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The Dollar Continues to Press Against JPY150; Risk Off Ahead of the Weekend

Overview: True to the market’s penchant, it heard a
dovish Fed Chair Powell yesterday. He seemed to suggest that the bar to another
hike was high. This…



Overview: True to the market's penchant, it heard a dovish Fed Chair Powell yesterday. He seemed to suggest that the bar to another hike was high. This helped cap the 10-year yield just in front of 5.00% and allowed foreign currencies to recover against the dollar. The US two-year yield reversed lower after rising above 5.25%. It is now around 5.15%. Still, Powell appeared to cover similar ground as several other officials, including Fed governors in recent days. The dollar is trading with a firmer bias in Europe, and it drew ever nearer JPY150. Most of the non-restricted emerging market currencies, including the South African rand, central European currencies, and Mexican peso are softer. Gold is extending it surge for the fourth consecutive session and is above $1980 having settled last week a little below $1933. It is up nearly $150 an ounce since the Hamas attack. December WTI is also rising for the fourth consecutive session. It settled near $86.35 last week and approached $90 today. It is up roughly 10% over the past two weeks. 

Equities are lower, and given the geopolitical developments, risk-off moves ahead of the weekend are not surprising. Asia Pacific equities are a sea of red today and this week. South Korea and Australia indices lead today's move with more than 1% drawdowns, but on the week China's CSI 300's 4.2% drop is the region's largest loss. The Stoxx 600's nearly 1% drop today brings this week's decline to above 3%, the most since March. US indices are softer and have fallen for the past three sessions. European 10-year benchmark yields are narrowly mixed with most peripheral yields slightly softer and core rates a little firmer. Gilts remain under pressure with the 10-year yield up nearly three basis points to a new high for the week near 4.70%. The 10-year US Treasury yield is off 4.5 bp to about 4.95%. Itis up about 24 bp this week. The implied yield of the December 2024 Fed funds futures has risen by almost 12 bp this week.   

Asia Pacific

It was a mixed week for China. Growth in Q3 was a little better than expected even though the property sector remains distressed, and Country Garden is on precipice of default, having missed the final deadline of a coupon payment on a dollar bond. China surprised the international community striking a debt agreement with Sri Lanka before the Paris Club. It celebrated the 10th anniversary of the Belt Road Initiative, Although the US has been critical, and Europe has become more disenchanted, developing countries in Asia, Latam, and Africa are more may still be attracted. The media jumped all over US Treasury data showing that China sold $21.2 bln of US bonds, including Agency debt, in August. The $5.1 bln in divestment of US equities appears to be a record. Still, before filing this under de-dollarization, note that China's sales were largely offset by a movement into bills and short-term securities, not out of the dollar. Note too that in addition to the BRI, Xi's other global initiative, the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank also makes dollar loans. Meanwhile, the US defense of Israel did not bolster Washington's standing among large parts of the so-called Global South, which China's says it champions. Lastly, that Chinese banks did not reduce the loan prime rates was not surprising after the PBOC left the one-year Medium-Term Lending Facility rate unchanged earlier this week at 2.50%.

Japan's September CPI softened a little and was largely signaled by the Tokyo's report a couple of weeks ago. Headline CPI eased to 3.0% from 3.2%. This is the lowest reading so far this year and matches the low since July 2022. The core rate, which excludes fresh food, fell to 2.8% from 3.1%. This is the rate that the BOJ targets at 2%. It peaked in January at 4.2%. The measure that excludes fresh food and energy eased to 4.2% from 4.3%, which was the peak seen first in May and then July and August. The low for the year as set in January at 3.2%. Both of these core rates were slightly firmer than expected. Some press reports suggest that at the BOJ meeting at the end of the month, the inflation forecast could be raised to 3.0% this fiscal year from 2.5% and next year's projection raise to a little above 2% from 1.9%. The forecast for FY25 may stay below 2% (set at 1.6% in July). Note that here are two byelections on Sunday and Prime Minister Kishida is set to deliver an important policy speech on Monday, which is expected to address fiscal policy.

The dollar reached JPY149.96 in North America yesterday according to Bloomberg. In effect, it came within 2/10000 of a cent shy of the equivalent of JPY150 (~0.006666). There are options for a little more than $1 bln struck at JPY150 that expire today and Bloomberg has today's high at JPY149.99. In the Powell-induced pullback, the dollar fell to new session lows but found new bids slightly below JPY149.70, where it found support today, as well. The Australian dollar recovered in North America from the dip in Asia and Europe below $0.6300, and Powell's comments goosed it up to almost $0.6360, where it ran out of steam. It stalled near a retracement of the two-day decline and in front of the 20-day moving average (~$0.6375). It returned to the $0.6300 area today and has mostly held below $0.6330. The greenback rose against the Chinese yuan for the fourth time this week and made a marginal new high today near CNY7.3185. It is the strongest the US dollar has been since September 11. The PBOC injected a record amount of liquidity (CNY828 bln, or ~$115 bln) through its reverse repo operations today apparently to facilitate next tax period and new government bond issuance. The PBOC set the dollar's reference rate at CNY7.1793, a new low for the week. The average projection in the Bloomberg survey was for CNY7.3074.


It was not a particularly good week for the UK. It announced that jobs were lost in September for the third consecutive month, though wage pressures eased slightly more than anticipated in the three months through August. Still, September CPI rose 0.5% and the year-over-year rate, and especially service prices were firmer than expected. Earlier today, a 0.9% decline in retail sales were announced, and a 1% drop when gasoline is excluded. The drop was more than twice the median forecasts in Bloomberg's survey. Many economists think the UK economy stagnated in Q3 and look for the same in Q4. The 10-year Gilt yield jumped 30 bp this week, the most in nearly four months and rose every day this week. Separately, the Labour took both previously held Conservative seats in yesterday's byelection. 

Germany lifted its objections to (France) using state subsidies to fund its nuclear power plants, which provide 70% of its electricity. However, in the grand horse-trading exercise, it may mean that Berlin will not compromise on its backing of re-imposing the Stability and Growth Pact, which will force many countries to tighten fiscal policy. Germany has an "escape clause” if it is in a recession. Meanwhile, US and European officials meet in Washington today. The US wants Europe to impose a 25% tariff on steel and 10% on aluminum from non-market economies (i.e., China). In exchange, Europe wants the so-called Trump-era tariffs to be permanently lifted. The US is trying to preserve the right to reimpose the duties on Europe in the future. Lastly, there is still hope that a US-EU agreement can be struck on critical minerals. 

With Powell's help, the euro rose to a five-day high near $1.0615 yesterday. Some of the buying may have been related to the nearly 900 mln euro options at $1.0550 and nearly 2 bln euros in options struck at $1.06 that expire today. There are almost nearly $2.5 bln in options at $1.0625 expiring today. Still, the euro failed to settle above $1.0600, which tarnished the otherwise firm performance. Last week's high was near $1.0640. A move above there would lift the technical tone, but so far today, the euro has held below $1.06. Support is seen in the $1.0555-60 area. Sterling's recovery from $1.2090 was impressive but new sellers emerged as it approached $1.2200. Yesterday was the first session since the US employment data on October 6 that sterling was unable to trade above $1.22. It retested yesterday's lows today after the disappointing retail sales report. It recovered by looks capped around $1.2140. Separately, note that S&P reviews Greece's debt later today and its BB+ rating. An upgrade to investment grade is possible. DBRS already did so last month. S&P is also due to review Italy's BBB rating today. We suspect the risk is of an outlook downgrade to negative from stable.


It was a mixed week for the US. The key economic data were stronger than expected. This included retail sales, industrial production, and business inventories. The Atlanta Fed's GDP tracker for Q3 GDP was lifted to 5.4% (from 5.1% in the previous week) and several money center banks revised up their forecasts as well. The median forecast in Bloomberg's survey sees 4% growth, when it is reported next week. The 10-year bond yield reached 4.99% yesterday. It settled at 4.61% last week. Almost half the increase seems to come from the change in expectations for overnight rates next year. The implied yield of the December 2024 Fed funds contract rose 16 bp this week before pulling back in response to Fed Chair Powell's comments. The other half of the increase in the 10-year note yield appears to reflect the term premium, which is "compensation" for risk that the yield rises over the life of the bond. It is the part that can be argued is tightening financial conditions beyond what the Fed has done. Yet, the rising rates did not prevent bank shares from advancing, even b Coming into today the index of large bank shares, perhaps helped by the earnings reports is up about 0.20% this week, which if sustained would be the first back-to-back weekly gains since July. An index of regional bank shares is up about 2.4% this week, the largest advance in seven weeks. On the other hand, the House of Representatives still has been unable to pick a speaker and the Beige Book picked up growing concerns about the economic outlook. 

Canada and Mexico report August retail sales today. The median forecast in Bloomberg's survey calls for a 0.1% decline, which would be the first since March. If true, it probably overstates the weakness of the Canadian economy. Still, the economy is nearly stagnant. The Q2 contraction of 0.2% at an annualized rate is expected to be followed by a 0.3%-0.4% expansion in Q3. The Bank of Canada meets next week, and the odds of a hike have been downgraded in the swaps market to less than 13% from more than 38% at the end of last week. Retail sales are expected to edge up by 0.1% in Mexico. They had risen by 0.2% in July. Mexico's retail sales rose at an annualized rate about 14% in Q2 after falling at a 4.0% annualized rate in Q1 23. On a quarterly basis, the Mexican economy expanded by 0.8% in Q1 and Q2 23. It is expected to slow to around 0.5% in Q3 and further in Q4.

The US dollar was consolidating its gains that took it to CAD1.3740 in Europe yesterday before Powell spoke. The greenback slumped to CAD1.3680 but quickly bounced before stalling near CAD1.3710. It is consolidating quietly inside yesterday's range. A close below CAD1.3680 would be constructive for the Canadian dollar. Still, the US dollar needs to fall back below CAD1.3600 to be anything of technical importance and, ideally, below last week's lows in the CAD1.3570-80 area. The US dollar reached almost MXN18.40 yesterday in Europe and fell to a session low near MXN18.16 after Powell's comments before stabilizing. The dollar is consolidating firmly near yesterday's highs. A break of the MXN18.4860 high seen earlier this month, could signal a move toward MXN18.80. Recall that in Q2, the peso fell in four weeks. Assuming it does not recover much today, the peso would have weakened for the sixth week in the past eight. At the risk of oversimplifying, it appears the risk-off has met the overweight positioning. Moreover, as the volatility is rising, and this also impacts the attractiveness of carry strategies. Three-month implied volatility has risen from below 9% in July to above 16% this month and is now around 15.25%. Lastly, Argentina holds presidential elections on Sunday, but a second round will likely be necessary (November 19). 




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Restrictive Yields Will Be The Fed’s Waterloo

Restrictive monetary conditions, from higher yields and tighter lending conditions, are the Fed’s "Waterloo."

If you don’t remember, the "Battle of…



Restrictive monetary conditions, from higher yields and tighter lending conditions, are the Fed’s “Waterloo.”

If you don’t remember, the “Battle of Waterloo” was fought on June 18th, 1815. The battle was a catastrophic defeat for the Napoleonic forces and marked the end of the Napoleonic Wars. Before that defeat, Napolean had a successful campaign of waging war in Europe.

Today, the Federal Reserve has successfully waged a war against inflation. Of course, as is always the case throughout history, the Fed campaign has consistently met its eventual “Waterloo.” Rather, the point where rate hikes and tighter monetary policy eventually cause a problem somewhere in the financial system. Such is particularly the case when the Fed funds rate exceeds levels associated with previous crisis events.

Much like Napoleon, who was confident entering the battle of Waterloo and the eventual victory, the Fed remains convinced of its eventual success. Following the most recent FOMC meeting, the Federal Reserve reiterated its “higher for longer” mantra and upgraded its economic forecast to include a “no recession” scenario.

Fed reverse GDP projections

However, while Jerome Powell has one hand tucked into his lapel with a smirk, the recent surge in yields may be his eventual undoing. As shown, financial conditions have become increasingly restrictive. The chart combines bank lending standards with interest rates and the spread to the neutral rate. Due to increasing debt levels in the economy, the level at which financial conditions are too restrictive has trended lower.

Financial Conditions Index

Given the sharp rise in yields over the last couple of months, it is unsurprising that recent comments from Federal Reverse members suggest that bond yields have become restrictive, suggesting an end to further rate hikes.

How To Say “No More” Without Saying It?

The Fed’s “soft landing” hopes are likely overly optimistic. The context of the recent #BullBearReport discussed the long record of the Fed’s economic growth projections. To wit:

“However, there is a problem with the Fed projections. They are historically the worst economic forecasters ever. We have tracked the median point of the Fed projections since 2011, and they have yet to be accurate. The table and chart show that Fed projections are always inherently overly optimistic.

As shown, in 2022, the Fed thought 2022 growth would be near 3%. That has been revised down to just 2.2% currently and will likely be lower by year-end.”

History of Fed projections

As noted, the Fed’s outlook for more robust growth and no recession has allowed it to keep “one more rate hike” on the table. The prospect of further rate hikes spooked the stock and bond markets immediately. However, following the announcement, we explained why the Fed needed such a statement to keep markets in line.

The Fed projecting one last rate increase is also a way of preventing investors from immediately turning to the next question: When will the Fed cut? The risk is that as soon as investors start doing that, rate expectations will come down sharply, and with them, long-term interest rates, providing the economy with a boost the Fed doesn’t want it to receive just yet.

That is right. Since October last year, the market has been hoping for rate cuts and increasing asset prices in advance. Of course, higher asset prices boost consumer confidence, potentially keeping inflationary pressures elevated. Keeping a rate hike on the table keeps the options for the Federal Reserve open.

However, the recent surge in long-term U.S. Treasury yields, and tighter financial conditions more generally, means less need for the Federal Reserve to raise interest rates further, as Jerome Powell noted yesterday.

Financial conditions have tightened significantly in recent months, and longer-term bond yields have been an important driving factor in this tightening. We remain attentive to these developments because persistent changes in financial conditions can have implications for the path of monetary policy.”

While the markets misread much of Powell’s commentary, concerned about “higher rates,” Powell reiterated that weaker economic growth and lower inflation remained its primary goal.

“In any case, inflation is still too high, and a few months of good data are only the beginning of what it will take to build confidence that inflation is moving down sustainably toward our goal”

Unless interest rates collapse substantially, which will only happen with the onset of a recession, the message from the Fed is becoming clear: The rate hiking regime is over.

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Rate Cuts Are Coming

While the Fed is hopeful they can navigate a soft landing in the economy, such has historically never been the case. Higher interest rates, restrictive lending standards, and slower economic growth will result in a recession. The cracks in the economy are already becoming more abundant.

Statista’s Felix Richter noted, via Zerohedge, that inflation has neutralized pay increases and that many Americans were left with less than before. Such is because wage growth failed to keep up with surging prices for essential goods and services, including food, gas, and rent.

How Americans Responded To Inflation by Statista

Furthermore, in a joint effort that underscores the impact of monetary policy on one of the most rate-sensitive sectors of the economy, the National Association of Home Builders, the Mortgage Bankers Association, and the National Association of Realtors wrote a letter to Jerome Powell. In that open letter was their key concern:

“To convey profound concern shared among our collective memberships that ongoing market uncertainty about the Fed’s rate path contributes to recent interest rate hikes and volatility.” CNBC

To address these pressing concerns, the MBA, NAR, and NAHB urge the Fed to make two clear statements to the market:

  • “The Fed does not contemplate further rate hikes;
  • “The Fed will not sell off any of its MBS holdings until and unless the housing finance market has stabilized and mortgage-to-Treasury spreads have normalized.”

Why would the three major housing market players make these requests?

“We urge the Fed to take these simple steps to ensure that this sector does not precipitate the hard landing the Fed has tried so hard to avoid.”

Given that housing activity accounts for nearly 16% of GDP, you can understand the request. Critically, such a letter would not have been written unless significant cracks in the foundation had already formed.

If history is any guide, the Fed’s next policy change will be to cut rates amid concerns about a recessionary outcome.

In other words, Jerome Powell may have engaged in his last battle of this campaign.

The post Restrictive Yields Will Be The Fed’s Waterloo appeared first on RIA.

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Co-founded by David Baker, Vilya rings in a permanent CEO; Allogene names Eric Schmidt’s CFO successor

Cyrus Harmon
→ Ex-Olema Oncology chief Cyrus Harmon has resurfaced as CEO of Vilya, a Seattle-based macrocycle biotech from David Baker’s lab that…



Cyrus Harmon

→ Ex-Olema Oncology chief Cyrus Harmon has resurfaced as CEO of Vilya, a Seattle-based macrocycle biotech from David Baker’s lab that raised a $50 million Series A last August. Harmon co-founded Olema in 2007 and he moved into the role of chief technology officer when Sean Bohen was hired as CEO three years ago. He then shifted to chief research officer until Olema restructured in March and laid off about 25% of its staff. CBO Kinney Horn joined Harmon on the chopping block, although Harmon is still on Olema’s board of directors. Former Bristol Myers Squibb exec Nick Meanwell and Arrakis chief innovation officer Jennifer Petter are part of Vilya’s scientific advisory board.

Geoffrey Parker

→ Off-the-shelf cell therapy specialist Allogene has found a CFO. Former Goldman Sachs managing director Geoffrey Parker spent six years at Tricida and was elevated to COO, CFO and EVP in February 2021. Parker succeeds Eric Schmidt, who left Allogene this summer to become a biotech analyst for Cantor Fitzgerald and spoke with Lei Lei Wu as he prepared to dive in to his new gig. Allogene began the year by hiring R&D chief Zachary Roberts and has since picked up chief technical officer Tim Moore and general counsel Earl Douglas.

John Tsai

Tom Anderson is out as CEO of Syncona-backed gene therapy maker SwanBio, but he’ll be a strategic advisor and keep his seat on a board that will now be chaired by ex-Novartis medical chief and current Syncona executive partner John Tsai. SwanBio has also recruited Topher Brooke as COO after he spent a year in the same role at Aytu BioPharma. Brooke is the former head of AstraZeneca’s diabetes business unit in North America and co-founded Rumpus Therapeutics, a pediatric disease biotech that was sold to Aytu in 2021. Tsai was just named CEO at another Syncona company, Forcefield Therapeutics, in late September.

Richard Daly

→ AstraZeneca and Takeda alum Richard Daly will replace Patrick McEnany as CEO of Catalyst Pharmaceuticals on Jan. 1, while McEnany will remain chairman of the board. Daly last appeared in this space in January 2022, when he became president of CARsgen’s US subsidiary, CARsgen Therapeutics Corporation. He’s also been COO at BeyondSpring and a board member at Catalyst since 2015. Catalyst previously announced in July that McEnany would step down as chief executive.

Michael Rossi

Michael Rossi will take over as president and CEO of Y-mAbs, and once Rossi starts running the biotech on Nov. 6, founder and interim chief Thomas Gad is slated to be vice chairman and CBO. Rossi was general manager of the US business for Novartis’ radiopharma company Advanced Accelerator Applications, and he’s also had a 12-year career with GE Healthcare. Y-mAbs has had a checkered regulatory past, receiving a refusal to file letter for its pediatric neuroblastoma treatment omburtamab in October 2020 and scoring an accelerated approval for another neuroblastoma drug, naxitamab, several weeks later. Y-mAbs tried again with omburtamab in 2022, but an adcomm voted unanimously against it and the FDA agreed with the assessment.

Manmeet Soni

Manmeet Soni is reuniting with Bob Duggan as COO of Summit Therapeutics, which formed an alliance with Akeso Therapeutics on the bispecific antibody ivonescimab in December. Soni was CFO and treasurer at Pharmacyclics while Duggan was CEO, and just completed a four-year run at Reata Pharmaceuticals, the Texas biotech that Biogen acquired for $7.3 billion. The ex-Alnylam CFO started out as finance chief at Reata and added the COO post in June 2020 before his promotion to president in February 2022.

Summit has also appointed Jack West from City of Hope as VP of clinical development “focused on lung cancer,” and it has also promoted the following execs: Allen Yang (CMO), Dave Gancarz (chief business & strategy officer), Urte Gayko (chief regulatory, quality, & pharmacovigilance officer), and Fong Clow (chief biometrics officer). Duggan shares CEO duties at Summit with president Maky Zanganeh.

Vincent Hennemand

Roivant subsidiary Covant Therapeutics has named Vincent Hennemand as CEO. Hennemand takes over the reins after a gig as COO at Intergalactic Therapeutics, which laid off all employees in August. Prior to Intergalactic, Hennemand was with Bain, Sanofi and PureTech Health. At Sanofi, Hennemand was chief of staff for Elias Zerhouni, while his tenure at PureTech included a role as SVP of corporate strategy and business development.

→ Belgium’s etherna has locked Bernard Sagaert into the role of CEO after leading the company in an interim capacity for the past year. Sagaert joined etherna in 2017 after roles at Mylan and Sterigenics. Alongside Sagaert’s appointment, ex-Bayer and Thermo Fisher CEO Marijn Dekkers — the founder and chairman of Novalis Capital Partners — has been named chairman of the board.

Ginna Laport

→ “Ports” of call: Third Rock-backed CARGO Therapeutics has named Ginna Laport as CMO after hiring chief scientist Michael Ports in September. Laport had been VP of clinical development, global head of the non-Hodgkin lymphoma/chronic lymphocytic leukemia franchise at Genentech since January 2020, and she’s the ex-medical chief at Tempest Therapeutics. CARGO hauled in $200 million in one of the largest Series A rounds in biotech this year.

→ Following a Phase III whiff with its IgA nephropathy drug narsoplimab, Omeros has brought in Andreas Grauer as CMO. Grauer tackled this same role at Federation Bio and Corcept Therapeutics, and he spent a decade in global development at Amgen.

Weston Miller

Weston Miller will become CMO at Amber Salzman’s latest play, Epic Bio, on Oct. 23. Miller had been VP of clinical development at Graphite Bio, which conceded defeat with its sickle cell program in February and eliminated about half of its workforce. He’s also worked in clinical development for Astellas Gene Therapies and Sangamo. After Flagship’s Ohana Biosciences closed in 2021, Salzman is now CEO of Epic, an epigenetic editing startup that racked up a $55 million Series A last year.

Parker Moss

→ AI drug discovery and development company Exscientia has recruited Parker Moss as EVP, corporate development, starting in January. Moss makes his way to the Oxford-based company from Genomics England, where he served as chief partnerships officer. Moss previously served as an entrepreneur-in-residence at F-Prime and Eight Roads and was part of the executive team at Owkin. Exscientia CEO Andrew Hopkins spoke to Andrew Dunn about the trouble AI-derived drugs are having: “We’ve also now realized if we want to change the probability of success in the clinic, it’s not just better molecules,” he said. “We also need better translational models.”

Virginie Boucinha

→ Peanut patch developer DBV Technologies has enlisted Sanofi vet Virginie Boucinha as CFO. Boucinha comes to DBV from another French company, Pierre Fabre, where she was the group performance director since February 2022. At Sanofi, she held such leadership roles as CFO for India and South Asia (2012-15), chief of staff to the group CEO (2015-18) and head of the Global Transformation Office (2018-21).

→ Now run by ex-Seagen CEO Clay Siegall after the merger with Morphimmune, Immunome has pegged Bob Lechleider as CMO. Lechleieder worked with Siegall as SVP of clinical development at Seagen from 2016-20, and the MacroGenics vet has spent the last three years as CMO of OncoResponse.

Elaine Chien

→ Three new execs have made their way to Antiva Biosciences, the Redwood City, CA-based biotech that nabbed a $53 million Series E this spring: Elaine Chien (CMO) had been promoted to VP, clinical development and medical safety during her three years at Mirum Pharmaceuticals; Susan Wilson (VP of project management and strategic initiatives) has previously served as VP, program, portfolio and alliance management for Revolution Medicines; and Rajashree Joshi-Hangal (VP of technical operations) is an Astex Pharmaceuticals vet who was in charge of CMC, regulatory affairs at Myovant Sciences. Antiva’s ABI-2280 is in Phase II for high-grade cervical intraepithelial neoplasias, or precancerous cervical lesions.

Ronan O’Brien has joined Lyra Therapeutics as chief legal officer. O’Brien just had a five-year stint with Pear Therapeutics and was promoted to general counsel, chief compliance officer & secretary in January 2022. Lyra’s chronic rhinosinusitis drug LYR-220 hit the primary endpoint in a Phase II trial last month.

Mishima Gerhart

→ Touting positive Phase IIa data a few weeks ago for its primary sclerosing cholangitis drug bexotegrast —with more results on the way — Pliant Therapeutics has selected Mishima Gerhart as chief regulatory officer. Gerhart recently served as chief regulatory officer and head of quality at Taysha Gene Therapies, and she has additional regulatory experience with such pharma giants as Pfizer, AbbVie and Sanofi.

→ Japanese biotech RegCell has handed the CEO reins to Michael McCullar. McCullar joins the Osaka-based company from a CEO stint at OnQuality Pharmaceuticals. Before that, McCullar was COO of Tolera Pharmaceuticals and SVP of business development at Astex Pharmaceuticals.

Lachy McLean

→ Palo Alto, CA-based Genascence has brought aboard Lachy McLean as CMO. McLean has prior chief medical experience from his time at Novome, and he has previously served in roles at AstraZeneca, Merck, Genentech, Takeda and Travere.

Cognito Therapeutics has reeled in Greg Weaver as CFO. Not his first time in the position, Weaver was CFO at Atossa Therapeutics, BioIntelliSense, atai Life Sciences and Eloxx Pharmaceuticals.

Deepshikha Bhandari

→ The cancer genomics experts at Personalis have appointed Deepshikha Bhandari as SVP, regulatory, quality and clinical compliance. Bhandari was the VP of regulatory affairs at Grail and Roche Diagnostics.

→ CRO Novotech has enlisted Rick Farris as managing director for North America and David Ng as global VP for biometrics and data management. Farris was most recently VP operations at IQVIA, while Ng was VP of biometrics at WuXi Clinical, a subsidiary of WuXi AppTec.

Cellectar Biosciences has rolled out the welcome mat for two new team members with the appointments of William Yoon as VP, medical affairs and Aaditya Nanduri as VP, business strategy and analytics. Yoon joins the Florham Park, NJ-based biotech after a gig at ImmunoGen and a nearly 20-year stint with Novartis. Meanwhile, Nanduri hops aboard after stints at BeiGene, Celgene and Ernst & Young.

John Maraganore

→ It’s been a while since we’ve wheeled out the Maraganore Meter in Peer Review, but ex-Alnylam CEO John Maraganore is back with another scientific advisory board appointment, this time at Totus Medicines. Lewis Cantley and UCSF’s Kevan Shokat are also on the SAB at Totus, which is going after PI3Kα first with its lead candidate TOS-358.

Resilience president, COO and CFO Sandy Mahatme has punched his ticket to the board of directors at CRISPR Therapeutics, which includes gene therapy luminary Kathy High, SR One’s Simeon George and Lassen Therapeutics CEO Maria Fardis. Mahatme has a seat on the board at Idorsia and spent nearly eight years as Sarepta’s CFO and CBO.

David Meek

→ Ex-Mirati CEO David Meek leads a trio of new board members at radiopharma player Fusion Pharmaceuticals. He’s joined by Teresa Bitetti, the president of Takeda’s global oncology business unit, and Day One Biopharmaceuticals CEO Jeremy Bender.

→ Olema Oncology has made room for ex-PACT Pharma CEO Scott Garland on the board of directors. Garland, who’s also been president and CEO of Portola, has board seats at Day One Biopharmaceuticals and ALX Oncology.

Kate Haviland

→ The board of directors at Bicara Therapeutics has grown to nine members with the additions of Kate Haviland and Scott Robertson. Haviland replaced Jeff Albers as CEO of Blueprint Medicines in April 2022, and Robertson is the ex-chief business and financial officer at DICE Therapeutics, the immunology biotech that Eli Lilly snapped up this summer for $2.4 billion.

Illumina once had designs on buying PacBio, which is gaining on the DNA sequencing giant and has added ex-Moderna and Amgen CFO David Meline to the board of directors. Meline will also be a board member at HP starting Nov. 1.

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Japanese yen stays adrift, core CPI falls below 3%

Japanese core CPI falls below 3% Fed’s Powell says inflation too high, economy too strong The Japanese yen is slightly lower on Friday. In the European…



  • Japanese core CPI falls below 3%
  • Fed’s Powell says inflation too high, economy too strong

The Japanese yen is slightly lower on Friday. In the European session, USD/JPY is trading at 149.96, up 0.12%. The yen has shown little movement this week and continues to hover just shy of the symbolic 150 level. In early October, the yen breached 150 and then spiked sharply lower. It’s looking very likely that the yen will again breach 150 shortly.

Japan’s core inflation eases below 3%

Japanese core CPI, which excludes fresh food, slowed to 2.8% y/y in September, versus 3.1% in August but above the market consensus of 2.7%. The print fell below the 3% level for the first time since August 2022 but has now exceeded the Bank of Japan’s 2% target for 18 straight months. The “core-core” rate, which excludes fresh food and energy prices and is considered by the BoJ a better gauge of inflation trends, dropped from 4.3% to 4.2% in September, higher than the market consensus of 4.1%.

Inflation has been slowly easing, but the downtrend faces some possible headwinds. The yen continues to lose ground and tensions in the Middle East have raised fears that oil prices could hit $100 or higher. If oil prices rise or the yen continues to decline, the result will be higher inflation.

How will the Bank of Japan react to potential oil inflation and the weakening yen? The central bank holds a two-day meeting ending on October 31st and may have to revise its quarterly inflation and growth forecasts. The markets are on alert for the BoJ to phase out its massive stimulus but BoJ policy makers haven’t shown signs of shifting policy.

In the US, it’s a very light data calendar, highlighted by a speech from FOMC member Patrick Harker. On Thursday, Fed Chair Jerome Powell said that inflation was still too high and that growth would need to slow if inflation is to fall to the 2% target. Powell noted that further hikes might not be needed, as the rise in Treasury yields could help dampen growth and lower inflation.


USD/JPY Technical

  • 150.22 is a weak resistance line, followed by resistance at 150.86.
  • 149.19 and 148.55 are providing support

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