Good Day BIO: Biotech propels world’s first passenger flight using 100% SAF
December 2, 2021
We witnessed aviation history: the landing of the first commercial passenger flight using 100% SAF. We tell you more, and how a BIO member helped make it happen. Plus, with the Senate set to consider drug price controls, a leading advocate for older adults explains why…
The only newsletter at the intersection of biotech, politics, and policy
December 2, 2021
We witnessed aviation history: the landing of the first commercial passenger flight using 100% SAF. We tell you more, and how a BIO member helped make it happen. Plus, with the Senate set to consider drug price controls, a leading advocate for older adults explains why the proposal would harm America’s seniors. (752 words, 3 minutes, 45 seconds)
World’s first passenger flight using 100% SAF takes off thanks to biotechnology
The fuel: The SAF utilizes BIO member Virent’s BioForm® synthesized aromatic kerosene (SAK) made from plant-based feedstocks. Blended with HEFA (hydroprocessed esters and fatty acids), it’s a 100% renewable “drop-in” replacement for conventional jet fuel in today’s commercial aircraft, eliminating the need for petroleum-based fuel.
The impact: “SAF has the potential to deliver the performance of petroleum-based jet fuel but with a fraction of its carbon footprint, and according to the U.S. Department of Energy, the country's vast feedstock resources are enough to meet the projected fuel demand of the entire U.S. aviation industry,” said the announcement.
What they’re saying: “We're excited to partner with this group of innovative companies that are leading the way in sustainable aviation,” said Dave Kettner, President and General Counsel of Virent. “Virent's proprietary technology demonstrates that SAF can be 100% renewable and 100% compatible with our current aviation fleet and infrastructure.”
What’s next? The flight was operated by United Airlines in partnership with Virent, Boeing, CFM International, and World Energy. United has committed to purchase more than 7 million gallons of SAF, which will eliminate 66,000 metric tons of GHG emissions and fly 460 million miles.
More Agriculture & Environment News:
SAB Biotherapeutics: SAB Announces SAB-176 Met its Primary Endpoint in Phase 2a Challenge Study in Adults Infected with Influenza Virus Today the biotech company announced that SAB-176, its investigational therapeutic for the treatment of seasonal influenza, achieved statistically significant (p = 0.026) reductions in viral load and clinical signs and symptoms compared to placebo in a Phase 2a challenge study.
Image 1: United Airlines. Image 2: BIO. Image 3: BIO.
Opinion: ‘Exploiting Alzheimer’s disease to pass drug pricing is NOT okay’
Alzheimer’s is being used as a rationale to increase Medicare premiums and implement drug price controls, says a leading advocate for older adults—"this was a shameful and ageist thing to do to a community that already faces a high degree of isolation and stigma."
Why it matters: “For as long as I have been an advocate for older adults, I do not recall CMS publicly calling out the cost of care for a specific disease or chronic condition as the rationale for raising premiums. Imagine if CMS called out treatments for cancer, organ transplant, or vision loss to blame for premium increases,” she says.
Except it’s not negotiation at all—but government price-setting that will “hurt the very patients and seniors they are trying to help,” as we’ve said.
The proposal relies on discriminatory Quality-Adjusted Life Year (QALY) assessments, which “usually undervalue treatments for groups of people who have less ‘life years’ or ‘perfect health’ ahead of them (e.g., people with disabilities and people with chronic illnesses such as Alzheimer’s disease).”
STAT News: In a medical first, Vertex drug successfully targets the underlying cause of a genetic kidney disease “An experimental pill from Vertex Pharmaceuticals reduced levels of a damaging urine protein by nearly half in a small clinical trial—encouraging evidence that a novel medicine can arrest the underlying genetic cause of a chronic kidney disease that progresses rapidly to kidney failure.”
BIO Beltway Report
President Biden’s Thursday: Visiting Walter Reed and NIH, where he’ll give remarks at 1:40 PM ET on how the administration plans to address the Omicron variant, which has been identified in the United States. The National Christmas Tree Lighting will take place at 5:30 PM ET.