quickly became 30 Days To Slow The Spread. Somewhere along the way, the end date for “the measures” was removed from the equation entirely.

3 years later, there still isn’t an end date…

Anthony Fauci appeared on MSNBC Thursday morning and declared that Americans would need annual Covid boosters to compliment their Flu shots.

So much of the Covid hysteria era was driven by pseudoscience and outright nonsense, and yet, very few if any world leaders took it upon themselves to restore sanity in their domains. Now, unsurprisingly, so many elected officials who were complicit in this multi-billion person human tragedy won’t dare to reflect upon it.

In a 1775 letter from John Adams to his wife, Abigail, the American Founding Father wrote:

“Liberty once lost is lost forever. When the People once surrender their share in the Legislature, and their Right of defending the Limitations upon the Government, and of resisting every Encroachment upon them, they can never regain it.”

Covid hysteria and the 3 year anniversary of 15 Days To Slow The Spread serves as the beginning period of a permanent scar resulting from government power grabs and federal overreach.

While life is back to normal in most of the country, the Overton window of acceptable policy has slid even further in the direction of push-button tyranny. Hopefully, much of the world has awakened to the reality that most of the people in charge aren’t actually doing what’s best for their respective populations.

Tyler Durden Tue, 03/21/2023 - 18:05

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Spread & Containment

Honey, the 3D print–I mean, dessert–is ready!

New York, NY—March 21, 2023—Cooking devices that incorporate three-dimensional (3D) printers, lasers, or other software-driven processes may soon replace…



New York, NY—March 21, 2023—Cooking devices that incorporate three-dimensional (3D) printers, lasers, or other software-driven processes may soon replace conventional cooking appliances such as ovens, stovetops, and microwaves. But will people want to use a 3D printer–even one as beautifully designed as a high-end coffee maker–on their kitchen counters to calibrate the exact micro- and macro-nutrients they need to stay healthy? Will 3D food printing improve the ways we nourish ourselves? What sorts of hurdles will need to be overcome to commercialize such a technology? 

Credit: Jonathan Blutinger/Columbia Engineering

New York, NY—March 21, 2023—Cooking devices that incorporate three-dimensional (3D) printers, lasers, or other software-driven processes may soon replace conventional cooking appliances such as ovens, stovetops, and microwaves. But will people want to use a 3D printer–even one as beautifully designed as a high-end coffee maker–on their kitchen counters to calibrate the exact micro- and macro-nutrients they need to stay healthy? Will 3D food printing improve the ways we nourish ourselves? What sorts of hurdles will need to be overcome to commercialize such a technology? 

Columbia mechanical engineers are working to address these challenges in Professor Hod Lipson’s Creative Machines Lab. In a new Perspective article published today by npj Science of Food, lead author Jonathan Blutinger, a postdoctoral fellow in the lab, explores these questions and more, discussing with Professor Christen Cooper, Pace University Nutrition and Dietetics, the benefits and drawbacks of 3D-printed food technology, how 3D-printed food compares to the “normal” food we eat, and the future landscape of our kitchens. 


Food printing technology has existed since Lipson’s lab first introduced it in 2005, but to date the technology has been limited to a small number of uncooked ingredients, resulting in what many perceive as less than appetizing dishes. Blutinger’s team broke away from this limitation by printing a dish comprising seven ingredients, cooked in situ using a laser. For the paper, the researchers designed a 3D-printing system that constructs cheesecake from edible food inks — including peanut butter, Nutella, and strawberry jam. The authors note that precision printing of multi-layered food items could produce more customizable foods, improve food safety, and enable users to control the nutrient content of meals more easily. 

“Because 3D food printing is still a nascent technology, it needs an ecosystem of supporting industries such as food cartridge manufacturers, downloadable recipe files, and an environment in which to create and share these recipes. Its customizability makes it particularly practical for the plant-based meat market, where texture and flavor need to be carefully formulated to mimic real meats,” Blutinger said.

To demonstrate the potential of 3D food printing, the team tested various cheesecake designs, consisting of seven key ingredients: graham cracker, peanut butter, Nutella, banana puree, strawberry jam, cherry drizzle, and frosting. They found that the most successful design used a graham cracker as the foundational ingredient for each layer of the cake. Peanut butter and Nutella proved to be best used as supporting layers that formed “pools” to hold the softer ingredients: banana and jam. Multi-ingredient designs evolved into multi-tiered structures that followed similar principles to building architectures; more structural elements were needed to support softer substrates for a successful multi-ingredient layered print.

“We have an enormous problem with the low-nutrient value of processed foods,” Cooper said. “3D food printing will still turn out processed foods, but perhaps the silver lining will be, for some people, better control and tailoring of nutrition–personalized nutrition. It may also be useful in making food more appealing to those with swallowing disorders by mimicking the shapes of real foods with the pureed texture foods that these patients–millions in the U.S. alone–require.”

Laser cooking and 3D food printing could allow chefs to localize flavors and textures on a millimeter scale to create new food experiences. People with dietary restrictions, parents of young children, nursing home dieticians, and athletes alike could find these personalized techniques very useful and convenient in planning meals. And, because the system uses high-energy targeted light for high-resolution tailored heating, cooking could become more cost-effective and more sustainable. 

“The study also highlights that printed food dishes will likely require novel ingredient compositions and structures, due to the different way by which the food is ‘assembled,’ ” said Lipson. “Much work is still needed to collect data, model, and optimize these processes.”

Blutinger added, “And, with more emphasis on food safety following the COVID-19 pandemic, food prepared with less human handling could lower the risk of foodborne illness and disease transmission. This seems like a win-win concept for all of us.”

About the Study

Journal: npj Science of Food


Authors of the paper are: Jonathan David Blutinger 1, Christen Cupples Cooper2 , Shravan Karthik1 , Alissa Tsai 1 , Noà Samarelli1 , Erika Storvick1 , Gabriel Seymour1 , Elise Liu1 , Yorán Meijers1,3 and Hod Lipson1
1 Department of Mechanical Engineering, Columbia Engineering
2 Department of Nutrition and Dietetics, Pace University
3 Department of Food Technology, Wageningen University, Netherlands.

The study was supported by NSF AI Institute for Dynamical Systems, grant 2112085, and by a grant from the Redefine Meat Ltd.

The authors declare no financial or other conflicts of interest. 



DOI: 10.1038/s41538-023-00182-6




Columbia Engineering

Since 1864, the Fu Foundation School of Engineering and Applied Science at Columbia University has been a resource to the world for major advances in human progress. Today, Columbia Engineering is the top engineering school in the Ivy League and New York City. As a nexus for high-impact research, the school convenes more than 250 faculty members and more than 6,000 undergraduate and graduate students from around the globe to push the frontiers of knowledge and solve humanity’s most pressing problems



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“An Extraordinary Change”: Labor Data Reveals Shocking Drop In Workplace Attendance Following Vax Campaign

"An Extraordinary Change": Labor Data Reveals Shocking Drop In Workplace Attendance Following Vax Campaign

Last we heard from former Blackrock…



"An Extraordinary Change": Labor Data Reveals Shocking Drop In Workplace Attendance Following Vax Campaign

Last we heard from former Blackrock portfolio manager Ed Dowd and his deep-dive partners at Phinance Technologies, the rate of Serious Adverse Events reported during Covid-19 vaccine trials closely tracked a spike in disabilities reported following the vaccine's official rollout.

In their latest analysis, Dowd and crew use data from the Bureau of Labor Statistcs (BLS) to reveal a shocking spike in both employee absence and lost worktime rates, which they believe is due to vaccines - either from primary vaccine injuries, or because of weakened immune systems due to the jab, and not long covid caused by the virus itself.

Via Phinance Technologies

"It’s not a stretch to conclude from this data that the vaccines are causing death, disabilities & injuries due to a degradation of individuals' immune system," Dowd says. "The rate of change is not explained by the long Covid trope. Ask yourself where is funding for such studies?"

For those who want to dive right in to the analysis, follow the below links:

Part 1 - Overview of the Data

Part 2 - Analysis of Absence rates

Part 3 - Analysis of Lost Worktime rates

For the cliffs notes version, Dowd has dropped the following Twitter thread summarizing their analysis:

And for those who fell asleep in statistics class;

As one commenter notes, data from the UK reveals that firms are coming under increased pressure due to rising staff sickness, particularly among those over the age of 50. 

More to come next week...

Dowd explained his views how he reacted to the pandemic to Tucker Carlson. Now he, and his partners, spend their time poring through data to shine a light on harsh realities.

Tyler Durden Tue, 03/21/2023 - 12:00

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