What are biotech CEOs and investors thinking?

February 16, 2021
It’s Day 1 of the BIO CEO & Investor Digital Conference—follow our writers for all the news from the event. We also look at how biotech is marking Black History Month—and why understanding our past is so important to ensuring equitable access to science in the future…
BIO

It’s Day 1 of the BIO CEO & Investor Digital Conference—follow our writers for all the news from the event. We also look at how biotech is marking Black History Month—and why understanding our past is so important to ensuring equitable access to science in the future. As usual, you’ll find news links and the BIO Beltway Report at the end. (777 words, 3 minutes, 53 seconds)

 

How to follow the BIO CEO & Investor Digital Conference

 
 
  • Head to the BIO Investor Forum Digital Live Blog (www.bio.org/ceo/live), where our team of writers is bringing you the highlights, live and in real time as its happening.
  • Join the conversation on Twitter at @IAmBiotech with #BIOCEO21.
  • Did we give you FOMO? It’s not too late to register for full access (including BIO One-on-One Partnering) or the education pass, which includes access to educational sessions, company presentations, and video networking.

What we’re watching today: BIO President and CEO Dr. Michelle McMurry-Heath kicks off the event by interviewing Adena T. Friedman, President and CEO of Nasdaq (10:15 AM ET/7:15 AM PT). We’ll be covering sessions on successful biotech SPACs featuring executives, investors, and legal experts (2 PM ET/11 AM PT) and China’s growth as a center of innovation (3 PM ET/12 PM PT), before closing the day with lessons learned on dealmaking in the new decade (4 PM ET/1 PM PT).

 
 
 
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During Black History Month, we're recognizing the past to create a more equitable and inclusive future

 
 

BIO has been celebrating Black History Month by recognizing Black scientists and innovators—and by acknowledging our sector’s place within the context of Black history, so we can understand our past and what we need to do to ensure equitable access to science and a more just and inclusive world.

Over the last year, as the Black Lives Matter movement increased awareness about the scale of work necessary in the fight for equity and inclusion—and inspired corporate America to work towards these goals—COVID-19 has been killing Black and Hispanic people at much higher rates.

But we know these inequities did not begin in 2020—and we can’t tackle this issue without first discussing Tuskegee, writes our reporter J.P. Carroll. The COVID-19 pandemic and ongoing vaccine distribution efforts have highlighted the need not only to address longstanding inequities in access to healthcare but also the need to directly confront historic mistrust in the biotechnology sector.  

What should we do now? Ultimately, the culture of any organization is set at the top—and BIO is leading by example with the appointment of President and CEO Dr. Michelle McMurry-Heath as well as initiatives to ensure representation is prioritized. (Read about BIO’s diversity and inclusion initiatives.)

But as company demographics and COVID-19 outcomes show, there’s still a ton of work to do. This is why BIO launched the BIOEquality Agenda last year to promote health equity, invest in minority scientists, and expand opportunities in the industry for women and underrepresented populations.

During Black History Month—and all year long—BIO remains committed to helping member companies be more representative of the diversity of the United States and the patients we serve. Learn more about what we’re doing and where we’re going from here.

Want to catch up on all the Black scientists and innovators we’ve featured this month? Check out the Good Day BIO Archives.

 

Health Care News:

Nature: This COVID-vaccine designer is tackling vaccine hesitancy—in churches and on Twitter
“Immunologist Kizzmekia Corbett helped to design the Moderna vaccine. Now she volunteers her time talking about vaccine science with people of color.” 

Reuters: Merck in talks with governments, other drugmakers to produce COVID-19 shots
“‘Beyond our own candidates, we are actively involved in discussions with governments, public health agencies, and other industry colleagues to identify the areas of pandemic response where we can play a role, including potential support for production of authorized vaccines,’ a company spokesman said.”

 

Agriculture and Environment News: 

The Wall Street Journal: Bill Gates has a master plan for battling climate change
“With a new book, How to Avoid a Climate Disaster, and a cadre of billionaire partners, he now has an action plan for ending the world’s carbon dependency.”

 
 
 
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BIO Celebrates Black History Month
Adreienne McFadden.jpg

Today, we recognize a Black physician who fights for health equity: Dr. Adrienne McFadden, Vice President of Medicaid Clinical and the Chief Population Health Officer for National Medicaid Programs at Humana.  

Previously, Dr. McFadden was Director of Health Equity at the Virginia Department of Health, where she advised the State Commissioner of Health on minority health, rural health, and primary care programs. She was the inaugural medical director and a founding faculty member at the South University Physician Assistant Program in Richmond, and practiced emergency medicine in Florida and North Carolina. She earned her medical and law degrees at Duke University. 

“The quote that stands out when I think of how Dr. McFadden has inspired me is ‘resist the urge to be average,’” says Dr. Camelia Thompson, Senior Director of Science and Regulatory Affairs at BIO. 

“In my time knowing Dr. McFadden, I have witnessed her grace, her kindness, and her wisdom in navigating through all that comes her way. Her commitment to her patients and underserved communities speaks for itself in her work,” Dr. Thompson continues. “Her personal and professional journey is inspiring and is a reminder to all of us, including myself, to resist the urge to be average.”

 
BIO Beltway Report
BIO Beltway Report
 
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President Biden’s Tuesday: Heading to Milwaukee for a CNN town hall airing at 9 PM ET. 

What’s Happening on Capitol Hill: Officially in recess. 

And news from BIO…As part of our ongoing restructuring, BIO announced new leadership for operations and sustainability. Shaye Mandle has been named Chief Operating Officer (COO), effective March 1. Coming from the Minnesota Medical Alley Association, one of the country’s largest and most successful state-based life science organizations, Mandle will position BIO for the future with a focus on forging partnerships with state organizations, strengthening internal processes to coincide with BIO’s mission, and reinvigorating BIO’s in-person events. In addition, Dana O’Brien, who has served for four years as EVP of BIO’s Food and Agriculture Section, will take on a new role as BIO’s Deputy COO and Chief Sustainability Officer.

 
 
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