Voting in the 2020 election (AP Images)

The right to vote is fun­da­men­tal — a let­ter from biotech­nol­o­gy in­dus­try lead­ers

Biotech Voices is a collection of exclusive opinion editorials from some of the leading voices in biopharma on the biggest industry questions today. Think you have a voice that should be heard? Reach out to senior editors Kyle Blankenship and Amber Tong.

We op­pose all at­tempts to in­tro­duce laws that re­duce the rights of US cit­i­zens to vote or that re­strict them from ex­er­cis­ing that right. The right to vote is fun­da­men­tal to democ­ra­cy. States that have en­act­ed, or are propos­ing to en­act, leg­is­la­tion to re­strict vot­ing are un­der­min­ing our democ­ra­cy and pos­ing a threat to our na­tion. As lead­ers of the life sci­ences in­dus­try, we stand for what we be­lieve is right for our coun­try, our en­ter­pris­es, our em­ploy­ees and those who ben­e­fit from our work. We join the first groups of busi­ness lead­ers who have chal­lenged these laws and will con­tin­ue to make our col­lec­tive voic­es heard on this mat­ter.

In some cas­es, in­sti­ga­tors of such laws may be sin­cere in be­liev­ing they are “en­sur­ing in­tegri­ty of the vot­ing process.” Such be­liefs are based on the con­tention that the 2020 elec­tion was “fraud­u­lent.” The US courts, the De­part­ment of Jus­tice, var­i­ous state gov­ern­ment of­fices and in­de­pen­dent in­ves­ti­ga­tions all have de­bunked this myth. In oth­er cas­es, pro­po­nents of such laws co­or­di­nate ef­forts and de­lib­er­ate­ly seek to dis­en­fran­chise and dis­crim­i­nate against par­tic­u­lar vot­ers.

Through­out its his­to­ry, Amer­i­ca has been called on re­peat­ed­ly to re­new and ad­vance its com­mit­ment to its found­ing ideals. Core among these is that all Amer­i­cans are en­ti­tled to equal op­por­tu­ni­ty and to be treat­ed equal­ly un­der the law. There is noth­ing more in­im­i­cal to these ideals than to un­der­mine our right to vote in free and fair elec­tions.

Amer­i­cans have en­dured a ter­ri­ble Civ­il War and have fought for gen­er­a­tions to over­come the evils of slav­ery, seg­re­ga­tion and Jim Crow. To­day we are fac­ing an­oth­er im­por­tant chap­ter in this fight. The cur­rent ef­forts in sev­er­al states to change vot­ing laws ef­fec­tive­ly mar­gin­al­ize and sup­press par­tic­u­lar class­es of vot­ers. Such out­comes fur­ther di­vide our so­ci­ety. They lead us back­ward, un­rav­el­ing many of the hard-won vic­to­ries — for which Amer­i­cans fought, and of­ten died — crit­i­cal to our na­tion’s democ­ra­cy and the free­dom of fu­ture gen­er­a­tions.

The biotech­nol­o­gy in­dus­try is dri­ving a rev­o­lu­tion to cure pa­tients, pro­tect our cli­mate, and nour­ish hu­man­i­ty. Our in­dus­try im­pacts the lives of bil­lions, em­ploys and in­vests in every state in our na­tion, and leads the de­vel­op­ment of vac­cines and med­i­cines that will de­feat the glob­al Covid pan­dem­ic and many oth­er dis­eases.

The US leads the world in biotech­nol­o­gy in large part be­cause the sci­ence un­der­pin­ning our in­dus­try thrives in a free so­ci­ety. Peo­ple of tal­ent are drawn to our in­dus­try re­gard­less of their per­son­al iden­ti­fiers or na­tion­al­i­ty. They feel that they will in­deed have equal op­por­tu­ni­ty to con­tribute and suc­ceed. They be­lieve they will be treat­ed equal­ly by the law and that ef­forts to con­tribute to the biotech­nol­o­gy rev­o­lu­tion are fos­tered by the so­ci­ety we live in. When the 2 free­doms foun­da­tion­al to our so­ci­ety are abridged, we lose this ad­van­tage, and will cede the field and our in­no­va­tions to com­pet­ing coun­tries.

As lead­ers in the biotech­nol­o­gy in­dus­try, and as in­di­vid­u­als who care deeply about democ­ra­cy, we call on all lead­ers in our in­dus­try to act as fol­lows:

  1. When mak­ing new or ad­di­tion­al cap­i­tal in­vest­ments, ac­tive­ly con­sid­er al­ter­na­tives to in­vest­ing with­in states that have en­act­ed vot­er sup­pres­sion laws.
  2. En­cour­age or­ga­niz­ers to con­sid­er al­ter­na­tive venues for con­fer­ences and ma­jor meet­ings and re­spect the right of those who choose not to at­tend meet­ings in any State en­act­ing vot­er sup­pres­sion laws.
  3. Es­tab­lish poli­cies per­mit­ting half-day paid leave for all em­ploy­ees to vote.
  4. En­cour­age em­ploy­ees to par­tic­i­pate in ef­forts to help reg­is­ter vot­ers and phys­i­cal­ly as­sist those who are un­able to eas­i­ly vote them­selves due to age, ill­ness, dis­abil­i­ty or oth­er im­ped­i­ment

We stand to­geth­er for the rights of all Amer­i­cans to vote freely and fair­ly. To do oth­er­wise would be to ac­cede to the hol­low­ing out of our democ­ra­cy which, as Lin­coln ob­served, has made Amer­i­ca the “last, best hope on earth.” The sig­na­tures be­low rep­re­sent the views of in­di­vid­u­als and not their com­pa­nies or oth­er or­ga­ni­za­tions.

Signed,

Je­re­my Levin, DPhil, MB BChir, Chair­man and CEO, Ovid Ther­a­peu­tics

Paul Hast­ings, Pres­i­dent and CEO, Nkar­ta Ther­a­peu­tics

John Maraganore, CEO, Al­ny­lam Phar­ma­ceu­ti­cals

Ted W. Love, MD, Pres­i­dent and CEO, Glob­al Blood Ther­a­peu­tics

Rachel K. King, CEO, Gly­coMimet­ics

Ron Co­hen, MD, Pres­i­dent and CEO, Acor­da Ther­a­peu­tics

Sri­ni Akkara­ju, Founder & Man­ag­ing Part­ner, Sam­sara Bio­cap­i­tal

Jeff Al­bers, CEO, Blue­print Med­i­cines

Faraz Ali, CEO, Tenaya Ther­a­peu­tics

Theodore (Ted) T. Ash­burn, MD, PhD, Pres­i­dent and CEO, On­corus

Mar­tin Babler, For­mer CEO, Prin­cip­ia

Je­re­my Ben­der, CEO, Day One Phar­ma­ceu­ti­cals

Nes­san Berming­ham, PhD Founder & CEO at Triplet Ther­a­peu­tics, Founder and Ex­ec Chair at Ko­r­ro Bio, Chair at Fs­tar Ther­a­peu­tics

Hans Bish­op, CEO, Grail

Kevin Bit­ter­man, Part­ner, At­las Ven­ture

Robert I. Blum, Pres­i­dent and CEO, Cy­to­ki­net­ics, Inc.

Bruce Booth, Part­ner, At­las Ven­ture

Daniel M. Brad­bury, Ex­ec­u­tive Chair­man, Equi­l­li­um

Pablo J. Cagnoni, MD, Pres­i­dent and CEO, Ru­bius Ther­a­peu­tics

Chip Clark, Pres­i­dent and CEO, Geno­cea Bio­sciences

Scott Clarke, CEO, Am­bagon Ther­a­peu­tics

Tony Coles, MD, Chair and CEO, Cerev­el Ther­a­peu­tics

Roger Crys­tal, MD, Pres­i­dent and CEO, Opi­ant Phar­ma­ceu­ti­cals

Rahul Dhan­da, Pres­i­dent and CEO, Sher­lock Bio­sciences

Doug Do­er­fler, Pres­i­dent and CEO, Max­Cyte

Di­pal Doshi, CEO, En­tra­da Ther­a­peu­tics

Er­ic Dube, CEO, Tra­vere Ther­a­peu­tics

Dou­glas Fam­brough, CEO, Dicer­na Phar­ma­ceu­ti­cals

Corey Fish­man, CEO, Iterum Ther­a­peu­tics

Jean-François Formela, Part­ner, At­las Ven­ture

Jacqua­lyn A. Fouse, CEO, Agios Phar­ma­ceu­ti­cals

Cedric Fran­cois, CEO, Apel­lis Phar­ma­ceu­ti­cals

Sean George, CEO, In­vi­tae

Deb Ger­aghty, PhD, Pres­i­dent and CEO, Anokion

Michael Glad­stone, Part­ner, At­las Ven­ture

San­dra Glucks­mann, PhD, Pres­i­dent and CEO, Cedil­la Ther­a­peu­tics

Jeff Goater, Chair­man of the Board, Sur­face On­col­o­gy

David Grayzel, MD, Part­ner, At­las Ven­ture

Bar­ry Greene, CEO, Sage Ther­a­peu­tics

Adam Gri­d­ley, CEO, Al­lay Ther­a­peu­tics

David Hal­lal, Chair­man and CEO, El­e­vate­Bio

Patrick Hines, MD/PhD, CEO, Func­tion­al Flu­idics

Steven Holtz­man, Chair, Board of Di­rec­tors, Camp4

Alex Kar­nal, Co-Founder and CIO, Braid­well

Per­ry Karsen, for­mer CEO, Cel­gene Cel­lu­lar Ther­a­peu­tics

Scott Koenig, MD, PhD, Pres­i­dent and CEO, Macro­Gen­ics

Pe­ter Kolchin­sky, Man­ag­ing Part­ner, RA Cap­i­tal

Samarth Kulka­rni, CEO, CRISPR Ther­a­peu­tics

Don­na LaVoie, CEO, LaVoieHealth­Science

Pablo Legor­re­ta, Founder and CEO, Roy­al­ty Phar­ma

Mark Levin, Part­ner, TRV

Will Lewis, Chair and CEO, In­smed

Gail Maderis, Pres­i­dent and CEO, An­ti­va Bio­sciences

Tahir Mah­mood, CEO and Founder, Ap­plied Mol­e­c­u­lar Trans­port

Jef­frey D. Mar­raz­zo, CEO, Spark Ther­a­peu­tics

Alex Mar­tin, CEO, Pal­la­dio Bio­sciences

Ken Mills, Pres­i­dent and CEO, RE­GENXBIO

Ken­neth I. Moch, Se­nior Ad­vi­sor to the Chair­man, Cen­ter for Glob­al Health In­no­va­tion and the Glob­al Health Cri­sis Co­or­di­na­tion

Michael M. Mor­ris­sey, Pres­i­dent and CEO, Ex­elix­is

Amit Mun­shi, CEO, Are­na Phar­ma­ceu­ti­cals

William J. Newell, CEO, Sutro Bio­phar­ma

John Or­win, Pres­i­dent and CEO, Atre­ca

Ju­lia Owens, PhD, Ex­ec­u­tive Chair­man, Mil­len­do Ther­a­peu­tics

Ste­lios Pa­padopou­los, PhD, Chair­man of the Board at Bio­gen, Ex­elix­is, Reg­u­lus Ther­a­peu­tics

An­tho­ny Quinn, MB, ChB, PhD, Pres­i­dent and CEO, Ae­glea Bio­Ther­a­peu­tics

Bill Rastet­ter, Chair­man at Neu­ro­crine Bio­sciences, Fate Ther­a­peu­tics, Daré Bio­science; San Diego Squared

Ronald C. Re­naud, Jr., CEO, Trans­late Bio

Ja­son P. Rhodes, Part­ner, At­las Ven­ture

Mar­tine A. Roth­blatt, PhD, Chair­per­son and CEO, Unit­ed Ther­a­peu­tics Cor­po­ra­tion

George Scan­gos, PhD, CEO, Vir Biotech­nol­o­gy

John A. Scar­lett, MD, Chair­man and CEO, Geron Cor­po­ra­tion

Ran­dall C. Schatz­man, PhD, Pres­i­dent and CEO, Bolt Ther­a­peu­tics

Jim Sci­bet­ta, CEO, Mav­er­ick

Paul J. Sekhri, Pres­i­dent and CEO, eGe­n­e­sis

RA Ses­sion II, Pres­i­dent, CEO, Founder, Taysha Gene Ther­a­pies

Lau­ra Shawver, CEO, Sil­ver­back Ther­a­peu­tics

Clay B. Sie­gall, PhD, Pres­i­dent and CEO, Seagen

Nan­cy Si­mon­ian, MD, CEO, Sy­ros Phar­ma­ceu­ti­cals

Eri­ka R. Smith, CEO, ReNetX Bio

Jean-Pierre Som­ma­dos­si, PhD, Chair­man and CEO, Atea Phar­ma­ceu­ti­cals

Robert Tep­per, Part­ner, Third Rock Ven­tures

Arthur Tzian­a­bos, PhD, Pres­i­dent and CEO, Ho­mol­o­gy Med­i­cines

Michel Vounatsos, CEO, Bio­gen

Rick E. Win­ning­ham, Chair­man and CEO, Ther­a­vance Bio­phar­ma US

Michael Yang, Pres­i­dent and CEO, Vi­a­Cyte

Brad­ford A. Za­kes, Pres­i­dent, CEO and Chair­man Cerev­ast Med­ical

Want to sign your name to this let­ter? Reach out to man­ag­ing ed­i­tor Kyle Blanken­ship at kyle@end­pointsnews.com.

Health­care Dis­par­i­ties and Sick­le Cell Dis­ease

In the complicated U.S. healthcare system, navigating a serious illness such as cancer or heart disease can be remarkably challenging for patients and caregivers. When that illness is classified as a rare disease, those challenges can become even more acute. And when that rare disease occurs in a population that experiences health disparities, such as people with sickle cell disease (SCD) who are primarily Black and Latino, challenges can become almost insurmountable.

David Meek, new Mirati CEO (Marlene Awaad/Bloomberg via Getty Images)

Fresh off Fer­Gene's melt­down, David Meek takes over at Mi­rati with lead KRAS drug rac­ing to an ap­proval

In the insular world of biotech, a spectacular failure can sometimes stay on any executive’s record for a long time. But for David Meek, the man at the helm of FerGene’s recent implosion, two questionable exits made way for what could be an excellent rebound.

Meek, most recently FerGene’s CEO and a past head at Ipsen, has become CEO at Mirati Therapeutics, taking the reins from founding CEO Charles Baum, who will step over into the role of president and head of R&D, according to a release.

Jacob Van Naarden (Eli Lilly)

Ex­clu­sives: Eli Lil­ly out to crash the megablock­buster PD-(L)1 par­ty with 'dis­rup­tive' pric­ing; re­veals can­cer biotech buy­out

It’s taken 7 years, but Eli Lilly is promising to finally start hammering the small and affluent PD-(L)1 club with a “disruptive” pricing strategy for their checkpoint therapy allied with China’s Innovent.

Lilly in-licensed global rights to sintilimab a year ago, building on the China alliance they have with Innovent. That cost the pharma giant $200 million in cash upfront, which they plan to capitalize on now with a long-awaited plan to bust up the high-price market in lung cancer and other cancers that have created a market worth tens of billions of dollars.

Endpoints Premium

Premium subscription required

Unlock this article along with other benefits by subscribing to one of our paid plans.

FDA hands ac­cel­er­at­ed nod to Seagen, Gen­mab's so­lo ADC in cer­vi­cal can­cer, but com­bo stud­ies look even more promis­ing

Biopharma’s resident antibody-drug conjugate expert Seagen has scored a clutch of oncology approvals in recent years, finding gold in what are known as “third-gen” ADCs. Now, another of their partnered conjugates is ready for prime time.

The FDA on Monday handed an accelerated approval to Seagen and Genmab’s Tivdak (tisotumab vedotin-tftv, or “TV”) in second-line patients with recurrent or metastatic cervical cancer who previously progressed after chemotherapy rather than PD-(L)1 systemic therapy, the companies said in a release.

Dave Lennon, former president of Novartis Gene Therapies

Zol­gens­ma patent spat brews be­tween No­var­tis and Re­genxbio as top No­var­tis gene ther­a­py ex­ec de­parts

Regenxbio, a small licensor of gene therapy viral vectors spun out from the University of Pennsylvania, is now finding itself in the middle of some major league patent fights.

In addition to a patent suit with Sarepta Therapeutics from last September, Novartis, is now trying to push its smaller partner out of the way. The Swiss biopharma licensed Regenxbio’s AAV9 vector for its $2.1 million spinal muscular atrophy therapy Zolgensma.

Endpoints News

Keep reading Endpoints with a free subscription

Unlock this story instantly and join 117,700+ biopharma pros reading Endpoints daily — and it's free.

Volker Wagner (L) and Jeff Legos

As Bay­er, No­var­tis stack up their ra­dio­phar­ma­ceu­ti­cal da­ta at #ES­MO21, a key de­bate takes shape

Ten years ago, a small Norwegian biotech by the name of Algeta showed up at ESMO — then the European Multidisciplinary Cancer Conference 2011 — and declared that its Bayer-partnered targeted radionuclide therapy, radium-223 chloride, boosted the overall survival of castration-resistant prostate cancer patients with symptomatic bone metastases.

In a Phase III study dubbed ALSYMPCA, patients who were treated with radium-223 chloride lived a median of 14 months compared to 11.2 months. The FDA would stamp an approval on it based on those data two years later, after Bayer snapped up Algeta and christened the drug Xofigo.

Endpoints News

Keep reading Endpoints with a free subscription

Unlock this story instantly and join 117,700+ biopharma pros reading Endpoints daily — and it's free.

Rafaèle Tordjman (Jeito Capital)

Con­ti­nu­ity and di­ver­si­ty: Rafaèle Tord­j­man's women-led VC firm tops out first fund at $630M

For a first-time fund, Jeito Capital talks a lot about continuity.

Rafaèle Tordjman had spotlighted that concept ever since she started building the firm in 2018, promising to go the extra mile(s) with biotech entrepreneurs while pushing them to reach patients faster.

Coincidentally, the lack of continuity was one of the sore spots listed in a report about the European healthcare sector published that same year by the European Investment Bank — whose fund is one of the LPs, alongside the American pension fund Teacher Retirement System of Texas and Singapore’s Temasek, to help Jeito close its first fund at $630 million (€534 million). As previously reported, Sanofi had chimed in €50 million, marking its first investment in a French life sciences fund.

Mi­rati tri­umphs again in KRAS-mu­tat­ed lung can­cer with a close­ly watched FDA fil­ing now in the cards

After a busy weekend at #ESMO21, which included a big readout for its KRAS drug adagrasib in colon cancer, Mirati Therapeutics is ready to keep the pressure on competitor Amgen with lung cancer data that will undergird an upcoming filing.

In topline results from a Phase II cohort of its KRYSTAL-1 study, adagrasib posted a response rate of 43% in second-line-or-later patients with metastatic non-small cell lung cancer containing a KRAS-G12C mutation, Mirati said Monday.

As­traZeneca, Dai­ichi Sanky­o's ADC En­her­tu blows away Roche's Kad­cy­la in sec­ond-line ad­vanced breast can­cer

AstraZeneca and Japanese drugmaker Daiichi Sankyo think they’ve struck gold with their next-gen ADC drug Enhertu, which has shown some striking data in late-stage breast cancer trials and early solid tumor tests. Getting into earlier patients is now the goal, starting with Enhertu’s complete walkover of a Roche drug in second-line breast cancer revealed Saturday.

Enhertu cut the risk of disease progression or death by a whopping 72% (p=<0.0001) compared with Roche’s ADC Kadcyla in second-line unresectable and/or metastatic HER2-positive breast cancer patients who had previously undergone treatment with a Herceptin-chemo combo, according to interim data from the Phase III DESTINY-Breast03 head-to-head study presented at this weekend’s #ESMO21.

Endpoints News

Keep reading Endpoints with a free subscription

Unlock this story instantly and join 117,700+ biopharma pros reading Endpoints daily — and it's free.