Legislative Life Science Caucus Gets Update on Vaccines
Members of the NC Legislative Life Science Caucus got international, national, and state updates on COVID-19 vaccines and plans for fall campaigns for the flu vaccinations during the September virtual meeting.
NCBIO Releases Statement on Trump Administration Order
Legislative Wrap-Up Forum
The four Co-ChairsThe four Co-Chairs of the General Assembly’s Life Science Caucus had a lively discussion with NCBIO President Sam Taylor during the NCBIO Legislative Wrap-Up Forum August 24. The legislators emphasized the importance of the economic impact of the industry in North Carolina and its importance in finding treatments and vaccines for COVID-19 during the pandemic. They also discussed budget issues that the State may be facing.
Panel on Federal Rare Disease Priority Review Voucher Program
Congressman G.K. Butterfield (NC-1st) is the primary sponsor of the legislation to permanently extend the Rare Disease Priority Review Voucher Program, which expires September 30th. Rep. Butterfield told participants in the virtual event that the program has provided “incentives for treatment and cures,” that are critical for young children, noting that the development of a new drug is costly and this voucher program does not cost taxpayers any money.
NCBIO President Sam Taylor moderated the panel. Other panelists were: Mark Davis, the parent of a young son with the rare disease spinal muscular atrophy (SMA), Tara Britt, Founder and President of the Rare Disease Innovations Institute and Jamie Gregorian of BIO.
Lab Space Forum
COVID-19 has impacted the demand for lab space in the North Carolina, but the state is continuing to see growth because its quality of life and lower costs, especially as compared to Boston and the West Coast. The positive assessment was one conclusion offered by panelists participating in NCBIO’s member forum on lab space, held digitally on July 16. Thanks to CSC Leasing, Evans General Contractors, Humboldt and Lee & Associates for sponsoring this Forum. And thanks to the panel.
BMF Members Hear about Steps to Help Workers Return after Staying at Home During COVID-19 Pandemic
Jeff Gagnon and Kay Barrett of Cushman & Wakefield talked with NCBIO Biotech Manufacturers Forum members about steps to take in helping employees return to work along with information about challenges they face in working from home.
Life Science Caucus Hears about COVID Research and Company Expansion
The Legislative Life Science Caucus got another virtual update in June concerning new developments in the State’s life science sector. Dr. Timothy Sheahan, of the UNC-CH Gillings School of Public Health, briefed legislators on the School’s ongoing program of coronavirus research. Alex Graham, Vice President, Global Sales & Marketing Operations, with ThermoFisher Scientific, said the contract manufacturing company is working on 200 projects related to COVID-19. He reviewed the company’s various operations across the State, including operations in Weaverville, High Point, Research Triangle Park, and Greenville.
NCBIO Holds Virtual Medical Device Forum
Medical Devices: Product Strategy and Implications was the focus of NCBIO's first virtual forum. Members heard about the technologies and commercialization activities at local biomedical engineering programs and from companies commercializing new technologies. Thanks to ShareVault and Smith Anderson for sponsoring the event.
Legislative Session, Life Science Caucus and More
The General Assembly has returned for the 2020 session to focus on budget items. The Life Science Caucus held a virtual meeting in May to hear about efforts by NC life science companies on COVID-19. Click to see June Newsletter to get complete information.
Life Science Caucus Tours Pfizer Sanford Facility
Members of the Life Science Caucus traveled to Sanford to visit the Pfizer vaccine and gene therapy facilities. Co-Chair Representative Robert Reives (D-Chatham & Durham), who represents part of the area, noted the importance of continuing the growth in the industry, saying “results of our work is more than talking about policy, it’s about jobs and families.”
Co-Chairman Senator Paul Newton (R-Cabarrus) talked about the importance of reducing the franchise tax, so that companies can continue to grow and thrive. Dr. Robert Popovian of Pfizer discussed rebates, fees, Pharmacy Benefit Managers (PBMs) and other impacts on drug pricing.
Melissa Bishop-Murphy (Pfizer), Sam Taylor (NCBIO), Rep. Terence Everitt, Rep. Joe Sam Queen, Rep. John Sauls, Rep. Robert Reives, Sen. Paul Newton, Tony Mulcahy (Pfizer) and Allison Grannis (Pfizer)
Leadership Development Focus of BMF Meeting
Three NCBIO Biotech Manufacturers Forum (BMF) members shared leadership development strategies their sites use in growing and developing leaders.
Vinay Khanna (Merck), Darren Alfono (Novozymes), and Jonathan Kegerise (Seqirus)
IP Lifeblood of Bioscience Industry
Intellectual Property protection, drug pricing and artificial intelligence are key topics for people working in the life science intellectual property space according to the panel discussion for the NCBIO Life Science Luncheon and Forum on February 19.
Moderated by Julie Meigs, J.D., Ph.D., Partner, Womble Bond Dickinson, and panelists
Legislative Life Science Caucus Visits Johnston County
The Life Science Caucus toured the Johnston County Workforce Development Center and the Grifols’s plasma fractionation facility in Clayton on Monday, February 3. Caucus Co-Chair Representative Donna (R-Johnston) McDowell White who represents Johnston County hosted the event and spoke about the amazing partnership that’s be forged by community college, Grifols and Johnston County’s second major biomanufacturer, Novo Nordisk. Caucus co-chairs Senator Paul Newton (R-Cabarrus), Senator Mike Woodard (D-Durham) and Representative Robert Reives (D-Chatham) reiterated White’s remarks.
Life Science Caucus Members: Sen. Mike Woodard, Rep. Robert Reives, Rep. Lisa Barnes, Sen. Paul Newton, and Rep. Donna McDowell White with Grifols Site Manager Doug Burns.
Trends in Biomanufacturing
Single use systems, continuous manufacturing, use of data, and modular construction units were among the topics discussed at the Biomanufacturers Forum meeting. Thanks to Rich Motruk (Kymanox), Stephen Perry (Kymanox), Keith Fritsky (Gore PharmBio Products, and Raj Vora (DPR Construction) for making the presentations to the group.
Changing Landscapes for Clinical Trials
Analytics, virtual clinical trials, more diversity in participants, adaptive designs and other topics were discussed during the NCBIO Luncheon and Forum on “Clinical Trials: Changing Landscapes and Potential Pitfalls. Panelist Matt Becker of SAS talked about the use of “real world data” and simulations to optimize patient selection and recruitment.
Christina Cocciardo of PPD defined some of the challenges with adaptive designs and novel approaches to clinical trials, noting there is a reluctance to depart from traditional designs. “Optimizing Diversity in Clinical Trials” was the focus of the presentation by Allison Kalloo of Clinical Ambassador Health. Karen Makhuli of G1Therapeutics served as moderator for the panel discussion. For more information about the event, contact Amber Niebauer.
NCBIO Celebrates Its 25th Anniversary as Part of the Annual Meeting
Tributes from partnering organizations, staff cutting a cake, and a slide show highlighting NCBIO work were all part of the 25th anniversary celebration.
Workplace Safety and Human Performance Focus of Safety Summit
Todd Conklin challenged participants at the NCBIO Biotech Manufacturers Safety Summit to change some of their traditional views about safety in the workplace. Conklin, author of Simple Revolutionary Acts: Ideas to Revitalize Yourself and Your Workplace, said that the traditional viewpoint is that “Workers are the problem to be fixed.” He countered that “Workers are not the problem. They are the problem solvers.” He talked about the importance of encouraging workers understand their environments noting that “Safety is not the absence of accidents rather safety is the presence of defenses.” Conklin reinforced the importance of “shifting thinking from who failed to what failed.”
Peter Self, Associate Director, Environmental, Health, Safety and Sustainability, at Biogen opened the day’s activities noting the importance of integrating human performance principles into Biogen’s operations, which helps drive continuous improvement. Biogen was a sponsor of the event and also served as the host site for the Summit.
Tom Wilson, the sole survivor of a plane crash in Canada that killed seven other people, talked about the importance of courage. Wilson is author of a book about his experience, Moments of Impact. He talked about the importance of individuals taking a risk and having the courage to speak up when they recognize a safety issue. He noted that if he or others had spoken up about the weather problems the day of the plane flight, the crash could have been avoided. He outlined 10 areas for hazard and safety identification.
Jennifer Bailey with Alabama Power Company & Southern Company outlined steps her organization has taken to help change behavior, encouraging reporting of incidents and using positive reinforcement to break down barriers to safety, which in-turn have significantly reduced significant injury and fatality rates.
Roger Paules and Ray Best of Duke Energy discussed steps the organization takes to help companies with emergency and disaster situations.
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