Happy Friday everyone,
We’ve made it through another week, and another onslaught of healthcare news. I’m Allison DeAngelis, and I’ll lead you through the takeaways:
- We explored the fallout from government officials’ report that AstraZeneca’s vaccine data may have been based on outdated numbers.
- Several drug companies distanced themselves from Moncef Slaoui after he was accused of sexually harassing a GlaxoSmithKline employee when he worked at the drugmaker.
- During a tumultuous time for SoftBank, senior managing partner Deep Nishar laid out his strategy for pushing into the life sciences market.
If you’re new to this newsletter, sign up here.
Do you have comments or tips about biotech and pharmaceutical companies? You can email me at email@example.com or tweet @ADeAngelis_bio. I will also accept your favorite memes from this Suez Canal situation.
Now, let’s dig in (pun intended).
If I never hear the word “unprecedented” again, I’ll be very happy. But for now, we’re still dealing with the pandemic.
- Over the last three months, there’s been a 300% increase in people offering vaccines, fake vaccination certificates and negative COVID test results on the dark web, Aleeya Mayo reported.
- There’s still a flurry of questions surrounding vaccines for pregnant people. Insider is hosting a Q&A with OB-GYN Dr. Jessica Shepard and pediatrician Dr. Jessica Madden this afternoon – You can register for the event here.
Even drug giant AstraZeneca was put under the microscope this week, when the US National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Disease released an usual late-night statement saying that the 79% efficacy rate AstraZeneca had reported for its vaccine may have been based on outdated data.
- NIAID director Dr. Anthony Fauci said he was stunned by what he called an “unforced error,” Andrew Dunn reported.
- Dr. Catherine Schuster-Bruce reported Thursday that revised numbers showed the shot was 76% effective at stopping COVID infection, in the US trial.
AstraZeneca revises down its vaccine efficacy in a huge US trial, to 76% from 79%, following concerns from Fauci and other experts that the results were outdated
This week, Andrew Dunn and I covered the fallout from a “substantiated” allegation that Moncef Slaoui sexually harassed a female employee during his time at GlaxoSmithKline.
Slaoui left GSK in 2017, later becoming the head of President Donald Trump’s COVID vaccine effort, Operation Warp Speed. He also joined several biotech boards and a startup, Centessa, all of which distanced themselves from Slaoui after the allegation surfaced.
Moncef Slaoui is retreating from the biotech industry after facing a substantiated sexual-harassment claim
Megan Hernbroth published an exclusive look at how SoftBank’s Deep Nishar diligently vets healthcare and biotech investments, resulting in some of the highest returns on investments across the firm. The pressure is on for Nishar, and his cohort of biotechnology and life sciences portfolio companies, after a series of public investment catastrophes like WeWork and failed pizza robot maker Zume, she reported.
- In other biotech VC news, one of the top biotech investors and a Juno Therapeutics alum launched a neuroscience startup valued at $145 million.
- A top Wall Street analyst warned this week that a group of new regulatory leaders is placing pressure on biotech stocks, I reported.
- Meanwhile, SoftBank is under investigation by the US Securities and Exchange Commission following risky multibillion-dollar bets that it made on tech stocks, Tyler Sonnemaker reported.
Biotech founders are turning to Deep Nishar as a must-have investor. The SoftBank exec explains the strategy behind his winning bets.