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War Delirium

War Delirium

Authored by James Howard Kunstler via Kunstler.com,

“This will not stand, ya know, this aggression will not stand, man.”…

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War Delirium

Authored by James Howard Kunstler via Kunstler.com,

“This will not stand, ya know, this aggression will not stand, man.”

- Jeffrey (“the Dude”) Lebowski

Pity the poor president.

“Joe Biden” must decide now whether to go to war with Iran or Texas.

Which will it be? Or might it be both?

That Governor Abbott turns out to be the Putin of the purple sage!

How does he dare interfere with the orderly flow of new voters — fine people! — across that filthy little river of his?

Does he not understand that we need at least a couple million more live bodies allocated around the swing states to ensure a free and fair election?

What does Hunter (“the smartest person I know”) make of Dad’s quandary, I wonder. With enough eau-de-coca on-board, Hunter must think in Biblical terms. . . great flowing Jacobean passages of elevated language: in my father’s house are many mansions: Verily, verily, I say unto you, somewhere there is a room I left that little baggie in. . . but where. . . ? The works that I do shall he do also; and greater works than these shall he do; because I go unto my Dad.

Well, forget Hunter. Everybody else has, thank goodness, at least for now. Let’s face it: having a rage-filled addict in the family is tiresome. Anyway, Merrick Garland has got him covered with “an on-going investigation.” (Questions? Sorry, can’t answer any.)

“Joe Biden,” in his on-going delirium-of-age wanders from room to room in the empty mansion that is his mind. How did I get in this room? he wonders. And how do I get out of itCan somebody please point the way? Alas, his position is the loneliest in the world. There is no one to point the way out. There is only this ceaseless wandering from room to room in this vast emptiness. Where is the room with Texas in it? The room where Iran sleeps? The room where Ukraine lies a’gasp with a sucking chest wound? Watch out, he’ll start shouting soon. Calling Dr. Jill: Code Blue. . . !

The world may be a disaster these days, but the White House is a bigger disaster.

Can you name the White House chief of staff? Betcha can’t. Know why? He never, ever comes out and speaks to that mob in the press room. He might have to answer some difficult questions, such as: if the president’s brain is switched off more than half the time, who decides what to do with that ‘nuclear football’ they carry around with him. Is it. . . you? By the way, the chief of staff’s name is Jeff Zients. Ever heard him? Of course not. He has a page on “X”. The most recent thing he posted was July, 25, 2023. Good thing not much has happened since then.

The question then: should “Joe Biden” just go ahead and nuke Texas? “JB” is thinking: What good is the place with that Putin wannabe running it? Buncha cattle and those ridiculous hatsThe official head-gear of white supremacyProbably millions of them down there, clutching their beloved gunsI’ve got news for youWanna play hardball? We’ve got F-16s. Try shooting one of those Vipers down with your 30-ought-6 when it’s coming in low over Plano on after-burners at eleven hundred miles an hour, bristling with Sidewinder missilesAnyway, for a nice strip steak, go to Kansas City. Fuggedabowt Texas. KaboomNot a joke!

As for Iran. . . another $6-billion could keep them quiet for a while. Turns out that mullahs really like money. Do you know how many virgins you can buy for $6-billion here on Planet Earth? Why blow yourself up for them? Especially since you don’t know for a hundred percent sure that there is a place called heaven, or that it’s mainly a seraglio? By the way, why does our country (that’d be the USA) have all these little military outposts scattered around the desert wastelands of Jordan, Syria, and other lands of the Middle East? Did the one called Tower Two that got blown up a few days ago have a target painted on it? Might as well have. You think the “other side” doesn’t have satellite imagery of the terrain? Kind of looks like we’re asking for trouble. And, also by the way, how come two of the three US soldiers killed there were girls? Is that how we do war these days? With a girlie army? Who actually thinks that’s going to work?

Apparently, “Joe Biden.” Be advised: there is chatter coming out of this mysterious White House about bringing back the military draft. Remember what that is, Boomers? Remember Country Joe and the Fish singing: “Be the first one on your block to have your boy come home in a box.” That was back in the Vietnam days. Fifty-thousand-plus KIA. Only now we’ll be drafting girls (and probably some boys who want to be girls). I guess we’ll figure out now how gung-ho Gen Z really is.

You didn’t ask, but things are not going so well in our remote-control war in Ukraine against Russia (Putinland). Our Zelensky team (we own it) got completely rope-a-doped, punched itself out, its knees are buckling. Victoria Nuland, the renowned State Department girlie war-hawk, says she’s confident that Congress will pass the new $61 billion aid package for the Z-team, according to Radio Free Europe, the blob’s official propaganda outlet. The blob wants you to think that Putin wants to turn all of Europe into Putinland. I’m sure. Tori Nuland probably thinks we can save Ukraine with the fabulous girlie army and some snazzy new drones from McDonnell Douglas. Hey, it’s war, war, war. Bomb them all — Iran, Russia, Texas — and let God sort them out.

Speaking of blob propaganda outlets, here’s a doozy from blob tentacle The New York Times  this Friday morning to boost your morale. Blob suck-up, Stephen Colbert, the late-night TV genius-level jester last seen dancing in a chorus line costumed as Covid-19 vaccination syringes, informs us that “Joe Biden” is catnip to the ladies because his aviator Ray-bans remind them of Robert Stack in The High and the Mighty.

Stephen Colbert imitated President Biden talking with women: “They love that thing where I’m the last one standing between them and the Supreme Court putting a GoPro in their uterus.” Credit: CBS

Silly me, I thought they loved the president for his mind.  You know, “Joe Biden” is running for re-election. No, really. Not a joke.

*  *  *

Support his blog by visiting Jim’s Patreon Page or Substack

Tyler Durden Fri, 02/02/2024 - 20:20

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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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International

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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