Posted by: Audrey Erbes | October 15, 2017

Trump Continues Assault on Obamacare with Executive Order

Now Trump Acts to Sabotage Obamacare with Executive Order

The President takes action to stop payments of subsidies that make insurance more affordable for lower income citizens—mainly from the states that supported him. “Nearly 70 percent of those benefiting from the so-called cost-sharing subsidies live in states Trump won last November, according to an analysis by The Associated Press. The number underscores the political risk for Trump and his party, which could end up owning the blame for increased costs and chaos in the insurance marketplace.

The subsidies are paid to insurers by the federal government to help lower consumers’ deductibles and co-pays. People who benefit will continue receiving the discounts because insurers are obligated by law to provide them. But to make up for the lost federal funding, health insurers will have to raise premiums substantially, potentially putting coverage out of reach for many consumers.”

Source: “Pro-Trump States To Be Most Affected by His Health Care Decision,” by Christina A. Cassidy and Meghan Hoyer, Associated Press, 14 October 17 at


Insurance companies are expected to raise premiums from 15 to 45 percent as a result of the President’s ill-advised move.  Supposedly a top cabinet member called him a “moron” for this and another action regarding the Iran deal. I suspect he won’t make it to the end of the year in office if he continues these antics—the clown conman and huckster in him can’t be suppressed.

Upcoming BioScience Events in Bay Area

  • Bio2Device Group, Tuesday Morning, Oct. 17, 2017,Topic: “Building Wearables to Detect Patient Deterioration Earlier,” Speaker: Werner Vorster, Founder and CEO, Vitls

You can download the details for the upcoming events this week and those through March 2018 with Audreys Picks Oct. 15, 2017.

Posted by: Audrey Erbes | October 7, 2017

Republicans Use Sleight of Hand to Achieve Major Tax Cuts

Republicans Use Sleight of Hand to Achieve  Major Tax Cut for Wealthy and Corporations

John McCain’s lecture on passing legislation the way it was intended in the Constitution didn’t stick long with party leaders.  You thought you had seen the worst with Trumpcare 1, 2 and 3. You haven’t seen anything yet. They have now put together legislative program to again use reconciliation procedure that only requires 50 vote requirement to pass major legislation but also will use deceptive promises without any intent of delivering on them. The large tax cut is still prime driver with major social programs used to fund it over time. There is no true plan to balance the budget—just an appearance that $4.1 trillion budget they just passed in House will make everything right.

What it doesn’t do—stop threats to repeal Obamacare, give tax cuts to middle and lower classes, leave Medicare untouched as promised by Trump, reform Medicaid and strengthen Medicare as assured by Paul Ryan R-Wis. Ryan just uses the positive language to disguise his malevolent economic plans. This most recent plan includes controversial steps to turn Medicare into a voucher-like program for future retirees

The House measure calls for more than $5 trillion in spending cuts over the next 10 years promising to slash Medicaid by about $1 trillion and cutting other health care costs plus cutting other domestic programs in future years. We went through this before—tax cuts to the wealthy which were supposed to put money into the economy—but didn’t. Just like repatriation of corporate profits were supposed to be invested in creating new jobs but instead  were used for companies to buy back company stock.

(Andrew Taylor, The Associated Press, Oct. 6, 2017 found at

Highlights of Bay Area Bioscience Events Week of Oct. 7, 2017

  • QB3, Tuesday MidDay, Oct. 10, 2017, Topic: “Business Model Innovation: Designing Strategies for the Future”
  • Bio2Device Group, Tuesday Evening, Oct. 10, 2017, Topic: The Next Generation In-Vivo Discovery Platform; using technology to advance and accelerate drug development, Speakers: Larry Stevens & Abe Couse, (LS) Vice President Technology Operations; (AC) Vice President of Marketing (Co-Presenter), Vium
  • EPPIC Global, Tuesday Evening, Oct. 10, 2017, Topic: Spotlight Event on Neural Prosthetics, Speaker: Professor Krishna Shenoy, Neural Prosthetic Systems Lab, Stanford University
  • PBSS, Wednesday, Oct. 11, 2017, Minisymposium Topic: “Immunogenicity of Biologic Therapeutics”
  • East Bay AWIS, Thursday Evenng, Oct. 12, 2017, Topic: “The Equity Equation,” Speaker: Mary Russell, attorney counsel to individual contributors, executives and founders on their personal interests in startup equity including:
  • CBA, Saturday Oct. 14, 2017, Event: “Annual Chinese Bioscience Association Conference,” Theme: Promoting Biosciences for Better Human Health- CBA 20th Anniversary

You can download the details for the upcoming events this week and those through Feb. 2018 with Audreys Picks Oct. 7, 2017.


Posted by: Audrey Erbes | October 1, 2017

The Fight for Universal Health Care Continues

Remain on Guard to Ensure only Improved Healthcare is Passed

Although the 50 vote passage threat of passing a Trumpcare plan by the Senate is past, the Republicans are still fighting to have another go at repealing ObamaCare and replacing it with less costly Trumpcare version. Congressmen have their plates full with passing tax savings legislation (note not tax reform) in face of major costs for repairing storm damage in U.S.,  Puerto Rico and the American Virgin Islands.  We have learned that the President comes from the school of blaming people for their illness or crisis–not wanting to pay for it so I am not expecting any grand gesture of resolving the crises of the storms or health care.

Tom Price’s resignation in the face of embarrassing admissions of outrageous spending for private jets domestically and use of expensive military flights overseas is a diversion from Trump’s outrageous glamorous spending for travel for himself and his family and their families. Perhaps it’s Price’s punishment for not getting Obama repeal passed.

Watching the Vietnam War series drives home how politicians can hurt millions of people to enrich themselves. I am still absorbing the shocking facts that were not known about the war earlier. The treatment of war protestors then alerts me to how bad things could get if billionaires are threatened with loss of their huge incomes. Even though they don’t really need more billions, they still don’t want to lose that future income.

Highlights of Bay Area BioScience Meetings Week of Oct. 1, 2017

  • Bio2Device Group, Tuesday Morning, Oct. 3, 2017, Topic: “Operationalizing Product Management for Telehealth Devices,” Speaker: Padmasri Bhetanabhotla,  Director of Product Management, HealthExpense, Inc.
  • JLABS, Tuesday Morning, Oct. 3, 2017, Event: Meet with… Novo Ventures, Speaker: Peter Moldt, Ph.D., Partner, Novo Ventures and Kenneth Harrison, Sr. Associate, Novo Ventures
  • QB3, Seminars in Regulatory Issues, Tuesday Afternoon, Oct. 3, 2017, Topic: “Safety Considerations for Gene Editing and Other Gene Therapy Products: An FDA Perspective,” Speakers: Dr. Ying Huang Pharm/Tox Master Reviewer FDA/CBER/OTAT/DCEPT and Dr. Jakob Reiser, PI & CMC Reviewer FDA/CBER
  • JLABS, Wednesday Morning, Oct. 4, 2017, Topic: “Let’s Talk Legal Workshop | Protecting and Leveraging your Intellectual Property,” Speakers: Stuart Wilks | Assistant General Council, Johnson & Johnson,Megan R. Baca | Partner, Ropes & Gray and Melissa S. Rones | Partner , Ropes & Gray
  • QB3 SBIR Workshop At Berkeley, Starting Oct. 4, 2017, “The Art, Science, and Politics of Writing a Successful SBIR Proposal
  • Free Webinar on European Medical Device Market, Wednesday, Oct. 4, 2017, Topic: “Success in the European Medical Device Market“ webinar
  • Medtech Frontiers, Thursday Evening, Oct. 5, 2017, Topic: “Solving for x: A Solution to the Healthcare Conundrum?” Speaker: Wayne Pen, MD/PhD, MBA, Medical Director &  Health Economist, US Medical Affairs, Genentech

You can download the details for the upcoming events this week and those through November 2017 with Audreys Picks Oct. 1, 2017.


Posted by: Audrey Erbes | September 24, 2017

Republican Senate Attempts a Third Time to Repeal ACA

Graham-Cassidy Trumpcare Latest Republican Push to Kill Obamacare

Dianne Feinstein says the latest new Trumpcare plan is no better than the earlier attempts to eliminate the Affordable Care Act plan. “Coverage for pre-existing conditions would be eliminated, premiums would skyrocket, and Americans would see exorbitantly high surcharges on select conditions like pregnancy, lung cancer, and asthma.) Due to Senate rules, Republicans only have 11 days to pass the Graham-Cassidy bill with only 50 votes so we need to let Congress know and, especially, Senators that we want them to vote no on this Graham-Cassidy Trumpcare Plan. They are planning to vote on this bill without benefit of full report from the Congressional Budget Office on how Americans or our economy would be impacted this coming week.

Republicans would need 60 votes instead of only 50 to pass their latest version of Trumpcare if they miss their arbitrary deadline at the end of Sept. It is hard to believe that they are so strongly focused on repealing and replacing the ACA despite all the opposition demonstrated against earlier Trumpcare versions and now with a renewed no from John McCain of Arizona and two more likely no votes from  Republican senators. Why are Republicans so intent on delivering a campaign promise to repeal Obamacare and seemingly immune to tragic consequences to citizens? Senator Mazie Hirono of Hawaii recently claimed it’s because their party views health care as a commodity and Democrats, a right.

Repealing ACA talking points include:

  • Would leave 32 million more Americans without health care for total of 60 million uninsured.
  • Insurance companies could discriminate against patients and deny coverage based on pre-existing conditions.

In contrast, an overwhelming majority of voters oppose repealing the Affordable Care Act. Americans want to expand health care, in fact, two thirds support Medicare for all.

Action Items

First, call your Senator and make sure they will vote “no” on the Graham-Cassidy bill. You can reach the Capitol Switchboard at (202) 224-3121, or find your Senator’s direct number here:

Highlights of Life Science Events Week of Sept. 24, 2017

  • QB3 SBIR Workshop, Starting Tuesday, Sept. 26, 2017
  • Rosenman Institute, Wednesday, Sept. 27, 2017, Event: Get Help on Device Regulatory Issues from Rosenman Fellow Kevin MacDonald
  • BioScience Forum, Wednesday Evening, Sept. 27, 2017, Topic: “Development of Cell Free Antibody Drug Conjugates and Bispecific Antibodies to Treat Cancers,” Speaker: Trevor Hallam, Ph.D., Chief Scientific Officer, Sutro Biopharma
  • JLABS, Thursday Morning, Sept. 28, 2017,Topic: “The Race to Market: Building an Efficient Discovery Engine,Speakers: David Malwitz| Manager, Bioresearch Quality & Compliance, Janssen R&D;Lynn Young | Sr. Research Manager, Alliance Business & Portfolio Managements, Janssen R&D; Jackie Benson| VP Immunology SCI Innocation, Research Admin, Johnson & Johnson Innovation
  • WIB-San Francisco, Thursday Evening, Sept. 28, 2017,Topic: “Redefining Healthcare,” moderator, Michelle Zeman, PhD (Clinical Genomics Scientist at Invitae) and Deborah Kilpatrick, PhD (CEO, Evidation Health), Ida Shum, JD (Sr. Manager, Business Development at Samsung),Ruchita Sinha (Sr. Director Investments, Sanofi Ventures, Lucia Soares (VP, Healthcare Technology Programs & Delivery, Johnson & Johnson)
  • Northern California 2017 Fall Symposium, Thursday, Sept. 28, 2017, Topic: “The 3R’s”

You can download the details for the upcoming events this week and those through October 2017 with Audreys PicksSept. 24, 2017.


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.


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