A new chapter

June 1, 2020
America is grappling with challenges that feel insurmountable: more than 100,000 dead due to the pandemic, record unemployment, the murder of George Floyd, and unrest in cities across the country, a reckoning with decades of injustice. Amid the turmoil, BIO is…

America is grappling with challenges that feel insurmountable: more than 100,000 dead due to the pandemic, record unemployment, the murder of George Floyd, and unrest in cities across the country, a reckoning with decades of injustice.

Amid the turmoil, BIO is beginning a new chapter, today—with the kind of leadership our industry needs to help the country defeat the coronavirus and move forward. The vaccines and treatments we develop will not only save lives and allow us to return to work, school, and “normal” life. These cures will also allow us to come back together, speak face to face, hold hands and hug, and heal—and hopefully, return to a new, better normal.

Today, we welcome Dr. Michelle McMurry-Heath on her first day as BIO’s President and CEO, bringing global leadership and a commitment to patients and to innovation across the biotech sector, from health care to industrial biotech to food and agriculture, which will drive our industry forward at this critical moment in history. Here are around 620 words, 3 minutes.

A new chapter

Today is Dr. Michelle McMurry-Heath’s first day as BIO’s President and CEO. Here's a bit more about her and what this new chapter means for the future of our industry. 

ICYMI: She’s the leader biotech needs right now. Coming to us from Johnson & Johnson, Dr. Michelle McMurry-Heath is a Harvard-educated physician and molecular immunologist, a former senior FDA official, and the first African American to graduate from the Duke Medical Scientist Training Program. Yeah, we couldn’t have picked anyone better.


She joins us from Johnson & Johnson, where as Vice President of External Innovation and Global Leader for Regulatory Science, she led 900 employees across J&J’s medical device companies, specializing in using cutting-edge tools and innovative methods to bring new breakthroughs to patients. 

And she knows Washington, having held a leadership role at the U.S. Food and Drug Administration’s Center for Devices and Radiological Health. She also served on the Obama administration’s Science Transition Team and led health and science policy on Capitol Hill for Sen. Joe Lieberman.

And she's ready to roll up her sleeves and embrace the key role biotechnology plays in protecting our planet's resources, driving a strong economy by driving a strong bioeconomy, and improving people's lives.

Get to know Dr. Michelle, in one minute:

So, what’s next for BIO? “There’s a time for us to tell a new story—to turn the page and talk about what science has been able to do to make patients feel better, make our country safer, make our country more prosperous,” she says. “Going forward, it’s going to be more important than ever to tell that story and tell it loudly.” 

Last but not least, we want to thank Jim Greenwood, again, for his 15 years of strong leadership. Since he took the helm in 2005, BIO tripled in size and has had many accomplishments—perhaps most notably, the unprecedented Coronavirus Collaboration Initiative to work together on COVID-19 vaccines and treatments. Jim will be sticking around for a bit, assisting Michelle in a strategic advisory role—and you’ll be able to hear from him again during BIO Digital next week.

Visit www.bio.org/DrMichelle to learn more about Dr. McMurry-Heath and submit any suggestions for BIO’s new chapter. 

Read more about her in this profile in STAT.


More News: 

Biopharma Dive: Lilly wins first-ever FDA approval for drug that can spot Alzheimer's 'tau tangles'
“Its approval is based on two clinical trials which found a high likelihood that 'evaluators' could correctly identify tau pathology from a Tauvid scan. Before, the only way to get an in-depth look at these tangles was through an autopsy.” 

S&P Global: Renewable energy consumption topped coal in 2019 for the first time since 1885
“U.S. renewable energy consumption in 2019 surpassed coal energy consumption for the first time in 130 years as coal used for electricity continues to decline while more renewables are joining the grid as part of an energy transition to cleaner power sources, according to the U.S. Energy Information Administration's Monthly Energy Review.”

The Wall Street Journal: Eli Lilly begins testing COVID-19 drug derived from blood of survivor
“The drugmaker also plans eventually to test whether the antibody-based drug could prevent disease in people at risk of infection, an approach that could serve as a bridge toward curbing the pandemic until a successful vaccine is developed.”

BIO Beltway Report

President Trump’s Monday: While we know from experience that you can’t rely on polling, it’s worth noting this new Washington Post-ABC News poll showing former Vice President Joe Biden with a clear national lead (53-43) over Trump. Meanwhile, Trump announced the United States' withdrawal from the World Health Organization (WHO) and the G-7, scheduled to take place in the United States, has been delayed. Today, he’s meeting with AG Bill Barr then speaking with governors, law enforcement, and national security officials about the protests across America.

What’s Happening on Capitol Hill: The House and Senate are in session this week. There are lots of coronavirus-related hearings this week; of note, House Homeland Security will hold a virtual forum today on election security amid the pandemic, and tomorrow, Senate Finance will hold a hearing on FDA’s foreign drug inspection process.

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