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Trump Might Win And Have Dems To Thank

Trump Might Win And Have Dems To Thank

Authored by Andy Puzder via RealClear Wire,

Former President Trump has held a slight lead in the RealClearPolitics…

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Trump Might Win And Have Dems To Thank

Authored by Andy Puzder via RealClear Wire,

Former President Trump has held a slight lead in the RealClearPolitics Average of the polls since around September 11. While his lead is well within the margin of error, Democrats find it disconcerting that Biden is struggling against Trump. They have unceasingly berated, twice impeached, and four times indicted Trump, yet his support has grown. But Democrats shouldn’t be surprised. In important respects, Trump has them to thank for the strength of his support.  

There are always a lot of moving pieces in an election and it’s early, but Trump’s current support basically comes from three groups: Those who know, love, and miss him; those who may not miss him but miss 2019’s peace and prosperity; and those who believe Democrats are corrupting our justice system to persecute a political opponent. Since 2020, Democrats have solidified support for Trump with the first two groups to the point where you have to wonder whether it was intentional – and then they literally created the third group.

Democrats have made no effort to convert the Trump diehards – flyover country conservatives who hold traditional views of God, country, and family. Among other derogatory references, Biden has berated these voters as “an extremist movement that does not share the basic beliefs of our democracy: the MAGA movement.” That would be all those flag-waving Americans at Trump rallies.

After deriding Trump supporters as a “basket of deplorables” in 2016, former presidential candidate Hillary Clinton recently doubled down, calling them “cult members” who may require “a formal deprogramming.”

Suffice it to say, these voters aren’t going anywhere. They have nowhere to go.

And who doesn’t miss 2019’s low inflation, low interest rates, low unemployment, secure border, urban calm, peace breaking out in the Middle East, and no one seriously contemplating World War III. You get nostalgic just thinking about it. The pandemic paused the momentum, but we could have returned to pre-pandemic levels of peace and prosperity when it ended. In fact, at the end of Trump’s term in office, the economy was poised for a major recovery.

But the Biden administration’s excessive spending, anti-U.S. energy policies, lax border security, and utterly incompetent foreign policy rapidly put an end to all that. You can’t really blame people for wanting a return to the days when lower taxes, reduced regulation, a focus on domestic energy production, and a strong – and competent – foreign policy led to both peace and prosperity. The Democrats have made it patently obvious that those are not their policies – they were Trump’s.

While Democrats deserve significant credit for Trump’s strength with the first two groups of voters, they deserve all the credit for the third. This group only exists because Democrats are prosecuting a political opponent for blatantly political reasons.

No president or former president was ever indicted until this pre-election year when four separate Democrat prosecutors targeted and brought charges of questionable validity against a former president – who also ­­­­­happens to be the leading Republican candidate for president. While experts from both parties have questioned the legal gymnastics employed to pursue these charges, polling indicates that the American people can see through this thin veneer of legitimacy on their own. They know no Democrat would have been criminally charged for what the Democrats claim Trump did. In fact, none have been.

There’s a 24-minute YouTube video of Democrats denying election results without fear of prosecution.

President Biden had top secret documents from his time as VP – which he had no right to possess – sitting in his garage (and elsewhere) without fear of prosecution.

Hillary Clinton’s staff used a software program called “BleachBit,” to wipe data from her computer server containing thousands of government emails she had no right to possess – including top secret emails. FBI Director James Comey said at the time that “[w]hile there is evidence of potential violations regarding the handling of classified information, our judgment is that no reasonable prosecutor would bring such a case.” Voters may well wonder whether the rules of reason have changed.

In perhaps the most absurd case, a Trump-hating New York prosecutor, who ran on a promise to target him, is threatening to destroy Trump’s family business for allegedly overstating the value of assets to obtain loans. It is undisputed that the loans were never in default, were paid off in full, and that no lenders have complained they were misled.

Of course they haven’t. Any American who has purchased a home knows it doesn’t matter what you tell the lender you think the home is worth. Banks don’t lend based on the borrower’s assessment of an asset’s value. Banks do an independent appraisal and lend based on their own appraisal.

You don’t have to find Trump a sympathetic figure to know that sacrificing the legitimacy of our judicial system to destroy a political opponent threatens what Biden called “the basic beliefs of our democracy.”

This obvious abuse has also solidified support among Trump’s other supporters, dissuading them from switching to other primary candidate. Some see this as the Democrats’ plan to strengthen Trump in the primaries because they believe he is the candidate they can beat. Personally, I believe the Democrats are driven more by blind hatred at this point than reason. But, if that is their plan, it’s a risky one.

Keep in mind that we elect presidents through the electoral college, not by popular vote. Democrat voters are concentrated in heavily populated urban areas in blue states, driving up the percentage of Democrat votes in those states. But winning 51% of a state’s popular vote produces no more electoral college votes than winning 100%, as losing presidential candidates – but popular vote victors – Al Gore and Hillary Clinton can attest.

So, a tie in the popular vote (as reflected in the current polling) augurs well for Trump’s chances. Combining Trump diehards and those nostalgic for 2019 with voters repulsed by political persecution just might be enough to reelect our 45th president as our 47th. If so, we’ll have some overreaching Democrat prosecutors to thank.

Andrew F. Puzder is the former CEO of CKE Restaurants, Inc. and a senior fellow at the Heritage Foundation and the Pepperdine University School of Public Policy.

Tyler Durden Mon, 10/16/2023 - 17:55

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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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