Posted by: Audrey Erbes | September 8, 2017

Bay Area BioScience Events Week of Sept 10, 2017

Wishing You a Great Week!

I’m on vacation this week but wanted to share event information for this upcoming week before leaving. I have no new job listings since last week.


  • JLABS, Monday-Tuesday, Sept. 11-12, 2017, Join the Janssen Human Microbiome Institute, JLABS @ SSF, Stanford Medicine, and Seventure for the 2017 West Coast Microbiome Forum, a 2-day event exploring key aspects of microbiome research. **Note – There is separate registration for each day.September 11: Bioinformatics for the Microbiome, hosted by Stanford Medicine. Details/Register with Stanford here (Link will redirect you to a non-J&J Innovation website), September 12: Bugs, Drugs & Beyond: Translational Approaches to the Mircrobiome, hosted by JHMI and JLABS.
  • Bio2Device Group, Tuesday Evening, Sept. 12, 2017, Topic: “Behavioral Design for Wearables and Health-IT: Pitfalls and Promises,” Speaker: Sunil Maulik, Innovator, Educator, Entrepeneur
  • WIB-San Francisco YWIB, Tuesday Evening, Sept. 12, 2017, Topic: “STEM CELLS… All the cool girls are discovering them!”
  • QB3 Rosenman Institute D-Series, Tuesday Evening, Sept. 12, 2017, Event: An Interview with Justin Klein of New Enterprise Associates
  • PBSS, Wednesday Seminar Luncheon, Sept. 13, 2017, Topic: “Unique Clinical Pharmacology & Biopharmaceutics Properties of Vyxeos: Development of a Nano-scale Fixed-ratio Cytarabine/Daunorubicin Liposomal Formulation for Acute Myeloid Leukemia,” Speaker: Jackie Gibbons, Ph.D, Jazz Pharmaceuticals, Organizer:Tracy Chen

You can download the details for the upcoming events this week and those through October 2017 with Audreys Picks Sept. 10, 2017. There is a Jobs That Crossed My Desk Through Sept. 3, 2017 also available in pdf.


Posted by: Audrey Erbes | September 4, 2017

Pharmaceutical Contract With Society in Tatters

Drug Industry’s Contract with Public in Tatters

Merck was known as extremely reputable pharmaceutical company for most of its history. Merck CEO and Chairman Roy Vagelos pledged in 1990 to cap drug price increases at or below the rate of inflation. He later warned that high launch prices could destroy public faith in the industry. Unfortunately, Merck which was revered for being a top drug company fell into the industry reputation of other international companies with sole purpose of selling pills and vials and increasing shareholder value rather than helping patients live better and longer.

When I joined the pharmaceutical industry in 1993, I was proud to work in it because I could believe in the values and mission of my original employer Syntex known for its ethics and innovation. Other American companies shared in the society contract to improve health of our citizens at that time. I watched the industry change as the social contract with society changed to one of pursuing the highest ROI. Leadership shifted to MBA school-driven values focused on short-term financial returns with erosion of ethics. Requirements for MBAs were becoming more important than scientific knowledge and experience. I watched as leadership moved from research and development and legal backgrounds to those with business degrees focused on the ROI success. Many heads no longer understood our industry and its special relationship with patients and the medical providers.

This week’s Back to School issue of BioCentury contends that drug manufacturers, their managers and their boards of directors must acknowledge they are part of the problem, and change course. They must stop making choices that belie the industry’s claims that it puts patients first. “They must align management incentives with patient and public health, not just shareholder returns. And most importantly, drug companies must be seen to be improving access to medicines.

Source: Back to School: Breach of Contract at

Highlights of Bay Area BioScience Events for Week of Sept. 3, 2017

  • Bio2Device Group, Tuesday Morning, Sept. 5, 2017, Topic: “The Journey to Mars: The Next Giant Leap for All Mankind,” Speaker: Elizabeth Keller, Science Manager, Space Biology Project, NASA
  • AWIS SF, Wednesday Evening, Sept. 6, 2017, Event , Date and Time: 6:30 – 8pm, Wednesday, September 6
  • JLABS, Thursday Morning, Sept. 7, 2017, Event: Meet with…NCI and NHLBI, Speakers: Kurt Marek, Ph.D. | Deputy Director, National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute; Greg Evans Ph.D. | Supervisory HSA and Team Leader, Cancer Imaging/ Biology/ Control , SBIR Development Center, National Cancer Institute
  • MedTech Frontiers, Thursday Evening, Sept. 7, 2017, Topic: “From the Battlefield to Bedside: Expanding the use of endovascular resuscitation devices to optimize the care of the critically ill and wounded,” Speaker: M. Austin Johnson, MD, PhD, Assistant Professor of Emergency Medicine at UC Davis Medical Center and Co-Founder, 3Ci

You can download the details for the upcoming events this week and those through October 2017 with Audreys Picks Sept. 3, 2017. There is a Jobs That Crossed My Desk Through Sept. 3, 2017 also available in pdf.


Posted by: Audrey Erbes | August 27, 2017

Work on Health Care Revisions Continues Off Main Stage

Work of the U.S. Senate Health Committee attempts to stabilize the markets for 2018., but a new bill must compete with must-pass legislation.  Mr. Alexander says the 18 million Americans who buy insurance on their own are counting on Congress to bolster the markets in 2018, though his push for a stabilization bill must compete with a series of must-pass legislative items next month, including  funding federal agencies and raising the debt ceiling. “President Trump’s refusal to commit to “cost-sharing” reimbursements for insurers and the individual mandate designed to herd people into the marketplace is also causing insurers to request higher rates.”

The Senate Health Committee will hear from five governors — three Republicans and  two Democrats — on Sept. 7th.  Governors include: Republican s governors Bill Haslamof Tennesee, Charlie Baker of Massachusetts and Gary Herbert of Utah plus Democratic governors John W. Hickenlooper of Colorado and Steve Bullock of Montana. Governor Hickenlooper is also working on bipartisan Obamacare reforms with Republican Gov. John  Kasich of Ohio.

Republican Senator Lamar Alexander and Sen. Patty Murray, the ranking Democrat on the committee, say governors and state insurance commissioners — who will testify one day before the governors — are considered best able to devise  fixes to Obamacare’s web-based exchanges.

Many Republicans are concerned that their constituents might think they are soft on Obamacare position. “Conservatives are also wary of voting for any legislation that appears to bolster Obamacare or provide a “bailout” to insurers on its exchanges.”(Source: Bipartisan group of governors to testify before Senate Health Committee on health care reform at

Keep aware of new budget which is expected to make huge cuts in Medicare. It is said that it may be as high as $200-$500 billion. See story at “House GOP Budget Plan Cuts Medicare and Social Security: The spending proposal is likely to receive pushback from Republicans wary of cutting into popular entitlement programs”  at

Highlights of Bioscience Bay Area Events Week of August 27, 2017

  • Bio2Device Group, Tuesday Morning, Aug. 29, 2017, Topic: “Specifics of Pharmaceutical development for global clinical trials,”Speaker: Chitra Sharma, Founder, gCompliance, Inc.
  • Summer European Networking Event, Wednesday Evening, Aug. 30, 2017, Event: The Summer European Networking Event

You can download the details for the upcoming events this week and those through October 2017 with Audreys PicksAugust 27, 2017.

There is a Jobs That Crossed My Desk Through Aug. 27, 2017 listing also available in pdf.


Posted by: Audrey Erbes | August 20, 2017

Overarching Political Events Take Center Stage from Healthcare

Not Much to Say This Week in Face of Overarching Political Events

It seems that latest political events just can’t surprise us anymore as the President utters the most outrageous statements and his dysfunctional administration struggles to keep itself upright. He fired Steve Bannon yesterday for his white supremacist efforts but more likely the reason was to stop Bannon’s war inside the West Wing against his son-in-law Jared Kushner, daughter Ivanka and H.R. McMaster, US National Security Advisor. As White Nationalist and Breitbart, Bannon was constantly stirring up trouble trying to fault the “internationalists” whom he opposed. It is more likely that the fact  Bannon was leaking stories about the family couldn’t be tolerated by “45.”

We still have his Secretary of Human Health Care Tom Price attempting to destroy Obamacare as well as the far right wing Republicans continuing to want to gut Medicaid now and Medicare next.

Republicans seem unable to take step to remove the President for fear of losing their power of control over three branches of government which allows them to achieve their agenda. But meanwhile Congress is getting absolutely nothing done in way of promised legislation.

We hope that returning members of Congress will continue effort to work on bipartisan reform of Obama Care. They did succeed in getting President to begrudgingly make payments to insurance companies in August which sustains Obamacare for short term.

Highlights of BioScience Events in Bay Area Week of August 20, 2017

  • Bio2Device Group, Tuesday Morning, Aug. 22, 2017, Topic: Fist Assist: The first renal failure medical wearable, Speaker: Tej M. Singh, MD, MBA, CEO and President, Fist Assist Devices, LLC
  • ASQ Biomedical Discussion Group, Wednesday Evening, Aug. 23, 2017, Topic: “Data Integrity – Beyond “Good Documentation Practices” A small company view to creating a culture of compliance,” Speaker: George J. Marcel, Director of Quality Assurance at TheraNova LLC

You can download the details for the upcoming events this week and those through October 2017 with Audreys PicksAugust 20, 2017.


Posted by: Audrey Erbes | August 13, 2017

No Major Changes in Healthcare Status

No News on Congressional Actions on Healthcare Reform This Week

With all the distraction of world events surrounding North Korean fiery rhetoric from the country’s leader, Alt Right domestic violence in Virginia and associated shock with the President’s handling of those and other matters including the potential dismissal of 755 American diplomats from Russia in September, many senior congressmen have distanced themselves from the presidential rhetoric or opposed his statements.  We believe that the small bipartisan groups in both the House and Senate continue to work on minimally shoring up Obamacare.

A poll of citizens continues to support Obamacare and even a majority of Republicans want to make Obamacare work. While the President wants to allow the current health care bill to implode, a Kaiser poll shows “95 percent of Democrats, 80 percent of Independents, 52 percent of Republicans and 51 percent of self-identified Trump supporters said Trump should fix Obamacare rather than allow it to fail”.

Source: Poll: Americans Overwhelmingly Say Trump Should Try to Make Obamacare Work by Gabrielle Levy, Aug. 11, 2017 at

Bay Area BioScience Events Week of August 13, 2017

  • Bio2Device Group, Tuesday Morning, August 15, 2017, Topic: “Japan’s Rapidly Aging Society: How to Innovate for This”
  • Syntex Syva Alumni Summer Picnic , Thursday Evening, August 17, 2017

You can download the details for the upcoming events this week and those through October 2017 with Audreys PicksAugust 13, 2017.


Posted by: Audrey Erbes | August 6, 2017

Health Care Bipartisanship in Both House and Senate

Will Bipartisanship on Health Care Reforms Work?

Some bipartisan support within both the Senate and House exist to fix problems with Obamacare but they may not be able to get a lot done at this time. One deadline that impacts the quality of healthcare comes Sept. 27 when insurance companies will negotiate with federal government on costs of care for 2018.

Sen. Lamar Alexander, R-Tennessee, said the Senate health committee will hold bipartisan health care hearings on how to repair the individual market. In the House, a group of 40 lawmakers from both parties endorsed an outline of ideas aimed at making urgent fixes to Obamacare. This step toward bipartisanship on health care comes as some Republicans disagree with Trump’s plan to let Obamacare die. Trump wants to let go attempts to do anything but allow Obamacare to fail by stopping required payments for cost sharing that impacts about 15 million recipients.

In the House the group consisting of about 40 Republicans and Democrats called the Problem Solvers have been working on ideas to solve problems with existing health care. The group’s proposal includes; (1) mandatory funding for cost-sharing reduction payments; (2) the creation of a stability fund; (3) a repeal of the medical device tax; and (4) to raise the threshold of the employer mandate so that companies with 500 employees or more, rather than 50, are required to provide workers with health insurance.

A spokesperson for Paul Ryan says there are no plans to move such above legislation forward any time soon.

(Source: Senator announces bipartisan health care hearing on Obamacare By Madison Park, CNN at

Highlights of Life Science Events Week of August 6, 2017

  • Bio2Device Group, Tuesday Evening, August 8, 2017, Topic: “Drug Safety and Pharmacovigilance, the Past, Present and Future, Speaker: Anupam Agarwal, MD, MPH, Head of Clinical Safety and Pharmacovigilance, Zogenix, Inc.
  • AWIS SF, Tuesday Evening, August 8, 2017, Event: Monthly Journal Club
  • WIB-San Francisco, Wednesday Evening, August 9, 2017, Topic: “Exploring Themes in Translational Research: An Essential Element of Therapeutic Development, The panel includes our moderator, Maureen Cronin, Ph.D. (Executive Director of Informatics and Knowledge Utilization at Celgene), and panelists: Oranee Daniels, M.D. (CMO at Antiva Bioscience), Ellen Filvaroff, Ph.D. (Senior Director in Translational Development at Celgene), Nancy K. Pryer, Ph.D. (Vice President of Translational Sciences at BioMarin), and Victoria Sung, Ph.D. (Director of Translational Development at Celgene)
  • AWIS Potluck Picnic, Saturday, Aug. 12, 2017, Event: 11th Annual NCC-AWIS picnic

You can download the details for the upcoming events this week and those through October 2017 with Audreys PicksAugust 6, 2017.


Posted by: Audrey Erbes | July 30, 2017

Attempt to Pass Skinny Version of Obamacare Repeal Bill Fails

Congress Has Forgotten How to Write and Pass a Bill

The healthcare bill process is ludicrous if you forget that we are talking about tens of millions of Americans’ health care in the balance. The loss of bipartisanship and allegiance to party win above the health and welfare of American citizens is probably the principal cause of this fiasco. The role of big money, and lack of ethics on part of many elected to public office has brought us to this state of affairs.

After a late night attempt to pass the “skinny repeal” version, the Republicans failed to get the needed votes. The final vote was 51-49 due to three Republican no votes from Senators Susan Collins (R-Maine), Lisa Murkowski (R-Alaska) and John McCain (R-Arizona). The Senate may be on the verge of protracted bipartisan talks requested by McCain before this effort to pass a “repeal and replace” bill ends.

Bioscience Events Week of July 31, 2017

  • Bio2Device Group, Tuesday Morning, August 1, 2017, Topic: “YawaMed’s novel approach to treat Deep Vein Thrombosis and Pulmonary Emboli,” Speaker: Gerardo Noriega, Managing Director, GVMED
  • RAPS, Friday Morning, August 4, 2017, Event: Networking Breakfast with US Food and Drug Administration

You can download the details for the upcoming events this week and those through October 2017 with Audreys Picks July 30, 2017.


How is McConnell Going to Please Demanding President 45 Who Keeps Changing his Mind about Health Care?

It appears that Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell doesn’t have enough  Republican votes to pass any of the multiple versions of the Trumpcare repeal and replace bill nor the repeal only version,  but we are skeptical that he will give it up.  My crystal ball can’t find a logical replacement approach except working toward a bipartisan new bill which will be a repair of Obamacare.  This would be a 60 vote process with hearings and not done in secret.

But these are strange times! I’m an optimist and still have hope that moderate Republicans want to provide a good health care improvement plan to revise Obamacare which Democrats admit has some problems might win the day.

See comments by Senator Susan Collins made on today’s program Face the Nation. “But we don’t know whether we’re going to be voting on the House bill, the first version of the Senate bill, the second version of the Senate bill, a new version of the Senate bill, or a 2015 bill that would have repealed the Affordable Care Act now and then said that somehow we’ll figure out a replacement over the next two years.

I don’t think that’s a good approach to facing legislation that affects millions of people and one sixth of our economy. What I would like to see us do is to go back into committee. Lamar Alexander, the chairman of the Senate Health Committee, has already indicated his willingness to hold hearings.

We could divide this issue into separate bills and take a look at the serious flaws in the Affordable Care Act, the most serious of which right now is the collapse of the insurance market in several counties throughout this country, so that people who have subsidies won’t have an insurer that can sell them insurance. That would allow us to hear from expert witnesses, to get input from actuaries and governors and advocacy groups and health care providers, and most important, from members of both sides of the aisle, Republicans as well as Democrats.”


Life Science Events in Bay Area Week of July 23, 2017

  • Bio2Device, Tuesday Morning, July 25, 2017, Topic: New Method and Catheter to Treat Patients Experiencing Kidney Failure, Speaker: Ronald C. Allen, PhD, CEO and President, Chrysalis Medical
  • PBSS, Friday Midday, July 28, 2017, Event: PBSS-San Francisco Bay Seminar Luncheon, Topic: “Developing Relevant Human Neural In Vitro Assays for CNS Safety Assessment and Drug Discovery: Challenges and Perspectives”

You can download the details for the upcoming events this week and those through October 2017 with Audreys Picks July 23, 2017.




Posted by: Audrey Erbes | July 10, 2017

Status of Trumpcare 3.0

Latest on Trumpcare 3.0

Senate Republicans can’t get to 50 votes to pass this latest version of Thrumpcare so Mitch McConnell is threatening to work with Democrats to pass a form of the legislation. But now McConnell has a new version. He is expected to reveal latest version this Thursday with vote next week. McConnell has delayed August recess two weeks to allow for work on legislation.

Democrats would agree to improve Obamacare but not its repeal. Keep posted!

Highlights of Bay Area Bioscience Events Week of July 9, 2017

  • Bio2Device Group, Tuesday Evening, July 11, 2017, Topic: “Pharma and Digital Health,” Speaker: Yan Chow, MD. Medical Director for Digital Health in the Medical Sciences Early Development, Amgen
  • East Bay AWIS and GGSC, Wednesday Evening, July 12, 2017, Topic: “How to Accomplish More by Doing Less;” Speaker: Christine Carter, Ph.D. A sociologist and senior fellow at UC Berkeley’s Greater Good Science Center,

You can download the details for the upcoming events this week and those through October 2017 with Audreys Picks July 9, 2017.


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