April 20, 2021
Bio SmartBrief
Today's Top Story
Experts remain concerned about people who are hesitant to get inoculated with a coronavirus vaccine or those who believe vaccination is not needed despite expanded eligibility in all US states as of Monday, suggesting strategies such as using celebrity role models and constant motivation from relatives and friends to convince people to get vaccinated. "Solving for vaccine hesitancy will be absolutely critical to ending this pandemic and revitalizing local economies across the country," said Dr. Michelle McMurry-Heath, president and CEO of BIO.
Full Story: USA Today (4/19) 
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Breaking down the Pfizer deal with BioNTech CCO
Learn from BioNTech how they found the perfect partner to develop and distribute the first COVID-19 vaccine approved worldwide. Watch the fireside chat recording to deconstruct the Pfizer-BioNtech deal.
Health Care & Policy
All US individuals ages 16 and older can now receive a COVID-19 vaccine, according to the CDC, which said those with underlying medical conditions that raise the risk for serious complications should be given priority. Nearly 211.6 million COVID-19 vaccine doses had been administered in the US as of Monday, with more than 85.3 million people now fully vaccinated.
Full Story: Reuters (4/19),  Reuters (4/20) 
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Curis' investigational drug CA-4948 was granted orphan drug status by the FDA as a treatment for myelodysplastic syndrome and acute myeloid leukemia. The drug is also being tested as a monotherapy as well as in combination with Janssen and Pharmacyclics' Imbruvica, or ibrutinib, as a treatment for non-Hodgkin lymphoma.
Full Story: Healio (free registration)/HemOnc Today (4/19) 
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The FDA has agreed to the priority review of Astellas and Seagen's two supplemental biologics license applications for Padcev, or enfortumab vedotin-ejfv, to treat metastatic or locally advanced urothelial cancer. The applications' reviews will be undertaken as part of the FDA Oncology Center of Excellence initiative Project Orbis and has an Aug. 17 target action date.
Full Story: Healio (free registration)/HemOnc Today (4/19) 
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Company & Financial News
Instead of building large manufacturing facilities, Avrobio makes its lentiviral-based gene therapies in small, automated pods from Miltenyi Biotec typically used for bone marrow transplants. The pods can be installed in rented clean rooms and are easily scaled, which facilitates regulatory compliance and allows the company to use a localized manufacturing chain and store each patient's stem cells nearby, says founder and CEO Geoff MacKay.
Full Story: Endpoints News (free registration) (4/15) 
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Adagio, a startup developing an antibody that can treat and prevent COVID-19 regardless of how much it mutates, raised $336 million in its Series C funding round. With the new capital it will continue work on a promising drug candidate which is now in clinical trials.
Full Story: Forbes (tiered subscription model) (4/19) 
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Recursion Pharmaceuticals has raised its initial public offering fundraising target to $374 million, from $100 million originally, and added another 4 million shares to the flotation. Mubadala Investment and Baillie Gifford plan to buy as much as $125 million worth of the shares.
Full Story: FierceBiotech (4/16) 
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Global Developments
Pregnant women can be offered a COVID-19 vaccine in the UK, according to a recommendation made by the Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunization after they reviewed real-world US data on an estimated 90,000 pregnant women inoculated with mRNA vaccines developed by Moderna and Pfizer/BioNTech. Public Health England said in a statement that there have been no specific pregnancy-related safety concerns identified with any coronavirus vaccine.
Full Story: PharmaTimes online (UK) (4/19) 
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Ag & Environment
London's Science Museum will host a novel exhibit next month dubbed Our Future Planet, which focuses on carbon capture and will showcase products made with the technology, such as toothpaste tubes, vodka bottles, yoga mats and pens. The exhibit will also feature prototypes of the machines that harvest the gases, such as the Lackner artificial tree that breathes in carbon dioxide and releases oxygen.
Full Story: The Guardian (London) (free registration) (4/18) 
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The Environmental Protection Agency has forwarded to the White House Office of Management and Budget earlier this month an advanced notice of proposed rulemaking to rescind a Trump-era rule that was finalized in December relevant to the way the EPA weighed costs and benefits of Clean Air Act regulations.
Full Story: Biomass Magazine online (4/19) 
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The Latest From BIO
We have the tools to counter the effects of climate change, prevent the next pandemic, and build resiliency. Thanks to biotechnology, we have solutions for reducing GHG emissions, eliminating plastic waste, making food more sustainable and nutritious, and creating jobs. This is biotechnology's moment -- but to seize it, we need effective collaboration with policymakers, and specifically, policies that accelerate biotechnology. Here's what BIO is doing to get there. Read the blog.
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Brad is an investor who believes that investing in the advancement of medicine will benefit more patients. Watch the video.
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In today's challenging times, employees are seeking benefits packages with greater security. In fact, 37% of employees would rather receive more-substantial benefits than additional salary/wages or bonuses (according to a Global Benefits Attitudes Survey by Willis Towers Watson), and 63% expect at least one expanded benefit (according to the 2020-2021 Aflac WorkForces Report). With BIO Health Plans, you can give your employees the coverage and security they desire. Our plans comply completely with ACA, FFCRA and CARES regulations. Plus, you can offer your employees additional medical benefit perks, including telehealth, convenient mail-order prescriptions, and online support. Get started today.
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The news summaries appearing in BIO SmartBrief are based on original information from news organizations and are produced by SmartBrief, Inc., an independent e-mail newsletter publisher. The information is not compiled or summarized by BIO. Questions and comments should be directed to SmartBrief at bio@smartbrief.com.
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