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Top Republican Threatens To Subpoena DHS Secretary If Friday Deadline Missed

Top Republican Threatens To Subpoena DHS Secretary If Friday Deadline Missed

Department of Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas…

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Top Republican Threatens To Subpoena DHS Secretary If Friday Deadline Missed

Department of Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas can expect a subpoena from the House Homeland Security Committee if the DHS fails to meet a Friday deadline for producing materials spanning 19 separate categories of documents that may shed light on Mexican drug cartels which compromised the 'CBP One' app used by migrants to help them enter the US.

Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas testifies before the House Judicary Committee in Washington on April 28, 2022. (Kevin Dietsch/Getty Images)

The app, launched in October 2020 by US Customs and Border Patrol (CBP), was designed as a tool for shippers and other legal border traffic to maximize efficiency when scheduling movements into the US. It was quickly seized upon by Mayorkas in early 2021 as a method to increase the flow of immigrants in an orderly manner.

Of note, more than six million migrants have crossed the southern US border since Biden took office in January 2021.

In July, Mayorkas told the House Judiciary Committee that the app enabled migrants to schedule their entrance at a US Port of Entry, which "cuts out the smuggling organizations" and helps DHS identify individuals who shouldn't enter the country.

Now, the cartels have figured out how to compromise the app to schedule entry appointments for individuals who are early into their journeys north, allowing the Cartel to profit by charging immigrants to assist their entry.

As the Epoch Times further notes; Beginning last summer, Republican investigators led by committee Chairman Mark Green (R-Tenn.) have pressured Mr. Mayorkas to turn over documents indicating that DHS uses the app to facilitate entry into the country of individuals the department is not authorized to allow to cross the border.

Secretary Mayorkas created a massive security vulnerability. This is unacceptable and too important to ignore, and the American people demand and deserve answers. The committee is simply requesting relevant documents that would provide Congress, a co-equal branch of government, and the American people with vital information about what’s happening at our Southwest border. Given the impact that the CBP One app has had on our border security, the committee will get to the bottom of this, one way or another,” Mr. Green told The Epoch Times.

Repeated requests by the committee to DHS failed to generate production of any of the documents being sought by investigators. So, Mr. Green is now putting the threat of subpoenas on the table with DHS.

Rep. Mark Green (R-Tenn.) speaks during a House Foreign Affairs Committee hearing on the U.S.-Afghanistan relationship following the military withdrawal, on Capitol Hill in Washington, on May 18, 2021. (Mandel Ngan/AFP via Getty Images)

“The committee requires the requested documents, communications, and other information to fully evaluate potential legislation to reform the department’s authority to use CBP One to issue an illegal alien advanced travel authorization and grant parole into the United States," Mr. Green wrote in an Oct. 13 letter to Mr. Mayorkas obtained by The Epoch Times.

“The committee is concerned that the department’s use of CBP One to facilitate parole for large classes of illegal aliens extends beyond the department’s statutory parole authority that allows release of detainable illegal aliens applying for admission ‘on a case-by-case basis for urgent humanitarian reasons or significant public benefit …’

“The committee seeks legislative solutions to further clarify limits on the department’s parole authority. If the outstanding requests related to CBP One remain unsatisfied by 5:00 p.m. on October 20, 2023, I will consider utilizing compulsory process. I expect prompt and complete compliance with all the committee’s outstanding requests for documents and other information.”

The reference to "compulsory process" is to the power of the committee to issue subpoenas for the documents to Mr. Mayorkas, members of his legislation relations team, and other DHS employees, both Biden administration political appointees and career civil servants, who may be involved in responding to congressional requests.

Mexican marines escort five alleged Zeta drug cartel traffickers in front of seized items - RPG-7 rocket launcher, hand grenades, firearms, cocaine, and military uniforms - presented to the press on June 9th, 2011. A report states the Mexican government and drug cartels are responsible for more than 150,000 deaths between 2006 and 2015. (YURI CORTEZ/AFP/Getty Images)

A knowledgeable congressional source who asked not to be identified told The Epoch Times that "the national security implications are that the cartels are just able to manipulate everything that the Secretary is doing to continue their operations."

The source added that "the Secretary claimed the CBP One app cut the cartels out by allowing individuals to make their appointments ... but now the cartels are involved in making money on that, too, so they haven't cut the cartels out, the cartels are still in control. It's become another stream of income for them."

Investigators are concerned that half of the individuals covered by CBP data are single male adults, many of them of military age, coming in illegally.

"That they are using CBP One doesn't change the demographics of those coming in ... so of course the cartels can exploit CBP One to try to get in whoever they want. Somebody who does have terrorist ties that the U.S. may be aware of ... those are the people that are going to be among the 'gotaways.' But people that may have terrorist ties we don't know of, sure, there is no reason the cartels wouldn't partner with terrorist organizations to exploit entry," the source continued.

A second knowledgeable congressional source, when asked by The Epoch Times if events in Israel since the Hamas massacre of Oct. 7 add urgency to the committee's investigation, said, "The answer to that question is yes, but also, the mere fact that this app has been used to facilitate the cartels' business here is unacceptable to start with. That's beyond this war, that's beyond terrorists smuggling across the border. But one of the things the committee's [document demands] get to is trying to figure out this app's vulnerabilities because it opens the door so widely."

A spokesman for Mr. Mayorkas did not respond to The Epoch Times' request for comment.

Tyler Durden Wed, 10/18/2023 - 18:20

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Glimpse Of Sanity: Dartmouth Returns Standardized Testing For Admission After Failed Experiment

Glimpse Of Sanity: Dartmouth Returns Standardized Testing For Admission After Failed Experiment

In response to the virus pandemic and nationwide…

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Glimpse Of Sanity: Dartmouth Returns Standardized Testing For Admission After Failed Experiment

In response to the virus pandemic and nationwide Black Lives Matter riots in the summer of 2020, some elite colleges and universities shredded testing requirements for admission. Several years later, the test-optional admission has yet to produce the promising results for racial and class-based equity that many woke academic institutions wished.

The failure of test-optional admission policies has forced Dartmouth College to reinstate standardized test scores for admission starting next year. This should never have been eliminated, as merit will always prevail. 

"Nearly four years later, having studied the role of testing in our admissions process as well as its value as a predictor of student success at Dartmouth, we are removing the extended pause and reactivating the standardized testing requirement for undergraduate admission, effective with the Class of 2029," Dartmouth wrote in a press release Monday morning. 

"For Dartmouth, the evidence supporting our reactivation of a required testing policy is clear. Our bottom line is simple: we believe a standardized testing requirement will improve—not detract from—our ability to bring the most promising and diverse students to our campus," the elite college said. 

Who would've thought eliminating standardized tests for admission because a fringe minority said they were instruments of racism and a biased system was ever a good idea? 

Also, it doesn't take a rocket scientist to figure this out. More from Dartmouth, who commissioned the research: 

They also found that test scores represent an especially valuable tool to identify high-achieving applicants from low and middle-income backgrounds; who are first-generation college-bound; as well as students from urban and rural backgrounds.

All the colleges and universities that quickly adopted test-optional admissions in 2020 experienced a surge in applications. Perhaps the push for test-optional was under the guise of woke equality but was nothing more than protecting the bottom line for these institutions. 

A glimpse of sanity returns to woke schools: Admit qualified kids. Next up is corporate America and all tiers of the US government. 

Tyler Durden Mon, 02/05/2024 - 17:20

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Four burning questions about the future of the $16.5B Novo-Catalent deal

To build or to buy? That’s a classic question for pharma boardrooms, and Novo Nordisk is going with both.
Beyond spending billions of dollars to expand…

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To build or to buy? That’s a classic question for pharma boardrooms, and Novo Nordisk is going with both.

Beyond spending billions of dollars to expand its own production capacity for its weight loss drugs, the Danish drugmaker said Monday it will pay $11 billion to acquire three manufacturing plants from Catalent. It’s part of a broader $16.5 billion deal with Novo Holdings, the investment arm of the pharma’s parent group, which agreed to acquire the contract manufacturer and take it private.

It’s a big deal for all parties, with potential ripple effects across the biotech ecosystem. Here’s a look at some of the most pressing questions to watch after Monday’s announcement.

Why did Novo do this?

Novo Holdings isn’t the most obvious buyer for Catalent, particularly after last year’s on-and-off M&A interest from the serial acquirer Danaher. But the deal could benefit both Novo Holdings and Novo Nordisk.

Novo Nordisk’s biggest challenge has been simply making enough of the weight loss drug Wegovy and diabetes therapy Ozempic. On last week’s earnings call, Novo Nordisk CEO Lars Fruergaard Jørgensen said the company isn’t constrained by capital in its efforts to boost manufacturing. Rather, the main challenge is the limited amount of capabilities out there, he said.

“Most pharmaceutical companies in the world would be shopping among the same manufacturers,” he said. “There’s not an unlimited amount of machinery and people to build it.”

While Novo was already one of Catalent’s major customers, the manufacturer has been hamstrung by its own balance sheet. With roughly $5 billion in debt on its books, it’s had to juggle paying down debt with sufficiently investing in its facilities. That’s been particularly challenging in keeping pace with soaring demand for GLP-1 drugs.

Novo, on the other hand, has the balance sheet to funnel as much money as needed into the plants in Italy, Belgium, and Indiana. It’s also struggled to make enough of its popular GLP-1 drugs to meet their soaring demand, with documented shortages of both Ozempic and Wegovy.

The impact won’t be immediate. The parties expect the deal to close near the end of 2024. Novo Nordisk said it expects the three new sites to “gradually increase Novo Nordisk’s filling capacity from 2026 and onwards.”

As for the rest of Catalent — nearly 50 other sites employing thousands of workers — Novo Holdings will take control. The group previously acquired Altasciences in 2021 and Ritedose in 2022, so the Catalent deal builds on a core investing interest in biopharma services, Novo Holdings CEO Kasim Kutay told Endpoints News.

Kasim Kutay

When asked about possible site closures or layoffs, Kutay said the team hasn’t thought about that.

“That’s not our track record. Our track record is to invest in quality businesses and help them grow,” he said. “There’s always stuff to do with any asset you own, but we haven’t bought this company to do some of the stuff you’re talking about.”

What does it mean for Catalent’s customers? 

Until the deal closes, Catalent will operate as a standalone business. After it closes, Novo Nordisk said it will honor its customer obligations at the three sites, a spokesperson said. But they didn’t answer a question about what happens when those contracts expire.

The wrinkle is the long-term future of the three plants that Novo Nordisk is paying for. Those sites don’t exclusively pump out Wegovy, but that could be the logical long-term aim for the Danish drugmaker.

The ideal scenario is that pricing and timelines remain the same for customers, said Nicole Paulk, CEO of the gene therapy startup Siren Biotechnology.

Nicole Paulk

“The name of the group that you’re going to send your check to is now going to be Novo Holdings instead of Catalent, but otherwise everything remains the same,” Paulk told Endpoints. “That’s the best-case scenario.”

In a worst case, Paulk said she feared the new owners could wind up closing sites or laying off Catalent groups. That could create some uncertainty for customers looking for a long-term manufacturing partner.

Are shareholders and regulators happy? 

The pandemic was a wild ride for Catalent’s stock, with shares surging from about $40 to $140 and then crashing back to earth. The $63.50 share price for the takeover is a happy ending depending on the investor.

On that point, the investing giant Elliott Investment Management is satisfied. Marc Steinberg, a partner at Elliott, called the agreement “an outstanding outcome” that “clearly maximizes value for Catalent stockholders” in a statement.

Elliott helped kick off a strategic review last August that culminated in the sale agreement. Compared to Catalent’s stock price before that review started, the deal pays a nearly 40% premium.

Alessandro Maselli

But this is hardly a victory lap for CEO Alessandro Maselli, who took over in July 2022 when Catalent’s stock price was north of $100. Novo’s takeover is a tacit acknowledgment that Maselli could never fully right the ship, as operational problems plagued the company throughout 2023 while it was limited by its debt.

Additional regulatory filings in the next few weeks could give insight into just how competitive the sale process was. William Blair analysts said they don’t expect a competing bidder “given the organic investments already being pursued at other leading CDMOs and the breadth and scale of Catalent’s operations.”

The Blair analysts also noted the companies likely “expect to spend some time educating relevant government agencies” about the deal, given the lengthy closing timeline. Given Novo Nordisk’s ascent — it’s now one of Europe’s most valuable companies — paired with the limited number of large contract manufacturers, antitrust regulators could be interested in taking a close look.

Are Catalent’s problems finally a thing of the past?

Catalent ran into a mix of financial and operational problems over the past year that played no small part in attracting the interest of an activist like Elliott.

Now with a deal in place, how quickly can Novo rectify those problems? Some of the challenges were driven by the demands of being a publicly traded company, like failing to meet investors’ revenue expectations or even filing earnings reports on time.

But Catalent also struggled with its business at times, with a range of manufacturing delays, inspection reports and occasionally writing down acquisitions that didn’t pan out. Novo’s deep pockets will go a long way to a turnaround, but only the future will tell if all these issues are fixed.

Kutay said his team is excited by the opportunity and was satisfied with the due diligence it did on the company.

“We believe we’re buying a strong company with a good management team and good prospects,” Kutay said. “If that wasn’t the case, I don’t think we’d be here.”

Amber Tong and Reynald Castañeda contributed reporting.

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Petrina Kamya, Ph.D., Head of AI Platforms at Insilico Medicine, presents at BIO CEO & Investor Conference

Petrina Kamya, PhD, Head of AI Platforms and President of Insilico Medicine Canada, will present at the BIO CEO & Investor Conference happening Feb….

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Petrina Kamya, PhD, Head of AI Platforms and President of Insilico Medicine Canada, will present at the BIO CEO & Investor Conference happening Feb. 26-27 at the New York Marriott Marquis in New York City. Dr. Kamya will speak as part of the panel “AI within Biopharma: Separating Value from Hype,” on Feb. 27, 1pm ET along with Michael Nally, CEO of Generate: Biomedicines and Liz Schwarzbach, PhD, CBO of BigHat Biosciences.

Credit: Insilico Medicine

Petrina Kamya, PhD, Head of AI Platforms and President of Insilico Medicine Canada, will present at the BIO CEO & Investor Conference happening Feb. 26-27 at the New York Marriott Marquis in New York City. Dr. Kamya will speak as part of the panel “AI within Biopharma: Separating Value from Hype,” on Feb. 27, 1pm ET along with Michael Nally, CEO of Generate: Biomedicines and Liz Schwarzbach, PhD, CBO of BigHat Biosciences.

The session will look at how the latest artificial intelligence (AI) tools – including generative AI and large language models – are currently being used to advance the discovery and design of new drugs, and which technologies are still in development. 

The BIO CEO & Investor Conference brings together over 1,000 attendees and more than 700 companies across industry and institutional investment to discuss the future investment landscape of biotechnology. Sessions focus on topics such as therapeutic advancements, market outlook, and policy priorities.

Insilico Medicine is a leading, clinical stage AI-driven drug discovery company that has raised over $400m in investments since it was founded in 2014. Dr. Kamya leads the development of the Company’s end-to-end generative AI platform, Pharma.AI from Insilico’s AI R&D Center in Montreal. Using modern machine learning techniques in the context of chemistry and biology, the platform has driven the discovery and design of 30+ new therapies, with five in clinical stages – for cancer, fibrosis, inflammatory bowel disease (IBD), and COVID-19. The Company’s lead drug, for the chronic, rare lung condition idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis, is the first AI-designed drug for an AI-discovered target to reach Phase II clinical trials with patients. Nine of the top 20 pharmaceutical companies have used Insilico’s AI platform to advance their programs, and the Company has a number of major strategic licensing deals around its AI-designed therapeutic assets, including with Sanofi, Exelixis and Menarini. 

 

About Insilico Medicine

Insilico Medicine, a global clinical stage biotechnology company powered by generative AI, is connecting biology, chemistry, and clinical trials analysis using next-generation AI systems. The company has developed AI platforms that utilize deep generative models, reinforcement learning, transformers, and other modern machine learning techniques for novel target discovery and the generation of novel molecular structures with desired properties. Insilico Medicine is developing breakthrough solutions to discover and develop innovative drugs for cancer, fibrosis, immunity, central nervous system diseases, infectious diseases, autoimmune diseases, and aging-related diseases. www.insilico.com 


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