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CTT Pharma Discusses Patent Coverage for Pets

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Category: blogSource: benzingaMay 14th, 2022

Tales Of The Very-Much-As-Expected

Tales Of The Very-Much-As-Expected By Michael Every of Rabobank Tales of the Very-Much-as-Expected Once upon a time there was a popular UK show called ‘Tales of the Unexpected’, a pound-shop version of ‘The Twilight Zone’, but fun for all that. For most in markets, 2022 is proving to be a ‘tale of the unexpected’. For those who dwell in twilight zones, it’s sadly all very much as expected. First, yesterday saw the previously-flagged fiscal package from the UK government worth a huge £15bn, giving households hundreds of pounds to offset soaring energy costs, and imposing a 25% windfall tax on energy firms. Doing so had been vociferously rejected for weeks, but the Australian election result cleared heads. As the Daily Mail put it, “In effect, what the Chancellor has announced is ‘helicopter money’ – cash handouts to ordinary citizens. Nothing else, it seems, could give the immediate help they need to get through this economic crisis.” They are wrong, of course. Monetization is what everyone did during Covid. This time, taxes are being raised on the rich – so this is partial monetization and partial redistribution. The true-blue Mail is happy with that state action, which says a lot about where we are today: indeed, what are states there for if not this kind of thing? Yet while sensible policy, this is also inflationary. Unless energy supply increases, as demand now doesn’t fall, prices will increase. On which note, the White House now says it supports opening more oil refineries – except that takes a long time to achieve, and more so when you have the prospect of windfall taxes and a dislike of fossil fuels. Oil is meanwhile back up to around $118 a barrel despite more releases from the US Strategic Petroleum Reserve (SPR). If China reopens, the US may have to refill the SPR at higher prices than it sold from it. ‘Sell low and buy high’ – there is a tale of the unexpected.   Second, agri commodity markets took a dip on rumors Russia was allowing vessels laden with grain to leave the Black Sea from Ukrainian ports. President Putin stated he was not driving the global food crisis, and that he would be willing to drop his naval blockade,… if the West removes its economic sanctions. This isn’t food blackmail, honest, as Davos rightly called it, and which we had flagged as a key risk before the was even started. The White House response is that this quid pro quo is not on the cards; the EU, which may finally get an oil embargo over the line in days, is proposing making breaking Russia sanctions a crime; and Ukraine is unlikely to play the good cop knowing if its food starts flowing again (some via Russian hands), world attention will shift elsewhere. In short, our agri markets team view remains that any price dips look to be temporary rather than structural. Indeed, while fertilizer prices are way off their highs, it is because farmers are using less of it, which will mean lower crop yields. Bloomberg’s David Fickling asks, ‘Now Even Chicken is Getting Too Expensive?’. US egg prices are also about to leap 21% y-o-y due to bird flu, it is reported. It’s a good job we don’t farm monkeys. Third, US Secretary of State Blinken gave a speech framing the White House’s approach to China. Blinken and you missed anything new, however. With the physical and vocal presence of a junior-high school teacher failing to intimidate a class of 10-year olds, he laid out a new plan the same as the old one, with rebranding of “invest, align, and compete”. Yet there was the usual mixed messaging of China being an authoritarian threat to the international order, but also an essential partner in solving global problems. There was incremental movement in implying US businesses should think of ‘values not prices’ – yet no action at all to enforce such hard choices. Indeed, the key message, again, was that the US does not want a Cold War with China,… as many other voices underline not only are they in one, but the risk is a slide towards something worse. This was a speech given against the backdrop of a Chinese diplomatic tour through Pacific islands to offer them security deals: look at the map here and spot a pattern? As China expert @BaldingsWorld puts it in his own blunt fashion, “China is preparing for war and the US is hoping to restart the Shanghai Four Seasons breakfast buffet for conferences. We aren’t even playing the same game at this point.” And there are darker claims out there on YouTube and Twitter (as is always the case). Yet even in the bright lights of Congress, yesterday’s Senate Appropriations Committee hearing on the FY2023 Navy and Marine Corps budget heard the Secretary of the Navy stress, “Our national security depends on sea power”; Senator Shelby say the proposed budget does not appear enough due to inflation and the need to boost defence in a dangerous world – and that while the Navy is constrained in what budget it can present, the Congress is not; and Senator Graham argue it is incredibly dangerous, represents irresponsibility in terms of threats facing the nation, and that the US requires a bigger, not smaller Navy as, “Our enemies are going up and we are going down, which is a recipe for disaster.” That is obviously not the White House stance, but Congress can dispose much more than the president is proposing. One can understand why Blinken wants to cool hot heads to avoid terrifying scenarios. Yet does such a placatory stance work, or makes things worse with a lag? Many voices point to Vegetius (“Si vis pacem para bellum”) and the undeniable fact that Western olive branches have failed to act as any kind of carrot (or stick) against both Russia and China for over a decade. Worse, the White House, which left Taiwan out of the newly-launched IPEF trade deal to appease China, is now talking about separately deepening economic ties with it bilaterally(!) According to reports from Bloomberg, the focus will be on enhanced cooperation and supply-chain resiliency --which seems a somewhat odd choice given the CLS analysis above-- as well as agri products, although not a full free-trade deal. Beijing will be livid. And fat tail risks fatten further. Focusing on the commercial side of this, Columbia Law School (CLS) discusses SEC guidance over potential legal claims US firms could face for allegedly misleading shareholders about the impact of risk events on their supply chains, looking at Covid-19, Russia-Ukraine, and the “next domino” of Taiwan. On the latter they conclude: “The implications for ocean-going trade is at once simple, and terrifying… a PRC invasion of Taiwan could result in a termination of all commercial shipping within 1,500 nautical miles... Issuers would not only lose access to the PRC, but also to ports and markets in Japan, the ROK, Vietnam, Thailand, and Indonesia. It is also highly unlikely that insurers would underwrite any coverage for vessels transiting the Pacific, given the distinct possibility that either Taiwan or the PRC would misidentify a merchant vessel as a combatant. The same is likely true for air freight passing within missile range of the PRC or Taiwan borders.” Furthermore, they add: “A final feature of a PRC-Taiwan conflict is the likely nationalization of PRC natural resources and manufacturing facilities owned by western companies, or controlled by US-PRC joint ventures.  The same is true for manufacturing facilities used by US issuers to source production from private PRC entities.  In the event of an invasion of Taiwan, the PRC is likely to seize these facilities, and issuers are unlikely to have any viable means to recover resulting losses.” Imagine the impact on supply chains and financial markets! Some are laughing at Western stock-pickers who called China “uninvestable” just before some key stocks saw a huge rally. Good point:  but who laughs last laughs longest, as they say. CLS also stresses that SEC’s ‘Pandemic Guidance and Sample Letter’ provides a valuable blueprint for US firms with such potential exposures in how to make them clear to investors: proactive disclosures of Taiwan-related risk (rather than “It won’t happen” stances); and mitigating potential litigation risk by reviewing all statements referencing supply chains, considering single points of failure and inventory, and monitoring developments in Asia. Which, I would suggest, best involves more than listening to Blinken, or indeed any one voice. Fourth, Fed Vice-Chair Brainard just spoke to Congress about digital assets. Her view was clear: she wants to see robust action on a US Central Bank Digital Currency in the wake of the recent crypto market collapse - and because China is pushing ahead with its own. However, she sees this is something Congress needs to act on. She also wants a clear crypto “regulatory guardrail” to protect investors and financial stability, probably meaning no more of this please, or perhaps taxing it close to the same point. After all, we need to get people back in the labor force again chop-chop, rather than day-trading at home and making far more than minimum wage in some cases. (Until recently.) In short, the same kind of ‘national security’ wave we got in the UK with its windfall taxation and helicopter money, which we see in regard to Ukraine and global food supplies, and that we heard from Congress over the size of the US Navy and the risks around it, is likely coming for crypto too. At least Brainard implied she didn’t want to remove physical dollar deposits, which is much of the appeal of the currency around the world. (For good, and bad ‘Twilight Zone’, reasons.) * * * Take this all together and look ahead. What will be the market ‘tale of the unexpected’ for the second half of 2022 and 2023, and what will prove the ‘tale of the very-much-as-expected’? Happy Friday. Tyler Durden Fri, 05/27/2022 - 10:18.....»»

Category: blogSource: zerohedge17 hr. 6 min. ago

Illumina"s (ILMN) Innovations Drive Growth, Cost Woes Linger

Illumina (ILMN) is working on its goals to strengthen its foothold in the multi-billion gene sequencing market with some highly competitive products in its existing portfolio and pipeline. Illumina’s ILMN market opportunities continue to expand owing to accelerated demand from clinical and translational customers. Yet, government budget cuts, including NIH funding issues, are a major headwind. The stock currently carries a Zacks Rank #3 (Hold).llumina exited first-quarter 2022 with better-than-expected earnings and revenues. The robust year-over-year improvement in Core Illumina businesses was encouraging. Revenue contributions from the newly-formed GRAIL business, primarily from Galleri test fees, were significant. NovaSeq consumable and instrument shipments reached new highs during the quarter as the company witnessed robust demand for NextSeq 1000, 2000 from new customers. The company also saw significant growth in the installed base and a record backlog, instilling optimism. Orders for sequencing consumables surpassed $1 billion for the first time in the quarter, setting a new high for the company.Illumina is currently working on its goals to strengthen its foothold in the multi-billion gene sequencing worldwide market with some highly competitive products in its existing portfolio and pipeline. This market is developing rapidly on a global scale, leading to consistent growth in the number of non-invasive prenatal test (NIPT) samples.Within reproductive health, Illumina saw continued expansion of coverage, reimbursement and evidence generation in the first quarter of 2022, particularly in Europe. Countries such as Spain and Italy have expanded coverage for NIPT, with Germany set to follow suit later this year. In the fourth quarter of 2021, the company noted that the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists, or ACOG, revised its guidelines, enabling genetic testing coverage for all U.S. pregnancies, as well as increasing the adoption of its VeriSeq NIPT V2 product globally.Illumina, Inc. Price Illumina, Inc. price | Illumina, Inc. QuoteWithin genetic disease testing, Illumina registered robust first-quarter performance on expanded coverage and utilization of whole genome sequencing (WGS) globally. In April 2022, the company announced an agreement with Germany's Hannover Medical School to implement the use of WGS for critically ill children suspected of having a genetic or rare disease. In infectious disease and microbiology, the company saw a record quarter with incremental global investments in pathogen identification monitoring and resistance. This upside was driven by COVID-19 surveillance and increasing traction for other pathogens, including tuberculosis.In its oncology business, yet another area of focus in Illumina’s market expansion, this strategy led the company to develop pharma partnerships and bring to market custom panel tests.Illumina’s sequencers saw robust demand as sequencing is gradually becoming the standard of care and therapy selection. Genetic testing for therapy selection is also becoming more widely reimbursed, with more than 70% of insured lives in the United States currently covered for these tests. Further, more than 60 targeted and immunotherapy treatments are presently available on the market.On the flip side, during the first quarter, Illumina’s revenue growth across the EMEA was modestly impacted by lower shipments to Russia due to the ongoing war in Ukraine. Revenues from Greater China (which includes China, Taiwan and Hong Kong) were flat year over year as the region's robust clinical demand in hospitals was offset by COVID-19 restrictions since March.Illumina registered a significant year-over-year decline in adjusted EPS in the quarter under review, raising apprehension. The company’s research and development expenses increased 63.9% year over year, which pushed up operating costs by 10.5%. These escalating costs are building significant pressure on the bottom line.Further, in August 2021, Illumina closed the $7.1-billion impending acquisition of non-invasive, early detection liquid biopsy test provider, GRAIL. However, during the European Commission's ongoing regulatory review, the company will hold GRAIL as a separate and independent unit. Illumina is positioned to abide by the final results reached in these legal processes by keeping GRAIL separate while proceedings continue. Further, the company is dedicated to working through the continuing FTC administrative process and will follow any decision the U.S. courts reach.These regulatory complications raise the legal expenses for Illumina, thereby building pressure on the bottom line.In the past year, Illumina has underperformed its industry. The stock has lost 25.2% compared with the industry's 8.1% fall.Key PicksA few better-ranked stocks in the broader medical space are AMN Healthcare Services, Inc. AMN, Medpace Holdings, Inc. MEDP and UnitedHealth Group Incorporated UNH.AMN Healthcare has a long-term earnings growth rate of 1.1%. The company surpassed earnings estimates in the trailing four quarters, delivering a surprise of 15.6%, on average. It currently sports a Zacks Rank #1 (Strong Buy). You can see the complete list of today’s Zacks #1 Rank stocks here.AMN Healthcare has outperformed its industry in the past year. AMN has declined 2.7% compared with the industry’s 62.4% fall.Medpace has a historical growth rate of 27.3%. Medpace’s earnings surpassed estimates in the trailing four quarters, the average surprise being 17.1%. It currently has a Zacks Rank #2 (Buy).Medpace has outperformed its industry in the past year. MEDP has declined 18.8% against the industry’s 62.4% fall.UnitedHealth has an estimated long-term growth rate of 14.8%. UnitedHealth’s earnings surpassed estimates in the trailing four quarters, the average surprise being 3.7%. It currently carries a Zacks Rank #2.UnitedHealth has outperformed the industry over the past year. UNH has gained 16.3% compared with 14% industry growth in the said period. Zacks Names "Single Best Pick to Double" From thousands of stocks, 5 Zacks experts each have chosen their favorite to skyrocket +100% or more in months to come. From those 5, Director of Research Sheraz Mian hand-picks one to have the most explosive upside of all. It’s a little-known chemical company that’s up 65% over last year, yet still dirt cheap. With unrelenting demand, soaring 2022 earnings estimates, and $1.5 billion for repurchasing shares, retail investors could jump in at any time. This company could rival or surpass other recent Zacks’ Stocks Set to Double like Boston Beer Company which shot up +143.0% in little more than 9 months and NVIDIA which boomed +175.9% in one year.Free: See Our Top Stock and 4 Runners Up >>Want the latest recommendations from Zacks Investment Research? Today, you can download 7 Best Stocks for the Next 30 Days. Click to get this free report UnitedHealth Group Incorporated (UNH): Free Stock Analysis Report Illumina, Inc. (ILMN): Free Stock Analysis Report AMN Healthcare Services Inc (AMN): Free Stock Analysis Report Medpace Holdings, Inc. (MEDP): Free Stock Analysis Report To read this article on Zacks.com click here. Zacks Investment Research.....»»

Category: topSource: zacksMay 25th, 2022

Former Fox correspondent says police will have to start monitoring Fox News to prevent Tucker Carlson from lying on air

Carl Cameron, Fox's former chief political correspondent, said Carlson has been "screaming fire in a crowded movie house for years." Fox News host Tucker Carlson discusses 'Populism and the Right' during the National Review Institute's Ideas Summit at the Mandarin Oriental Hotel March 29, 2019 in Washington, DC.Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images Fox's former chief political correspondent said law enforcement will eventually have to step in to "stop the lying" coming from places like Fox News and Tucker Carlson. Carl Cameron said Carlson has been "screaming fire in a crowded movie house for years."  "Sooner or later the law enforcement and the US government is going to have to stop the lying," Cameron said. A former correspondent with Fox News suggested on Saturday that law enforcement agencies will have to take action against Fox News and Tucker Carlson to "stop the lying."Carl Cameron, Fox's former chief political correspondent, told CNN's Jim Acosta that Carlson in particular has been "screaming fire in a crowded movie house for years."  "The fact of the matter is, if you disturb the peace by starting a riot in a movie theater, cops are going to arrest you and you might end up in jail or you might end up in something worse," Cameron said."And that kind of stuff absolutely has to stop, whether it's the antitrust bill to take down and deplatform people who lie and put out falsehoods that cause damage and violent, violent hate — there ought to be something done about it," he continued.Cameron was referencing Carlson's remarks on the Buffalo shooting suspect from earlier this week.As Insider's Connor Perrett and Kieran Press-Reynolds reported, police say they found a document belonging to the Buffalo shooting suspect that was rife with conspiracy theories such as the white nationalist "replacement theory," which claims immigration by non-white people is an attempt to replace the white population in the US.Carlson latched onto that theory in his coverage of the Buffalo shooting, said Cameron, adding that the US government has to take action against people who spread and amplify misinformation."Democrats have to kick it in," he said. "The president has to be more forceful and sooner or later the law enforcement and the US government is going to have to stop the lying because it's causing people's deaths.""It's not just Fox, it's social media in general," he added. "It's on the internet. And we have to remember that a good portion of what we read is coming from folks who aren't Americans, pretending to be Americans in order to gaslight them even worse."When reached for comment, a Fox News spokesperson directed Insider to various on-air comments from Carlson in which he denounces political violence.Read the original article on Business Insider.....»»

Category: topSource: businessinsiderMay 22nd, 2022

"Digital Dystopia" Looms: 90% Of Nations Are Planning CBDCs

'Digital Dystopia' Looms: 90% Of Nations Are Planning CBDCs Authored by Kit Knightly via Off-Guardian.org, A new report from the Bank of International Settlements estimates that up to 90% of national central banks are at least in the planning stages for launching a central bank digital currency (CBDC): Nine out of 10 central banks are exploring central bank digital currencies (CBDCs), and more than half are now developing them or running concrete experiments. In particular, work on retail CBDCs has moved to more advanced stages This echoes a March report from the IMF, which claimed over one hundred nations are at least in the planning stages of releasing their own CBDC. You can read the entire IMF report here, or a summary published by Bloomberg here. It seems programs of government-issued digital money have been gaining momentum all around the world since at least 2020, and apparently, now they exist in over half the countries on the planet. The newest of these – Brazil and Namibia – announced their plans only last month. As with all globalist agendas, the push for CBDCs is always part of “the current thing”. First, it was a response to Covid. Then they could help us halt climate change. Then they’re a response to the war in Ukraine. Using that method they have moved from a barely-discussed fringe idea to regular mainstream coverage and 90% of the world trying them out, all within the space of a couple of years (as we predicted they would in our New Years post) Interestingly, while CBDCs are being talked about more and more, there is one specific feature of them which is being talked about less and less: Programmability. Regular readers will be more than familiar with this concept – we discussed it in detail in our previous articles on CBDCS (here and here). For those new readers: programmability is a hypothetical feature of digital currency which would allow the issuer to set limits and controls over its use. Essentially, any CBDC would give either the state, the central bank or the corporation issuing the money as wages the power to control how and where the money is spent. Any CBDC amounts to potential third-party control of your money. It’s that simple. This has massive implications for the very idea of individual liberty. Given how the last two years have gone, it’s not at all hard to imagine how such a system could be abused. Halting payments to “protect the NHS”, garnishing wages to “fight climate change” or individual financial sanctions because you aren’t vaccinated. One need look no further back than the Canadian truckers’ protest to see a state financially unpersoning those who express dissent. A CBDC would make that process both easier for the state to enforce and harder for an individual to avoid. It is, quite obviously, the biggest ethical and societal issue in any potential system of digital currency. And yet, neither the BIS report nor the IMF report nor Bloomberg’s summary discusses the idea of “programmability” in any detail at all.  The word is used precisely once across all three documents, and they never explain what it actually means OffG has covered CBDCs in detail before, and the press has never been shy in talking up the “benefits” of such strictly controlled money in the past. On the contrary, it has always been treated as a major selling point. Agustin Carstens, the head of the Bank of International Settlements discussed the idea in detail in a video in the summer of 2021: The key difference [with a CBDC] is that the central bank would have absolute control on the rules and regulations that will determine the use of that expression of central bank liability, and then have the technology to enforce that.” A Telegraph article from June 2021 again raved about the possible benefits of programmable currency: Digital cash could be programmed to ensure it is only spent on essentials, or goods which an employer or Government deems to be sensible […] There could be some socially beneficial outcomes from that, preventing activity which is seen to be socially harmful in some way. They were never reluctant to talk up programmability before, so it’s noteworthy they should suddenly shut down that avenue of discussion. Perhaps a sign they over-estimated what people would accept, and are already experiencing more pushback on the idea than they expected. That’s a comforting thought. But don’t be fooled: Just because they stop mentioning it, doesn’t mean they’re letting it go. They just want you to forget about it. Oh, and just in case you were wondering, the list of countries trialling digital currencies includes Ukraine and Russia, the United States and China, Britain and the EU. Every team in the league. Picking a side won’t save you. Tyler Durden Mon, 05/09/2022 - 03:30.....»»

Category: blogSource: zerohedgeMay 9th, 2022

Amarin (AMRN) Q1 Earnings & Sales Hurt by Vascepa Generics

Amarin's (AMRN) Vascepa sales decline year over year amid rising generic competition and COVID-related disruptions during the first quarter. The company's stock falls significantly on May 4. Amarin Corporation PLC AMRN reported first-quarter 2022 adjusted loss of 6 cents (excluding stock-based compensation) per American depositary share against adjusted earnings of 3 cents in the year-ago period. The Zacks Consensus Estimate was pegged at earnings of 2 cents.Revenues, primarily from its cardiovascular drug, Vascepa, were down almost 33% year over year to approximately $94.6 million in the quarter, missing the Zacks Consensus Estimate of $127.91 million. Sales were hurt due to rising generic competition in the United States as well as lower net prices in certain countries.The company continues to avoid revenue guidance for 2022 due to the uncertainty related to the COVID-19 pandemic and generic competition for its sole marketed drug, Vascepa, in the United States.Shares of Amarin crashed 43.1% on May 4 on lackluster first-quarter results and also most probably on the increasing unfavorable impact of generics on Vascepa sales in the United States. The stock has declined 53.7% so far this year compared with the industry’s 21.2% decrease.Image Source: Zacks Investment ResearchQuarter in DetailsProduct revenues, entirely from Vascepa, were $94 million, down approximately 34% year over year due to lower volumes in the United States amid rising generic competition for Vascepa’s reduction of triglyceride levels indication. The company stated that a new generic version entered the U.S. market during the first quarter, taking the total to three generics versions of Vascepa. Moreover, Vascepa sales were also hurt due to ongoing challenges related to COVID-19 disruptions.Licensing revenues were $0.6 million in the first quarter compared with $0.8 million in the year-ago period. The royalty revenues were primarily from sales of Vascepa recorded by its partners in Canada, the China region and the Middle East. Initial sales of the drug in Germany were unfavorably impacted during the first quarter due to a significant surge in COVID-19 cases in the country.The company ended the quarter with $389.3 million in cash and investments, compared with $489.1 million as of Dec 31, 2021.Vascepa UpdateIn October 2021, Amarin initiated a new Go-To-Market strategy in the United States that focuses on enhancing awareness and expanding the company’s reach to healthcare providers, increasing managed care access for Vascepa, and prioritizing cardiovascular risk reduction indication. The company continues to progress with its strategy and focuses on stabilizing Vascepa revenues. It also expanded coverage for Vascepa to approximately 45% of total commercial and Medicare Part D lives.Amarin launched Vazkepa (U.S. tradename Vascepa) in Germany in September last year. The company received reimbursement decisions in up to eight European countries and plans to launch the drug in six of them in 2022.Apart from Europe, Amarin is also focusing on expanding in other international countries. The company’s partners are expected to gain approval for Vascepa and launch it in up to six new countries this year.The company’s partner gained approval for Vascepa in Hong Kong recently and  is planning to launch the drug later this year. A regulatory application seeking approval for Vascepa is under review in China.Amarin Corporation PLC Price, Consensus and EPS Surprise Amarin Corporation PLC price-consensus-eps-surprise-chart | Amarin Corporation PLC QuoteZacks Rank & Stock to ConsiderAmarin currently carries a Zacks Rank #3 (Hold).Some better-ranked stocks from the pharma/biotech sector include Alkermes ALKS, Deciphera Pharmaceuticals DCPH and BeiGeneBGNE. While Alkermes sports a Zacks Rank #1 (Strong Buy), Deciphera and BeiGene carry a Zacks Rank #2 (Buy). You can see the complete list of today’s Zacks #1 Rank stocks here.Alkermes’ loss per share estimates have improved from 14 cents to 3 cents for 2022 in the past 60 days. ALKS has gained 24.4% so far this year.Alkermes delivered an earnings surprise of 350.48%, on average, in the last four quarters.Estimates for Deciphera have narrowed from a loss of $2.94 to $2.77 for 2022 in the past 60 days. DCPH has risen 10.2% so far this year.Deciphera delivered a negative earnings surprise of 2.73%, on average, in the last four quarters.BeiGene’s loss per share estimates have narrowed from $15.79 to $15.66 for 2022 in the past 60 days. BGNE has declined 39.8% so far this year.BeiGene delivered an earnings surprise of 14.63%, on average, in the last four quarters. Zacks Names "Single Best Pick to Double" From thousands of stocks, 5 Zacks experts each have chosen their favorite to skyrocket +100% or more in months to come. From those 5, Director of Research Sheraz Mian hand-picks one to have the most explosive upside of all. It’s a little-known chemical company that’s up 65% over last year, yet still dirt cheap. With unrelenting demand, soaring 2022 earnings estimates, and $1.5 billion for repurchasing shares, retail investors could jump in at any time. This company could rival or surpass other recent Zacks’ Stocks Set to Double like Boston Beer Company which shot up +143.0% in little more than 9 months and NVIDIA which boomed +175.9% in one year.Free: See Our Top Stock and 4 Runners Up >>Want the latest recommendations from Zacks Investment Research? Today, you can download 7 Best Stocks for the Next 30 Days. Click to get this free report Alkermes plc (ALKS): Free Stock Analysis Report Amarin Corporation PLC (AMRN): Free Stock Analysis Report BeiGene, Ltd. (BGNE): Free Stock Analysis Report Deciphera Pharmaceuticals, Inc. (DCPH): Free Stock Analysis Report To read this article on Zacks.com click here. Zacks Investment Research.....»»

Category: topSource: zacksMay 5th, 2022

3 Generic Drug Stocks to Watch Amid Continued Pricing Pressure

The impact of COVID-19 and continued pricing pressure on the Zacks Medical-Generic Drugs industry remains. New product launches may provide some respite for BHC, AMPH and SLGL. Sales of several generic drug makers are likely to decline in 2022. However, a recovery in demand, especially in the United States and Europe, following the easing of restrictions, can provide some top-line support. Product launches have been driving revenues of major generic drugmakers higher, which will likely continue in 2022. Moreover, approval of more biosimilar products will help generic drugmakers accelerate top-line growth, as biosimilars will likely have less competition due to development complexity leading to higher price realization.A residual impact of the COVID-19 pandemic is likely to continue for the Medical - Generic Drugs industry in 2022, hurting revenue growth. Although demand for cough and cold products is recovering, uncertainty lingers with the rise in COVID-19 infection cases in some countries. Physical distancing amid strong lockdowns in several parts of China may hurt demand for cough and cold products in the country. Meanwhile, pricing pressure is easing in North American and European markets but it continues to hurt the top line of generic drugmakers. The consolidation of the volume of drugs among different players in this segment is also hurting the top line of individual generic drugmakers.Companies like Bausch Health BHC, Amphastar Pharmaceuticals AMPH and SolGel Technologies SLGL are poised to beat the COVID-19 challenge on the back of continued demand for their existing products, product launches and other favorable macro factors, including price stabilization.Industry DescriptionThe Medical - Generic Drugs industry comprises companies, which develop and market chemically/biologically identical versions of a brand-name drug once patents, providing exclusivity to the branded drugs, expire. These drugs can be divided into two categories — generic and biosimilar — based on their composition. The generic segment is controlled by a few large generic drugmakers and generic units of large pharma companies. However, several smaller companies also develop generic versions of branded drugs. Generic/biosimilar drugs are significantly cheaper than the original drugs. However, competition in this segment is stiff, which results in thin margins for the manufacturing companies. A few companies in this industry also have some branded drugs in their portfolio, which help them to tap a higher-margin market.3 Trends Shaping the Future of the Generic Drugs IndustryLoss of Patent Exclusivity of Branded Drugs: Generic drugmakers mainly rely on the loss of patent exclusivity of branded drugs. They apply to the FDA for the approval of their generic or biosimilar version of branded drugs, which have lost patent protection. Patent loss of blockbuster drugs like AbbVie’s Humira provides significant opportunities for generic drugmakers. However, these companies may have to face litigation to market the generic version of these drugs and may have to wait for several years before being able to launch an approved generic drug. A company may launch an authorized generic version of a branded product, gaining exclusivity for several months over other generic versions of the same drug. Although the development of biosimilars is a complex process, the generic players have already launched a few.Stiff Competition and Pricing Pressure: The generic drug industry faces stiff competition and pricing pressure. The market is already crowded and faster approval by the FDA will bring in more generic drugs. Although the pricing environment showed some signs of stabilization in the last two years, it continued to hurt sales of several players during the past few quarters. The trend is likely to continue in 2022 as well. Meanwhile, the launch of generic/biosimilar products should strengthen the businesses of major generic drugmakers amid the coronavirus pandemic. With several biosimilars set for launch in 2022, the top line of the industry players is likely to improve greatly due to the potential of attracting higher prices.Patent Settlements: The successful resolution of patent challenges continues to be an important catalyst for the growth of generic drugmakers as these can lead to product launches. The settlement of these challenges accelerates the availability of low-cost generic products and also removes uncertainties associated with litigation. However, active patent challenges require litigation, thereby leading to higher costs.Zacks Industry Rank Indicates Dull ProspectsThe Zacks Medical – Generic Drugs industry is a small 17-stock group, which is housed within the broader Zacks Medical sector.The group’s Zacks Industry Rank is basically the average of the Zacks Rank of all the member stocks. The Zacks Medical – Generic Drugs industry currently carries a Zacks Industry Rank #206, which places it in the bottom 19% of the 253 Zacks industries. Our research shows that the top 50% of the Zacks-ranked industries outperforms the bottom 50% by a factor of more than 2 to 1.Against this backdrop, we will present a few noteworthy stocks. But before that, it’s worth taking a look at the industry’s stock market performance and current valuation.Industry Underperforms S&P 500 and SectorThe Zacks Medical – Generic Drugs industry has underperformed the broader Zacks Medical sector as well as the S&P 500 Index in the past year.The industry has declined 40.6% over this period compared with the broader sector’s 19.1% decrease. Meanwhile, the S&P 500 has decreased 1.8% in the said time frame.One-Year Price PerformanceIndustry's Current ValuationOn the basis of forward 12 months price-to-sales (P/S F12M), which is a commonly used multiple for valuing generic companies, the industry is currently trading at 0.76X compared with the S&P 500’s 4.01X and the Zacks Medical sector’s 2.09X.Over the last five years, the industry has traded as high as 1.27X, as low as 0.76X, and at the median of 1.02X, as the charts below show.Price-to-Sales Forward Twelve Months (F12M) Ratio3 Generic Drug Stocks to Keep an Eye OnAmphastar: The company develops, manufactures, and markets generic and proprietary injectable, inhalation, and intranasal products, as well as an insulin-active pharmaceutical ingredient. The company is focused on expanding its portfolio of generics and biosimilars. Currently, the company has five generic drugs and one branded product under review with the FDA. It is also developing three biosimilar drugs and eight generic drugs with significant market opportunity. The company plans to launch a new drug, Vasopressin, in the third quarter of 2022. Meanwhile, the sales of several key products demonstrated a recovering trend from the unfavorable impact of COVID-19 during the second half of 2021. We expect the recovery in sales growth momentum to continue in 2022.The consensus estimate for 2022 has improved from earnings per share of $1.46 to $1.62 over the past 60 days.Amphastar carries a Zacks Rank #3 (Hold). You can see the complete list of today’s Zacks #1 Rank (Strong Buy) stocks here. Bausch Health: The company develops, manufactures and markets a wide array of branded, generic and branded generic pharmaceuticals, over-the-counter (OTC) products. The new drugs should continue to fuel the top line. Several key products gained market share in 2021, which is likely to improve revenues in 2022. The company’s plans to divest its eye health and Solta Medical businesses into a separate publicly trading company through an initial public offering will enable it to pay down its huge debt levels.The consensus estimate for 2022 has been stable at $4.50 per share over the past 60 days. The company has a Zacks Rank #3.SolGel: It is a dermatology company engaged in developing generic topical drug products for the treatment of skin diseases. The company recently received FDA approval for two proprietary skin treatment drugs. It also sold its rights to certain generic collaborative programs. The company believes that its cash resources will enable funding of operational and capital expenditure requirements through the end of 2023.The consensus estimate for 2022 earnings has narrowed from 75 cents to 63 cents over the past 60 days. The company has a Zacks Rank #3. Just Released: Zacks' 7 Best Stocks for Today Experts extracted 7 stocks from the list of 220 Zacks Rank #1 Strong Buys that has beaten the market more than 2X over with a stunning average gain of +25.4% per year. These 7 were selected because of their superior potential for immediate breakout. See these time-sensitive tickers now >>Want the latest recommendations from Zacks Investment Research? Today, you can download 7 Best Stocks for the Next 30 Days. Click to get this free report Bausch Health Cos Inc. (BHC): Free Stock Analysis Report Amphastar Pharmaceuticals, Inc. (AMPH): Free Stock Analysis Report SolGel Technologies Ltd. (SLGL): Free Stock Analysis Report To read this article on Zacks.com click here. Zacks Investment Research.....»»

Category: topSource: zacksMay 2nd, 2022

Global Markets Tumble On Hawkish Central Bank Anguish, China Lockdown Fears

Global Markets Tumble On Hawkish Central Bank Anguish, China Lockdown Fears The global selloff that started in Asia, sending China's CSI300 plunging to the lowest level since May 2020, slamming the offshore yuan below 6.60 and sparking a liquidation in oil and cryptos amid fears that the Shanghai lockdown will spread to the capital Beijing and lead to an even greater slowdown in the global economy... ... has quickly spread around the globe, slamming not just European markets but US equity futures which slid as much as 1% as traders fretted over the prospects of aggressive tightening by the Federal Reserve, Chinese lockdowns and disappointing earnings. S&P 500 futures were down 0.9% as of 7:00am EDT after plunging 2.8% on Friday, while Nasdaq futures retreated 0.8%, with the rout hammering tech stocks especially hard. Some context: the Nasdaq 100 Index has erased about $1 trillion in market value since Netflix released disappointing earnings and is closing in on oversold levels; the tech-heavy FANGMAN basket has lost $2.4 trillion in market cap from 2021 ATH as Netflix and Facebook  Meta, have lost most of their gains from past 5yrs. Remember when Facebook hit the $1tn market cap club in 2021? Now it’s worth exactly half that. But now the tech bear market is finally spreading all US stocks which closed at their lowest levels in more than a month on Friday as fears over a more aggressive Federal Reserve tightening cycle led to broad-based selling. Investors are entering another busy week for big technology companies’ earnings, with Alphabet, Microsoft, Meta Platforms, Paypal and Apple all reporting results although don't expect some miraculous surge. Investor mood was already morose after Fed chair erome Powell’s hawkish comments last week hurt sentiment already sapped by the war in Ukraine, a slowdown in China and the risks inflation poses to company earnings, according to Michael Hewson, chief analyst at CMC Markets in London. “The final straw appears to be a concern about the prospect of a policy mistake by central banks, and a possible recession by the end of the year,” he said. One sole glimmer of green, Twitter shares, rose 0.6% in premarket trading after a WSJ report that Elon Musk met with the social media platform’s executives on Sunday as the company turns more receptive toward the billionaire’s $43 billion takeover offer. As discussed earlier, U.S.-listed Chinese stocks fell in premarket trading as expanded Covid lockdown measures in major Chinese cities spark concerns over the country’s growth outlook. Pinduoduo led a decline in American depositary receipts, down 4.7% in premarket trade. E-commerce peers Alibaba Group fell 3.9% and JD.com lost 2.5%. Electric carmakers including Nio and Li Auto also fell. The weakness tracks a 4.9% slump in China’s CSI 300 Index, which closed at its lowest level in two years. Here are some other notable premarket movers: U.S.-listed Chinese stocks look set to open lower on Monday as expanded Covid lockdown measures in major cities sparked concerns over the country’s economic growth outlook. Pinduoduo (PDD US) led a decline in American depositary receipts, down 4.7% in premarket trade. E-commerce peers Alibaba (BABA US) fell 3.9% and JD.com (JD US) lost 2.5%. Electric carmakers including Nio (NIO US) and Li Auto (LI US) also fell. AT&T (T US) reinstated with a buy rating at Goldman Sachs with the focus turning to the telecom giant’s core business, while the broker cuts its rating on Verizon (VZ US) on valuation grounds. AT&T up 0.6% in premarket, Verizon -1.4%. Cenntro Electric (CENN US) rises as much as 22% premarket ahead of the electric-vehicle company’s quarterly update due after the close on Monday. Kellogg (K US) was downgraded to hold from buy at Deutsche Bank, which stays cautious and below consensus ahead of 1Q22 results because of headwinds including worsening inflation and supply chain disruptions. Shares down 1.4% in premarket. Morgan Stanley says DoorDash (DASH US) is the “best executor around” among food delivery companies, but awaits a better entry point as initiates at equal-weight with Street- low $100 target. Shares down 1.1% in premarket on low volume. GoDaddy (GDDY US) upgraded to overweight at Piper Sandler on strong free cash flow potential, with the broker cutting its ratings on Wix.com (WIX US) and Squarespace (SQSP US) in a rejig of its digital presence coverage. GoDaddy little changed in premarket, Wix.com and Squarespace not traded. Coca-Cola and Activision Blizzard are among companies reporting earnings today. In Europe, markets are under heavy pressure: Euro Stoxx 50 drops as much as 2.6% with several other core indexes down over 2%. Spain’s IBEX outperforms. Miners are the weakest performers with the Stoxx 600 sector down over 5%. Energy and consumer products and services similarly lag.  Europe’s Basic Resources Index  crashed 6%, and was set for the worst daily drop since March 2020. Here are some of the biggest European movers today: Ubisoft shares rise as much as 12% after Bloomberg reported the video-game publisher is attracting takeover interest from private equity firms including Blackstone and KKR. Garanti stock rallies as much as 5.6% after parent BBVA sweetened its voluntary offer for the Turkish lender and the unit said 1Q net income tripled. Biogaia shares rise as much as 9.6% after the Swedish food-additives and supplements maker published preliminary 1Q sales figures, which included a large beat on operating profit and net sales. Barco shares rise as much as 4.2% after the projector maker’s Cinionic JV won a contract to install laser projectors in 3,500 U.S. auditoriums of cinema chain operator AMC. The Stoxx 600 Basic Resources and Energy sub- indexes both slumped on Monday amid broad declines for commodities prices on concerns that a growing Covid-19 outbreak in China will hit demand. Shell -4.5%, TotalEnergies SE -3.1%, Glencore -6.0%, Anglo American -6.5% Philips stock falls as much as 11% after publishing its latest earnings, where higher provisions related to its recall of Dreamstation breathing machines overshadowed better-than-expected 1Q sales. Roche shares fell as much as 3.6% after the Swiss pharma company reported mixed first quarter results. Sales beat expectations due to a boost to the diagnostics division, while the pharmaceutical unit missed. As we reported on Sunday, the big news out of France is that Macron won the second round of the Presidential Election with 58.6% of the vote vs Le Pen at 41.4%, while Le Pen conceded defeat after the initial projections, according to Reuters and Sky News. Elsewhere, ECB President Lagarde commented that interest rate hikes will not lower energy prices, according to Barron’s. ECB policymakers are said to be keen to finish bond purchases as soon as possible and possibly hike rates in July but no later than August, while they are leaning towards two rate moves this year with three also a possibility, according to Reuters sources. However, an ECB spokesperson declined to comment on the timing of ending bond purchases and potential interest rate increases. The EU is said to prepare the creation of a new trade and tech council with India, according to FT sources. The new forum could be unveiled on Monday during the European Commission President’s visit to India. Earlier in the session, Asian stocks slumped the most since March 11 as China’s worsening Covid-19 outbreak and a looming rate hike by the Federal Reserve hurt risk sentiment.  The MSCI Asia Pacific Index fell as much as 2.2% Monday, setting off a grim start to the region’s busiest week for earnings. The biggest drags were technology stocks sensitive to higher interest rates, including Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing, Alibaba and Tencent.  Equities in mainland China and Hong Kong were among the region’s worst performers. Chinese stocks slid to a two year low amid fears that rising infections in Beijing may spur an unprecedented city-wide lockdown of the capital. The Chinese regulator also ordered platform companies to better handle online violence, dragging tech stocks lower. READ: China Lockdown Angst Rips Through Markets as Stocks, Yuan Plunge The lockdowns that have now expanded to parts of Beijing will “cause a logistical problem that’s going to affect not just China but also the rest of the world,” Jeffrey Halley, Asia Pacific senior market analyst at Oanda, said in an interview with Bloomberg TV.  With no signs of change in Covid zero policy and very little in terms of actual stimulus, “that all points to lower China stocks and we are going to see a weaker yuan going forward,” he added. Investors are also on guard for corporate earnings. Stock-market heavyweights including Kweichow Moutai in China and Samsung Electronics in South Korea are expected to release first-quarter results this week.   With a number of Fed speakers recently showing support for 50-basis-point hikes, tech shares led declines of major gauges in the region. Taiwan’s Taiex dropped 10% from its January high.   Japanese equities dropped, extending a global selloff amid prospects for aggressive U.S. interest-rate hikes and a worsening Covid outbreak in China. Electronics and machinery makers were the biggest drags on the Topix, which fell 1.5%, with 32 of 33 industry groups in the red. Fast Retailing and SoftBank Group were the largest contributors to a 1.9% loss in the Nikkei 225. Indian stocks also fell, joining their peers across Asia, as appetite for risk waned amid renewed concerns over Covid infections and its possible impact on business growth.  The S&P BSE Sensex dropped 1.1% to 56,579.89, while the NSE Nifty 50 Index slipped 1.3% to 16,953.95. Reliance Industries Ltd. lost 2.3%, the most in seven weeks. It was the biggest drag on the Sensex, which saw 23 of its 30 stocks trading lower.   All but one of 19 sectoral sub-indexes compiled by BSE Ltd. declined, led by a gauge of metal stocks.  The continued war in Ukraine and fears of a wider lockdown in Beijing are weighing on sentiment, already impacted by the risk of a global slowdown as the U.S. Fed raises rates to tame inflation. Of the six Nifty 50 firms that have announced results so far, four have missed, while two have beaten analyst estimates. Bajaj Finance, Hindustan Unilever, Axis Bank are among the companies releasing Jan-March earnings this week.  With risk off, safe havens were mostly bid: Treasuries advanced across the curve, with yields on the belly falling about 10bps and 10Y yields sliding 8bps to 2.833%. The belly of the UST curve outperforms by 1-2bps. Peripheral spreads widen to core with 10y Italy lagging peers on the rally. European bonds advanced, yet underperformed Treasuries; the spread between French 10-year bond yields and German equivalents tightened at the open after President Emmanuel Macron was re-elected as French president, only to widen as haven demand supported bunds. IG dollar issuance slate empty so far; preliminary estimates are for around $25 billion this week. •    Three-month dollar Libor +1.11bp to 1.22486%. In FX, the Bloomberg Dollar Spot Index rose a third day to the highest level since May 2020; the greenback advanced against all of its Group-of-10 peers apart from the yen and the Swiss franc; AUD and NZD lag G-10 peers. USD/JPY holds above 128. The euro fell to its lowest level versus the dollar since March 2020, erasing earlier gains amid broader greenback strength.  The pound slumped to the lowest versus the dollar since September 2020 and gilts advanced. The Aussie was the worst G-10 performer amid fears over the outlook for China’s demand for iron ore and with the selloff boosted by options-related selling. The yen rose, as concerns about the economic impact of accelerating U.S. rate increases put a pause on the recent aggressive selling of the currency. Japan’s government bonds tracked Treasuries higher with support from purchases by the Bank of Japan. Perhaps most importantly, the yuan - which until now had resisted any weakness - plunged again, dropping to the lowest level in 17 months as the offshore yuan dropped below 6.60 the lowest level since Nov 2020, spurring a selloff in emerging-market currencies. In commodities, crude futures sold ell off with WTI down over 4% and back on a $97-handle. Base metals are similarly deep in the red. Spot gold drops ~$14 to trade near $1,916/oz. Monday’s pullback in the soaring price of commodities since Russia’s invasion of Ukraine has done little to assuage concerns about runaway inflation. Fed Jerome Powell had outlined his most bold approach yet to reining in surging prices and the European Central Bank signaled stronger tightening. Bitcoin continued to tumble alongside the broader crypto market, even though the harder the stocks fall and the more the Fed tightens, the more it will eventually have to ease, unleashing the next surge higher in cryptos which we expect to push bitcoin over $100,000 and Ether over $10,000. Looking at the calendar, the economic data slate includes March Chicago Fed national activity (8:30am) and April Dallas Fed manufacturing activity(10:30am); consumer confidence, GDP, PCE deflator and University of Michigan sentiment are ahead this week. Today we will earnings from Coca-Cola, Activision Blizzard, Vivendi. Market Snapshot S&P 500 futures down 0.7% to 4,235.25 STOXX Europe 600 down 1.8% to 445.31 MXAP down 2.0% to 166.02 MXAPJ down 2.4% to 546.02 Nikkei down 1.9% to 26,590.78 Topix down 1.5% to 1,876.52 Hang Seng Index down 3.7% to 19,869.34 Shanghai Composite down 5.1% to 2,928.51 Sensex down 1.0% to 56,637.35 Australia S&P/ASX 200 down 1.6% to 7,473.28 Kospi down 1.8% to 2,657.13 German 10Y yield little changed at 0.89% Euro down 0.4% to $1.0751 Brent Futures down 4.4% to $101.96/bbl Gold spot down 0.6% to $1,920.54 U.S. Dollar Index up 0.20% to 101.43 Top Overnight  News from Bloomberg China’s coronavirus outbreak worsened as rising cases in Beijing sparked jitters about an unprecedented lockdown of the capital, with policy makers racing to avert a Shanghai-style crisis that’s already wrought havoc on the financial hub China must take stronger action to boost growth above 5% in the second quarter, said a central bank adviser who warned the country needs to lay a foundation for achieving its full-year target in the face of rising economic risks A sustained and substantial increase in U.S. real yields would be bad news for developing nations as it typically boosts the dollar and sucks capital out of riskier assets, like in 2008 and 2013 The U.S. announced it would start sending diplomats back to Ukraine and provide more military aid as Secretary of State Antony Blinken and Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin visited Kyiv late on Sunday night, in the highest- level U.S. visit to the war-torn country since Russia invaded China’s central bank stepped up its support for several distressed developers by allowing banks and bad-debt managers to loosen restrictions on some loans to ease a cash crunch, according to people familiar with the matter A more detailed look at global markets courtesy of Newsquawk APAC stocks traded negatively after last Friday's stock rout on Wall Street with risk sentiment hampered by holiday closures, China's COVID-19 woes and as participants brace for a busy week of key earnings releases. Nikkei 225 shed around 500 points with sentiment not helped by several earnings guidance downgrades and with Nissan shares were hit as alliance partner Renault mulls selling a partial stake in the Japanese automaker. Hang Seng and Shanghai Comp underperformed on the COVID situation after daily deaths in Shanghai rose again and with the city to conduct another round of mass testing, while Beijing also scrambles to contain an outbreak with its Chaoyang district to require residents and workers to undergo three COVID-19 tests this week. Top Asian News Asia Stocks Fall Most in Six Weeks as China Outbreak Worsens China Woes Stoking Inflation Angst Set to Weigh on the Euro Shimao Unit Proposes to Pay Down Puttable Bond Faster: REDD Loan Curbs Eased for Distressed Developers: Evergrande Update European cash markets kicked off the week lower across the board with a relatively broad-based performance seen across the majors. Sectors are lower across the board with a clear defensive tilt: Energy and Basic Resources sit at the bottom of the bunch amid hefty downside in underlying commodities. Stateside futures are lower in tandem with the broader market sentiment, whilst the NQ is slightly more cushioned by the earlier decline in yields. Twitter is reportedly re-examining Elon Musk’s bid and be more receptive to a deal with the sides meeting on Sunday to discuss the proposal. It was separately reported that Twitter is facing increasing shareholder pressure to negotiate with Elon Musk in his takeover bid and that the Co. is in talks with Elon Musk in which a potential deal could be made as early as this week, according to WSJ. Top European News Macron Gets Second Chance to Show France His Vision Can Work Credit Suisse Special Audit Backed by Norway’s Wealth Fund SocGen Too Quick to Axe Boss Accused of Trying to Kiss Colleague Art Seized at U.S. Homes Part of Crackdown on Wealthy Russians FX: DXY sets new 2022 peak at 101.750 amid safety flight and sharp slide in crude alongside other commodities. Yen back in favour as risk sentiment sours irrespective of denials about joint Japanese and US intervention discussion - Usd/Jpy towards base of 128.87-127.89 range. Aussie underperforms on Anzac Day due to steep decline in copper and iron ore - Aud/Usd tests 0.7150 and Aud/Nzd cross under 1.0850 vs 1.0940 at one stage overnight. Yuan extends depreciation as Covid spreads to a district in Beijing and PBoC continues to lower Cny midpoint reference rate - Usd/Cnh just shy of 6.6000, Usd/Cny eyeing 6.5650. Euro averts 1.0700 test, narrowly, and pares more losses after surprisingly upbeat Ifo survey, on the surface - Eur/Usd rebounds to circa 1.0750, but still well below Macron victory high. Pound loses Fib support on the way through 1.2800 and sub-8400 vs Dollar and Euro respectively. Fixed Income Debt futures firm as risk appetite wanes, but bonds fade beyond 154.50 in Bunds, 119.00 in Gilts and 119-25 in the 10 year T-note. Core EZ bonds lose momentum after German Ifo survey beats and irrespective of less encouraging accompanying statements. French OATs off peak within 147.38-146.28 range posted on confirmation of Macron defeating Le Pen to retain Presidency. European Commission sells EUR 2.499bln (exp. EUR 2.500bln) 0.4% 2037 NGEU; b/c 2.05x (prev. 1.49x), average yield 1.626% (prev. 0.375%). Commodities: WTI and Brent June contacts have continued to decline since the resumption of futures trading. Spot gold has been caged to a near-USD 5/oz range since the European open as the impact of a firming Buck negated the effects of lower yields at the time. Base metals are in a sea of red as China's lockdown woes hit the demand side of the equation – with LME aluminium and zinc the laggards at the time of writing. US Event Calendar 08:30: March Chicago Fed Nat Activity Index, est. 0.45, prior 0.51 10:00: Revisions: Retail Sales, Inventories 10:30: April Dallas Fed Manf. Activity, est. 4.8, prior 8.7 DB's Jim Reid concludes the overnight wrap I survived a weekend alone with my kids but the only way for all of us to cope was to comfort eat and spend so much time on Netflix that I may as well cancel my subscription as there is nothing left to watch now. Never has Mum been so welcome by an adult, 3 kids and a dog, as she was on her return last night. Parenting is hard! Central bankers are finding it hard too at the moment and it was a fascinating past week on that front as several important central bankers belatedly played a game of leapfrog on who could make the most aggressively hawkish rhetoric on taming inflation. Those speaking at the start of the week might have seemed hawkish at the time but by the end of the week they almost looked dovish. The IMF/World Bank gathering probably focused the minds of all the Governors, Presidents and Chairs present and hawkishness spread through the event like wildfire with the notable exception of Japan's Kuroda who is seemingly sticking to the country's YCC. We are now in the Fed blackout period so they won't add to the hawkishness for the 9.5 days before we get the FOMC decision. Note that the BoJ meet on Thursday although nothing suggests they are going to pivot and will remain the last hawkish shoe to drop. The French election has passed without incident with President Macron gaining 58.6% of the vote vs. 41.4% for Le Pen. Macron won 66.1% of the second round vote in 2017 and with him unable to stand in 2027 and with the traditional parties share of the vote at record lows who knows where French politics will be by then. However much water will flow under Le Pont des Arts before we need to worry about that. Meanwhile, the next hurdle for Macron will come with the Parliamentary elections on the 12th and 19th of June. Commonly referred to as the ‘third round’, the elections will be crucial as it will define the make-up of the government Macron must rely on to push through his reform program. See Marc de-Muizon's blog last night here for more on this. The Euro popped nearly +0.6% higher at the Asian open after the results became clear but has subsequently dipped into negative territory as risk off dominates in Asia. Mainland Chinese stocks are sliding with the Shanghai Composite (-1.95%) and CSI (-2.39%) down, falling to its lowest level since 2020 amid the worsening Covid situation in China, particularly in the financial hub of Shanghai. Strict restrictions have begun to spread, with authorities ordering mandatory Covid tests in a district of Beijing and many buildings locked down. The Hang Seng (-2.47%) is also lagging and elsewhere, the Nikkei (-1.94%) and Kospi (-1.44%) are weak. Outside of Asia, futures contracts on the S&P 500 (-0.42%) and Nasdaq (-0.30%) are lower with 2 and 10yr US yields both around -5bps lower. Brent and WTI are both around -2.9%. Moving on to this week now and it is an important one for European inflation with German CPI on Thursday and the French and Italian equivalent (plus PPI) on Friday with the overall Euro CPI the same day. US (Thursday) and European Q1 GDP (Friday) will also be of interest. Back to the US and inflation related data will be the closest watched with Friday's ECI expected to be strong. This is one of the key indicators the Fed use for labour market strength. The core PCE deflator (the Fed's preferred inflation measure) also comes out as part of the income and spending report data on Friday. The rate of growth may well tick down here so this might provide a shred of good news on inflation without changing the story too much. It will be an important week for corporate earnings too with 179 of the S&P 500 reporting and 134 in the Stoxx 600. Big US tech will be the highlight with Microsoft and Alphabet (tomorrow), Meta (Wednesday), and Apple and Amazon (Thursday). Consumption patterns will be in focus when we get results from Coca-Cola (today), Mondelez, Chipotle (tomorrow), Kraft Heinz (Wednesday) and McDonald's (Thursday). Meanwhile, a range of banks across the globe will give a pulse check on consumer credit. Notable reporters will include HSBC, UBS, Santander (tomorrow), Credit Suisse (Wednesday), Barclays (Thursday), finishing with BBVA and NatWest on Friday. Other notable financials reporting will include Visa (tomorrow), PayPal (Wednesday) and Mastercard (Thursday). Other tech-related companies releasing results will include Activision Blizzard (Monday), LG, Qualcomm, Spotify (Wednesday), Samsung, Intel and Twitter (Thursday). In healthcare, another sector that benefitted from the pandemic, reporters will include Novartis (tomorrow), GlaxoSmithKline (Wednesday), Eli Lilly, Merck, Sanofi (Thursday) and AstraZeneca (Friday). To see how the commodity rally and the focus on energy transition affected major commodity companies worldwide, markets will get earnings from Iberdrola, Vale (Wednesday), Total, Repsol (Thursday), Exxon, Orsted, Chevron and Eni (Friday). Downstream users like transport firms will report too, including General Motors (tomorrow), Boeing, Mercedes-Benz and Ford (Wednesday). Other notable corporates releasing results will include Texas Instruments, General Electric, UPS and Caterpillar. The rest of the day by day calendar of events appears at the end as usual on a Monday. Reviewing last week now, as discussed at the top a cadre of central bank officials reinforced the idea that monetary policy needs to tighten on both sides of the Atlantic this year, thus driving sovereign yields higher. Chair Powell, in his last remarks before the Fed’s May meeting communications blackout, lent credence to the wisdom of front loading the hiking cycle and getting policy rates to neutral as quickly as possible. Regional Fed presidents, spanning ideologies, concurred throughout the week. Short-term markets ended the week pricing more than 150 basis points of tightening over the next three meetings, embedding some risk premium for a 75 basis point hike at each meeting. Futures markets are implying Fed policy rates will be north of 2.80% by the end of the year, above the Fed’s estimates of neutral. President Lagarde was careful to draw a distinction between the US and European situation, but nevertheless would not rule out an increase to ECB policy rates as early as July, following the cessation of net APP purchases, which is likely early in the third quarter. Markets are pricing 24 basis points of ECB tightening by the July meeting, and 85 basis points of tightening for the rest of the year. Bank of England Governor Bailey highlighted the path of policy was laced with uncertainty, but inflation was likely to increase due to rising energy costs. Bailey added the bank would not sell its security holdings into fragile markets. Even committed dove, Ingves of the Swedish Central Bank, rowed back on his previous mantras and acknowledged tightening was needed. As a result, Sovereign yields were higher in each jurisdiction, with 10yr Treasury, bund, and gilt yields increasing +8.2bps (-1.2bps Friday), +10.6bps (+2.4bps Friday), and +7.4bps (-4.9bps Friday), respectively. For their part, 10yr OAT yields closed the week at a +44.5bp spread above bund equivalents, their tightest since March, as President Macron’s polling advantage increased heading into yesterday’s election. Equity indices retreated on the tighter policy path. The STOXX 600 fell -1.42% (-1.79% Friday) while the S&P 500 was -2.75% lower (-2.77% Friday), bringing it into correction territory YTD (-10.37%) again. Mega cap tech stocks bore the brunt, with FANG+ falling -8.76% (-1.99%) as higher discount rates hit valuations. The mega cap losses accelerated after Netflix reported it lost subscribers in the first quarter, which sent its share prices more than -35% lower. The reprieve was only temporary the following day when Tesla reported a record profit on the back of surging electric car demand. Brent crude oil futures were relatively subdued by comparison to other asset classes and recent volatility, falling -5.43% (-2.48% Friday) over the week to $105.64/bbl. Elsewhere the IMF revised down their global growth expectations in light of Russia’s invasion, expecting the global economy to grow 3.6 percent in each of the next two years. Fighting continued in eastern Ukraine, with Russia declaring victory over the port city of Mariupol, while there was not any material public progress in peace negotiations. The Credit Derivatives Determinations Committee said Russia’s remuneration of foreign currency bonds with rubles would constitute a default and trigger credit default swaps. Russia has a 30-day grace period, which ends May 4, to make creditors whole. Tyler Durden Mon, 04/25/2022 - 07:48.....»»

Category: worldSource: nytApr 25th, 2022

It Is "Just A Matter Of Time" Before Gold Rises 5x Or More: Lawrence Lepard

It Is "Just A Matter Of Time" Before Gold Rises 5x Or More: Lawrence Lepard Submitted by QTR's Fringe Finance Friend of Fringe Finance Lawrence Lepard released his most recent investor letter a few days ago with his updated take on the seismic changes occurring in monetary policy globally as a result of the Russia/Ukraine conflict. He takes us through history as to how this landscape has changed in the past, and what could be coming in years ahead. Larry had joined me for several interviews last year and I believe him to truly be one of the muted voices that the investing community would be better off for considering. He’s the type of voice that gets little coverage in the mainstream media, which, in my opinion, makes him someone worth listening to twice as closely. Larry was kind enough to allow me to share his most recent thoughts. Part 1 is below, where he lays out his case for massive upside in gold, and Part 2 will be published later this week. Reviewing the history and structure of the world monetary system is instructive given recent political developments with the kinetic war launched by Russia in the Ukraine. It can help us as we try to determine what happens next (Many of you know this, but allow us to review).  Bretton Woods I: 1944-1960s Period  Toward the end of World War II, in July 19441, the leaders of the free world convened a monetary conference in Bretton Woods, NH to establish the rules for a post war monetary system. This is now referred to as Bretton Woods I.   At this conference, the US Dollar was made the international reserve currency for the world financial system. The dollar would be backed by gold and could be exchanged for bullion at the price of $35 per ounce. (US citizens did not have that exchange privilege due to Roosevelt’s 1933 Executive Order 6102, which made it illegal for US citizens to own gold; this was repealed in 1975). All other foreign currencies would be pegged to the dollar at fixed exchange rates.  The exchangeability of dollars for gold was credible because the US had 650,000 ounces (20.5 metric tonnes) of gold on deposit. In the early post war period, this arrangement worked fairly well, and the dollar was further supported because the US was the leading industrial nation; Japan and Germany’s economies had been devastated by the war.  From 1946-1957, US economic growth was solid, and the US Federal government was generally fiscally responsible and ran budget surpluses in 6 of those 11 years. Deficit years contained small deficits and only  the Korean conflict spiked the annual deficit in 1953. Inflation was present in the late 1940’s and 1950’s, but the Fed kept interest rates in check through financial repression (yield curve control). The US dominated  the world militarily. US economic growth was robust as returning GI’s started families, bought houses and cars. The US was a net exporter with a positive balance of trade. There was a high level of trust in the dollar  and its exchangeability for gold was a backstop. 1960s: Deficits Drive a “Run on Gold” and the Ultimate Failure of the London Gold Pool  However, the pot started to boil in the 1960’s with the US entering the Vietnam War, along with President Johnson’s “Great Society” social programs (welfare, Medicare, Medicaid). This spending was called “Guns and Butter” at the time and led to significant US Fiscal deficits. The net result of these deficits, and the monetization (money printing) employed to finance them, was that foreign creditors began to doubt the value of the dollar as measured in gold terms. Thus, many of those creditors began to take the US up on its offer to exchange dollars for gold.   As you can see in the chart below, the trend of foreigners exchanging dollars for US gold bullion began in 1959 when the US ran a fiscal budget deficit of $13 billion (at the time considered very large). Those deficits persisted and grew throughout the 1960’s, and so did the outflow of US Treasury gold.    The leader in the repatriation effort was France, and its President Charles de Gaulle, who was advised by economist Jacques Reuff. Reuff pointed out that the US Dollar, as the world’s reserve currency, enjoyed an  “exorbitant privilege” where foreigners see themselves supporting American living standards. As American economist Barry Eichengreen summarized: "It costs only a few cents for the Bureau of Engraving and  Printing to produce a $100 bill, but other countries had to pony up $100 of actual goods in order to obtain one." This was the first instance of the world recognizing that the US Dollar as the world’s reserve currency allowed Americans to live better at the expense of the rest of the world - but it would not be the last.  As the chart above shows, the run on US gold that began in 1959 accelerated throughout the 1960’s. The US deficits from the Vietnam war grew larger, culminating in a US fiscal deficit of $25 billion in 1968 (again  – deemed to be a very large deficit at that time), a figure that had not been exceeded since WW II.   (This post is free but if you have the means and would like to support my work, I'd love to have you as a subscriber by clicking here).  In fact, the free market price of gold in London was trading above the official $35 reference price. Investors realized that the US fiscal position was untenable, and foreigners who could legally buy gold were turning their dollars in for gold - well above $35 per ounce for delivery in London. Countries were also taking delivery of gold directly from the US treasury in exchange for the dollars that they had earned in trade.  This was now an accelerating bank run on gold. To mitigate this problem, in the 1960s a group of Central Banks formed the London Gold Pool in an effort to keep the free-market gold price close to the Bretton Woods reference price of $35. These Central Bankers manipulated the price of gold through strategic selling, and threats of selling of paper gold. However, the run on gold situation in the 1960s ratcheted up in 1967. Overwhelmed by the demand for physical gold, the British were forced to devalue the Pound Sterling by 14% and gold was trading at $50 per ounce. One by one and led by France, the Central Banks exited the London Gold Pool following 1967 and it failed.   1970s: Nixon Closes Gold Window, Given the Run on Gold  Failure of the London Gold Pool’s manipulation only buoyed physical demand for gold, as all recognized that gold is the ultimate form of scarce and sound money. The US gold reserves were being drained at a very rapid rate; there was massive pressure on the dollar. On August 15, 1971, President Nixon (who had no interest in, or ability to, contain the war spending) “temporarily” closed the US gold window to thwart the “evil international speculators”.  Consequently, without the promised gold exchangeability, the US government had effectively defaulted on  its foreign creditors. We were bankrupt, and confidence in the dollar was fading fast. The impact of the US abandoning the international convertibility of the dollar into gold did not take long to stimulate the price of gold. The US Treasury Secretary, John Connally, went to the G-10 meetings in Rome in late 1971, after the default, and brazenly said “the dollar is our currency, but it is your problem”. The sentiment was not lost on  the other participants and the gold price responded accordingly: Paper Gold Suppression  What is instructive about this history of gold price suppression is that the London Gold Pool tried to manipulate the gold price from 1962 to 1968, somewhat successfully, but ultimately physical gold demand overwhelmed the manipulation scheme and it failed. Over the past 20 years, there is substantial evidence that a similar manipulation scheme has been used by Central Banks, the Bank of International Settlements (BIS) and the Fed, whereby they “sell” paper gold contracts to keep gold prices down.   Gold is the only commodity market where there are large, unallocated paper derivatives which many in the Gold community believe have been used to suppress and contain its price. The evidence for this is overwhelming and buried in many places. Suffice it to say, many analysts believe that there are between 20x, 50x and perhaps up to 1,000x paper claims on each physical ounce of gold in the world today. In effect, the Central Banks, Sovereign Governments and London Bullion Market Association (LBMA) have run a fractional reserve gold market. This scheme will only stay intact if everyone who holds a paper claim on gold does not ask for actual physical delivery (i.e., another run on physical gold like the late 1960s).  Conversely, if all of the claims were presented and asked to provide physical ounces (e.g. think short squeezes in Gamestop in 2021, or more recently nickel) there would either be a Force Majeure (similar to  what happened recently in nickel) or the gold price would rise to multiples of its current price to match supply with demand.  We believe that the gold price has been severely suppressed by Western Governments in order to mask the underlying inflation or dilution of value which has taken place in order to support fiat currencies, Keynesian economics, Western government social policies, and credit inflation. Even with this suppression, the price of gold has performed quite well over the long sweep of time since 1971. Note the chart below shows the decline in US Dollars priced in gold terms.    There are some interesting things in this chart above. First, you can see the effect of the raging inflation in  the 1970’s (red line above) when gold went from $35 per ounce to $800 per ounce (inverted white line). Note that at $800 an ounce gold in 1980, the US Money Supply (M1) was nearly 55% backed by our gold reserves. If the price of gold had been $1,459 in 1980, every dollar would have had 100% gold backing. So even though we were not legally on a gold standard the market had effectively taken us more than halfway there by 1983.   It is also interesting to see M1 money supply (green line above) and how much it has skyrocketed since the 2008 crisis and bank bailouts. It is interesting to consider these numbers in today’s terms which show how much the gold price has been artificially suppressed as a measure of monetary inflation. Today, in order to obtain the bare minimum (30% coverage) necessary to have the US Treasury reserves of gold backing the dollar, the price of gold would need to be $23,000 per ounce, and to get to the 1980 peak of  55%% coverage of M1, the price would be $42,000 per ounce vs. gold today at only $1,970 per ounce. Indeed, there has been quite a bit of monetary inflation in terms of gold!  As concerns our portfolio upside, we think it’s just a matter of time until we get that mid-late 1970s 5x+ gold price acceleration. The reason this has not shown up in the gold price is due to the suppression scheme which until recently was perfected by the Western Central banks and the Gold Cartel. Some Bitcoin enthusiasts like to say Bitcoin is going to steal all of gold’s monetary premium. Gold bugs laugh at this  because there is not much premium in gold to steal. On average, gold costs about $1,200 per ounce to mine and the sales price of $1,970 barely compensates for the capital costs to build mines and replace reserves.  If gold were to trade at much higher prices, then perhaps there would be a monetary premium to steal.  (This post is free but if you have the means and would like to support my work, I'd love to have you as a subscriber by clicking here).  Part 2 of Larry’s letter, where he discusses Bretton Woods III and the state of monetary policy from 1980 onward will be published this week. About Larry Lepard Larry manages the EMA GARP Fund, a Boston based investment management firm. Their strategy is focused on providing "Monetary Debasement Insurance". He has 38 years experience and an MBA from Harvard Business School. On Twitter he is @LawrenceLepard Managing Partner and, via email, he is llepard@ema2.com Disclaimer: QTR is long various gold and silver miners and have both long and short exposure to the market through equities and derivatives. I have no position in Larry’s funds. Larry is a subscriber to Fringe Finance and has been on my podcast. The excerpts from Larry’s letter, above, shall not be construed as an offer to sell, or the solicitation of an offer to sell, any securities or services. Any such offering may only be made at the time a qualified investor receives from EMA formal materials describing an offering plus related subscription documentation. There is no guarantee the Fund’s investment strategy will be successful. Investing involves risk, and an investment in the Fund could lose money. The strategy is also subject to the following risks: Currency Risk, Non-US Investment Risks, Issuer Specific Risk. Tyler Durden Wed, 04/20/2022 - 10:15.....»»

Category: blogSource: zerohedgeApr 20th, 2022

Morrisville pharma looks to raise $50M amid patent dispute with United Therapeutics

The public offering will support the ongoing development of a treatment that is at the center of a patent dispute......»»

Category: topSource: bizjournalsApr 13th, 2022

The Anatomy Of Big Pharma"s Political Reach

The Anatomy Of Big Pharma's Political Reach Authored by Rebecca Strong via Medium.com, They keep telling us to “trust the science.” But who paid for it? After graduating from Columbia University with a chemical engineering degree, my grandfather went on to work for Pfizer for almost two decades, culminating his career as the company’s Global Director of New Products. I was rather proud of this fact growing up — it felt as if this father figure, who raised me for several years during my childhood, had somehow played a role in saving lives. But in recent years, my perspective on Pfizer — and other companies in its class — has shifted. Blame it on the insidious big pharma corruption laid bare by whistleblowers in recent years. Blame it on the endless string of big pharma lawsuits revealing fraud, deception, and cover-ups. Blame it on the fact that I witnessed some of their most profitable drugs ruin the lives of those I love most. All I know is, that pride I once felt has been overshadowed by a sticky skepticism I just can’t seem to shake. In 1973, my grandpa and his colleagues celebrated as Pfizer crossed a milestone: the one-billion-dollar sales mark. These days, Pfizer rakes in $81 billion a year, making it the 28th most valuable company in the world. Johnson & Johnson ranks 15th, with $93.77 billion. To put things into perspective, that makes said companies wealthier than most countries in the world. And thanks to those astronomical profit margins, the Pharmaceuticals and Health Products industry is able to spend more on lobbying than any other industry in America. While big pharma lobbying can take several different forms, these companies tend to target their contributions to senior legislators in Congress — you know, the ones they need to keep in their corner, because they have the power to draft healthcare laws. Pfizer has outspent its peers in six of the last eight election cycles, coughing up almost $9.7 million. During the 2016 election, pharmaceutical companies gave more than $7 million to 97 senators at an average of $75,000 per member. They also contributed $6.3 million to president Joe Biden’s 2020 campaign. The question is: what did big pharma get in return? When you've got 1,500 Big Pharma lobbyists on Capitol Hill for 535 members of Congress, it's not too hard to figure out why prescription drug prices in this country are, on average, 256% HIGHER than in other major countries. — Bernie Sanders (@BernieSanders) February 3, 2022 ALEC’s Off-the-Record Sway To truly grasp big pharma’s power, you need to understand how The American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC) works. ALEC, which was founded in 1973 by conservative activists working on Ronald Reagan’s campaign, is a super secretive pay-to-play operation where corporate lobbyists — including in the pharma sector — hold confidential meetings about “model” bills. A large portion of these bills is eventually approved and become law. A rundown of ALEC’s greatest hits will tell you everything you need to know about the council’s motives and priorities. In 1995, ALEC promoted a bill that restricts consumers’ rights to sue for damages resulting from taking a particular medication. They also endorsed the Statute of Limitation Reduction Act, which put a time limit on when someone could sue after a medication-induced injury or death. Over the years, ALEC has promoted many other pharma-friendly bills that would: weaken FDA oversight of new drugs and therapies, limit FDA authority over drug advertising, and oppose regulations on financial incentives for doctors to prescribe specific drugs. But what makes these ALEC collaborations feel particularly problematic is that there’s little transparency — all of this happens behind closed doors. Congressional leaders and other committee members involved in ALEC aren’t required to publish any records of their meetings and other communications with pharma lobbyists, and the roster of ALEC members is completely confidential. All we know is that in 2020, more than two-thirds of Congress — 72 senators and 302 House of Representatives members — cashed a campaign check from a pharma company. Big Pharma Funding Research The public typically relies on an endorsement from government agencies to help them decide whether or not a new drug, vaccine, or medical device is safe and effective. And those agencies, like the FDA, count on clinical research. As already established, big pharma is notorious for getting its hooks into influential government officials. Here’s another sobering truth: The majority of scientific research is paid for by — wait for it — the pharmaceutical companies. When the New England Journal of Medicine (NEJM) published 73 studies of new drugs over the course of a single year, they found that a staggering 82% of them had been funded by the pharmaceutical company selling the product, 68% had authors who were employees of that company, and 50% had lead researchers who accepted money from a drug company. According to 2013 research conducted at the University of Arizona College of Law, even when pharma companies aren’t directly funding the research, company stockholders, consultants, directors, and officers are almost always involved in conducting them. A 2017 report by the peer-reviewed journal The BMJ also showed that about half of medical journal editors receive payments from drug companies, with the average payment per editor hovering around $28,000. But these statistics are only accurate if researchers and editors are transparent about payments from pharma. And a 2022 investigative analysis of two of the most influential medical journals found that 81% of study authors failed to disclose millions in payments from drug companies, as they’re required to do. Unfortunately, this trend shows no sign of slowing down. The number of clinical trials funded by the pharmaceutical industry has been climbing every year since 2006, according to a John Hopkins University report, while independent studies have been harder to find. And there are some serious consequences to these conflicts of interest. Take Avandia, for instance, a diabetes drug produced by GlaxoSmithCline (GSK). Avandia was eventually linked to a dramatically increased risk of heart attacks and heart failure. And a BMJ report revealed that almost 90% of scientists who initially wrote glowing articles about Avandia had financial ties to GSK. But here’s the unnerving part: if the pharmaceutical industry is successfully biasing the science, then that means the physicians who rely on the science are biased in their prescribing decisions. Photo credit: UN Women Europe & Central Asia Where the lines get really blurry is with “ghostwriting.” Big pharma execs know citizens are way more likely to trust a report written by a board-certified doctor than one of their representatives. That’s why they pay physicians to list their names as authors — even though the MDs had little to no involvement in the research, and the report was actually written by the drug company. This practice started in the ’50s and ’60s when tobacco execs were clamoring to prove that cigarettes didn’t cause cancer (spoiler alert: they do!), so they commissioned doctors to slap their name on papers undermining the risks of smoking. It’s still a pretty common tactic today: more than one in 10 articles published in the NEJM was co-written by a ghostwriter. While a very small percentage of medical journals have clear policies against ghostwriting, it’s still technically legal —despite the fact that the consequences can be deadly. Case in point: in the late ’90s and early 2000s, Merck paid for 73 ghostwritten articles to play up the benefits of its arthritis drug Vioxx. It was later revealed that Merck failed to report all of the heart attacks experienced by trial participants. In fact, a study published in the NEJM revealed that an estimated 160,000 Americans experienced heart attacks or strokes from taking Vioxx. That research was conducted by Dr. David Graham, Associate Director of the FDA’s Office of Drug Safety, who understandably concluded the drug was not safe. But the FDA’s Office of New Drugs, which not only was responsible for initially approving Vioxx but also regulating it, tried to sweep his findings under the rug. "I was pressured to change my conclusions and recommendations, and basically threatened that if I did not change them, I would not be permitted to present the paper at the conference," he wrote in his 2004 U.S. Senate testimony on Vioxx. "One Drug Safety manager recommended that I should be barred from presenting the poster at the meeting." Eventually, the FDA issued a public health advisory about Vioxx and Merck withdrew this product. But it was a little late for repercussions — 38,000 of those Vioxx-takers who suffered heart attacks had already died. Graham called this a “profound regulatory failure,” adding that scientific standards the FDA apply to drug safety “guarantee that unsafe and deadly drugs will remain on the U.S. market.” This should come as no surprise, but research has also repeatedly shown that a paper written by a pharmaceutical company is more likely to emphasize the benefits of a drug, vaccine, or device while downplaying the dangers. (If you want to understand more about this practice, a former ghostwriter outlines all the ethical reasons why she quit this job in a PLOS Medicine report.) While adverse drug effects appear in 95% of clinical research, only 46% of published reports disclose them. Of course, all of this often ends up misleading doctors into thinking a drug is safer than it actually is. Big Pharma Influence On Doctors Pharmaceutical companies aren’t just paying medical journal editors and authors to make their products look good, either. There’s a long, sordid history of pharmaceutical companies incentivizing doctors to prescribe their products through financial rewards. For instance, Pfizer and AstraZeneca doled out a combined $100 million to doctors in 2018, with some earning anywhere from $6 million to $29 million in a year. And research has shown this strategy works: when doctors accept these gifts and payments, they’re significantly more likely to prescribe those companies’ drugs. Novartis comes to mind — the company famously spent over $100 million paying for doctors’ extravagant meals, golf outings, and more, all while also providing a generous kickback program that made them richer every time they prescribed certain blood pressure and diabetes meds. Side note: the Open Payments portal contains a nifty little database where you can find out if any of your own doctors received money from drug companies. Knowing that my mother was put on a laundry list of meds after a near-fatal car accident, I was curious — so I did a quick search for her providers. While her PCP only banked a modest amount from Pfizer and AstraZeneca, her previous psychiatrist — who prescribed a cocktail of contraindicated medications without treating her in person — collected quadruple-digit payments from pharmaceutical companies. And her pain care specialist, who prescribed her jaw-dropping doses of opioid pain medication for more than 20 years (far longer than the 5-day safety guideline), was raking in thousands from Purdue Pharma, AKA the opioid crisis’ kingpin. Purdue is now infamous for its wildly aggressive OxyContin campaign in the ’90s. At the time, the company billed it as a non-addictive wonder drug for pain sufferers. Internal emails show Pursue sales representatives were instructed to “sell, sell, sell” OxyContin, and the more they were able to push, the more they were rewarded with promotions and bonuses. With the stakes so high, these reps stopped at nothing to get doctors on board — even going so far as to send boxes of doughnuts spelling out “OxyContin” to unconvinced physicians. Purdue had stumbled upon the perfect system for generating tons of profit — off of other people’s pain. Documentation later proved that not only was Purdue aware it was highly addictive and that many people were abusing it, but that they also encouraged doctors to continue prescribing increasingly higher doses of it (and sent them on lavish luxury vacations for some motivation). In testimony to Congress, Purdue exec Paul Goldenheim played dumb about OxyContin addiction and overdose rates, but emails that were later exposed showed that he requested his colleagues remove all mentions of addiction from their correspondence about the drug. Even after it was proven in court that Purdue fraudulently marketed OxyContin while concealing its addictive nature, no one from the company spent a single day behind bars. Instead, the company got a slap on the wrist and a $600 million fine for a misdemeanor, the equivalent of a speeding ticket compared to the $9 billion they made off OxyContin up until 2006. Meanwhile, thanks to Purdue’s recklessness, more than 247,000 people died from prescription opioid overdoses between 1999 and 2009. And that’s not even factoring in all the people who died of heroin overdoses once OxyContin was no longer attainable to them. The NIH reports that 80% of people who use heroin started by misusing prescription opioids. Former sales rep Carol Panara told me in an interview that when she looks back on her time at Purdue, it all feels like a “bad dream.” Panara started working for Purdue in 2008, one year after the company pled guilty to “misbranding” charges for OxyContin. At this point, Purdue was “regrouping and expanding,” says Panara, and to that end, had developed a clever new approach for making money off OxyContin: sales reps were now targeting general practitioners and family doctors, rather than just pain management specialists. On top of that, Purdue soon introduced three new strengths for OxyContin: 15, 30, and 60 milligrams, creating smaller increments Panara believes were aimed at making doctors feel more comfortable increasing their patients’ dosages. According to Panara, there were internal company rankings for sales reps based on the number of prescriptions for each OxyContin dosing strength in their territory. “They were sneaky about it,” she said. “Their plan was to go in and sell these doctors on the idea of starting with 10 milligrams, which is very low, knowing full well that once they get started down that path — that’s all they need. Because eventually, they’re going to build a tolerance and need a higher dose.” Occasionally, doctors expressed concerns about a patient becoming addicted, but Purdue had already developed a way around that. Sales reps like Panara were taught to reassure those doctors that someone in pain might experience addiction-like symptoms called “pseudoaddiction,” but that didn’t mean they were truly addicted. There is no scientific evidence whatsoever to support that this concept is legit, of course. But the most disturbing part? Reps were trained to tell doctors that “pseudoaddiction” signaled the patient’s pain wasn’t being managed well enough, and the solution was simply to prescribe a higher dose of OxyContin. Panara finally quit Purdue in 2013. One of the breaking points was when two pharmacies in her territory were robbed at gunpoint specifically for OxyContin. In 2020, Purdue pled guilty to three criminal charges in an $8.3 billion deal, but the company is now under court protection after filing for bankruptcy. Despite all the damage that’s been done, the FDA’s policies for approving opioids remain essentially unchanged. Photo credit: Jennifer Durban Purdue probably wouldn’t have been able to pull this off if it weren’t for an FDA examiner named Curtis Wright, and his assistant Douglas Kramer. While Purdue was pursuing Wright’s stamp of approval on OxyContin, Wright took an outright sketchy approach to their application, instructing the company to mail documents to his home office rather than the FDA, and enlisting Purdue employees to help him review trials about the safety of the drug. The Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act requires that the FDA have access to at least two randomized controlled trials before deeming a drug as safe and effective, but in the case of OxyContin, it got approved with data from just one measly two-week study — in osteoarthritis patients, no less. When both Wright and Kramer left the FDA, they went on to work for none other than (drumroll, please) Purdue, with Wright earning three times his FDA salary. By the way — this is just one example of the FDA’s notoriously incestuous relationship with big pharma, often referred to as “the revolving door”. In fact, a 2018 Science report revealed that 11 out of 16 FDA reviewers ended up at the same companies they had been regulating products for. While doing an independent investigation, “Empire of Pain” author and New Yorker columnist Patrick Radden Keefe tried to gain access to documentation of Wright’s communications with Purdue during the OxyContin approval process. “The FDA came back and said, ‘Oh, it’s the weirdest thing, but we don’t have anything. It’s all either been lost or destroyed,’” Keefe told Fortune in an interview. “But it’s not just the FDA. It’s Congress, it’s the Department of Justice, it’s big parts of the medical establishment … the sheer amount of money involved, I think, has meant that a lot of the checks that should be in place in society to not just achieve justice, but also to protect us as consumers, were not there because they had been co-opted.” Big pharma may be to blame for creating the opioids that caused this public health catastrophe, but the FDA deserves just as much scrutiny — because its countless failures also played a part in enabling it. And many of those more recent fails happened under the supervision of Dr. Janet Woodcock. Woodcock was named FDA’s acting commissioner mere hours after Joe Biden was inaugurated as president. She would have been a logical choice, being an FDA vet of 35 years, but then again it’s impossible to forget that she played a starring role in the FDA’s perpetuating the opioid epidemic. She’s also known for overruling her own scientific advisors when they vote against approving a drug. Not only did Woodcock approve OxyContin for children as young as 11 years old, but she also gave the green light to several other highly controversial extended-release opioid pain drugs without sufficient evidence of safety or efficacy. One of those was Zohydro: in 2011, the FDA’s advisory committee voted 11:2 against approving it due to safety concerns about inappropriate use, but Woodcock went ahead and pushed it through, anyway. Under Woodcock’s supervision, the FDA also approved Opana, which is twice as powerful as OxyContin — only to then beg the drug maker to take it off the market 10 years later due to “abuse and manipulation.” And then there was Dsuvia, a potent painkiller 1,000 times stronger than morphine and 10 times more powerful than fentanyl. According to a head of one of the FDA’s advisory committees, the U.S. military had helped to develop this particular drug, and Woodcock said there was “pressure from the Pentagon” to push it through approvals. The FBI, members of congress, public health advocates, and patient safety experts alike called this decision into question, pointing out that with hundreds of opioids already on the market there’s no need for another — particularly one that comes with such high risks. Most recently, Woodcock served as the therapeutics lead for Operation Warp Speed, overseeing COVID-19 vaccine development. Big Pharma Lawsuits, Scandals, and Cover-Ups While the OxyContin craze is undoubtedly one of the highest-profile examples of big pharma’s deception, there are dozens of other stories like this. Here are a few standouts: In the 1980s, Bayer continued selling blood clotting products to third-world countries even though they were fully aware those products had been contaminated with HIV. The reason? The “financial investment in the product was considered too high to destroy the inventory.” Predictably, about 20,000 of the hemophiliacs who were infused with these tainted products then tested positive for HIV and eventually developed AIDS, and many later died of it. In 2004, Johnson & Johnson was slapped with a series of lawsuits for illegally promoting off-label use of their heartburn drug Propulsid for children despite internal company emails confirming major safety concerns (as in, deaths during the drug trials). Documentation from the lawsuits showed that dozens of studies sponsored by Johnson & Johnson highlighting the risks of this drug were never published. The FDA estimates that GSK’s Avandia caused 83,000 heart attacks between 1999 and 2007. Internal documents from GSK prove that when they began studying the effects of the drug as early as 1999, they discovered it caused a higher risk of heart attacks than a similar drug it was meant to replace. Rather than publish these findings, they spent a decade illegally concealing them (and meanwhile, banking $3.2 billion annually for this drug by 2006). Finally, a 2007 New England Journal of Medicine study linked Avandia to a 43% increased risk of heart attacks, and a 64% increased risk of death from heart disease. Avandia is still FDA approved and available in the U.S. In 2009, Pfizer was forced to pay $2.3 billion, the largest healthcare fraud settlement in history at that time, for paying illegal kickbacks to doctors and promoting off-label uses of its drugs. Specifically, a former employee revealed that Pfizer reps were encouraged and incentivized to sell Bextra and 12 other drugs for conditions they were never FDA approved for, and at doses up to eight times what’s recommended. “I was expected to increase profits at all costs, even when sales meant endangering lives,” the whistleblower said. When it was discovered that AstraZeneca was promoting the antipsychotic medication Seroquel for uses that were not approved by the FDA as safe and effective, the company was hit with a $520 million fine in 2010. For years, AstraZeneca had been encouraging psychiatrists and other physicians to prescribe Seroquel for a vast range of seemingly unrelated off-label conditions, including Alzheimer’s disease, anger management, ADHD, dementia, post-traumatic stress disorder, and sleeplessness. AstraZeneca also violated the federal Anti-Kickback Statute by paying doctors to spread the word about these unapproved uses of Seroquel via promotional lectures and while traveling to resort locations. In 2012, GSK paid a $3 billion fine for bribing doctors by flying them and their spouses to five-star resorts, and for illegally promoting drugs for off-label uses. What’s worse — GSK withheld clinical trial results that showed its antidepressant Paxil not only doesn’t work for adolescents and children but more alarmingly, that it can increase the likelihood of suicidal thoughts in this group. A 1998 GSK internal memo revealed that the company intentionally concealed this data to minimize any “potential negative commercial impact.” In 2021, an ex-AstraZeneca sales rep sued her former employer, claiming they fired her for refusing to promote drugs for uses that weren’t FDA-approved. The employee alleges that on multiple occasions, she expressed concerns to her boss about “misleading” information that didn’t have enough support from medical research, and off-label promotions of certain drugs. Her supervisor reportedly not only ignored these concerns but pressured her to approve statements she didn’t agree with and threatened to remove her from regional and national positions if she didn’t comply. According to the plaintiff, she missed out on a raise and a bonus because she refused to break the law. At the top of 2022, a panel of the D.C. Court of Appeals reinstated a lawsuit against Pfizer, AstraZeneca, Johnson & Johnson, Roche, and GE Healthcare, which claims they helped finance terrorist attacks against U.S. service members and other Americans in Iraq. The suit alleges that from 2005–2011, these companies regularly offered bribes (including free drugs and medical devices) totaling millions of dollars annually to Iraq’s Ministry of Health in order to secure drug contracts. These corrupt payments then allegedly funded weapons and training for the Mahdi Army, which until 2008, was largely considered one of the most dangerous groups in Iraq. Another especially worrisome factor is that pharmaceutical companies are conducting an ever-increasing number of clinical trials in third-world countries, where people may be less educated, and there are also far fewer safety regulations. Pfizer’s 1996 experimental trials with Trovan on Nigerian children with meningitis — without informed consent — is just one nauseating example. When a former medical director in Pfizer’s central research division warned the company both before and after the study that their methods in this trial were “improper and unsafe,” he was promptly fired. Families of the Nigerian children who died or were left blind, brain damaged, or paralyzed after the study sued Pfizer, and the company ultimately settled out of court. In 1998, the FDA approved Trovan only for adults. The drug was later banned from European markets due to reports of fatal liver disease and restricted to strictly emergency care in the U.S. Pfizer still denies any wrongdoing. “Nurse prepares to vaccinate children” by World Bank Photo Collection is licensed under CC BY-NC-ND 2.0 But all that is just the tip of the iceberg. If you’d like to dive a little further down the rabbit hole — and I’ll warn you, it’s a deep one — a quick Google search for “big pharma lawsuits” will reveal the industry’s dark track record of bribery, dishonesty, and fraud. In fact, big pharma happens to be the biggest defrauder of the federal government when it comes to the False Claims Act, otherwise known as the “Lincoln Law.” During our interview, Panara told me she has friends still working for big pharma who would be willing to speak out about crooked activity they’ve observed, but are too afraid of being blacklisted by the industry. A newly proposed update to the False Claims Act would help to protect and support whistleblowers in their efforts to hold pharmaceutical companies liable, by helping to prevent that kind of retaliation and making it harder for the companies charged to dismiss these cases. It should come as no surprise that Pfizer, AstraZeneca, Merck, and a flock of other big pharma firms are currently lobbying to block the update. Naturally, they wouldn’t want to make it any easier for ex-employees to expose their wrongdoings, potentially costing them billions more in fines. Something to keep in mind: these are the same people who produced, marketed, and are profiting from the COVID-19 vaccines. The same people who manipulate research, pay off decision-makers to push their drugs, cover up negative research results to avoid financial losses, and knowingly put innocent citizens in harm’s way. The same people who told America: “Take as much OxyContin as you want around the clock! It’s very safe and not addictive!” (while laughing all the way to the bank). So, ask yourself this: if a partner, friend, or family member repeatedly lied to you — and not just little white lies, but big ones that put your health and safety at risk — would you continue to trust them? Backing the Big Four: Big Pharma and the FDA, WHO, NIH, CDC I know what you’re thinking. Big pharma is amoral and the FDA’s devastating slips are a dime a dozen — old news. But what about agencies and organizations like the National Institutes of Health (NIH), World Health Organization (WHO), and Centers for Disease Control & Prevention (CDC)? Don’t they have an obligation to provide unbiased guidance to protect citizens? Don’t worry, I’m getting there. The WHO’s guidance is undeniably influential across the globe. For most of this organization’s history, dating back to 1948, it could not receive donations from pharmaceutical companies — only member states. But that changed in 2005 when the WHO updated its financial policy to permit private money into its system. Since then, the WHO has accepted many financial contributions from big pharma. In fact, it’s only 20% financed by member states today, with a whopping 80% of financing coming from private donors. For instance, The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation (BMGF) is now one of its main contributors, providing up to 13% of its funds — about $250–300 million a year. Nowadays, the BMGF provides more donations to the WHO than the entire United States. Dr. Arata Kochi, former head of WHO’s malaria program, expressed concerns to director-general Dr. Margaret Chan in 2007 that taking the BMGF’s money could have “far-reaching, largely unintended consequences” including “stifling a diversity of views among scientists.” “The big concerns are that the Gates Foundation isn’t fully transparent and accountable,” Lawrence Gostin, director of WHO’s Collaborating Center on National and Global Health Law, told Devex in an interview. “By wielding such influence, it could steer WHO priorities … It would enable a single rich philanthropist to set the global health agenda.” Photo credit: National Institutes of Health Take a peek at the WHO’s list of donors and you’ll find a few other familiar names like AstraZeneca, Bayer, Pfizer, Johnson & Johnson, and Merck. The NIH has the same problem, it seems. Science journalist Paul Thacker, who previously examined financial links between physicians and pharma companies as a lead investigator of the United States Senate Committee, wrote in The Washington Post that this agency “often ignored” very “obvious” conflicts of interest. He also claimed that “its industry ties go back decades.” In 2018, it was discovered that a $100 million alcohol consumption study run by NIH scientists was funded mostly by beer and liquor companies. Emails proved that NIH researchers were in frequent contact with those companies while designing the study — which, here’s a shocker — were aimed at highlighting the benefits and not the risks of moderate drinking. So, the NIH ultimately had to squash the trial. And then there’s the CDC. It used to be that this agency couldn’t take contributions from pharmaceutical companies, but in 1992 they found a loophole: new legislation passed by Congress allowed them to accept private funding through a nonprofit called the CDC Foundation. From 2014 through 2018 alone, the CDC Foundation received $79.6 million from corporations like Pfizer, Biogen, and Merck. Of course, if a pharmaceutical company wants to get a drug, vaccine, or other product approved, they really need to cozy up to the FDA. That explains why in 2017, pharma companies paid for a whopping 75% of the FDA’s scientific review budgets, up from 27% in 1993. It wasn’t always like this. But in 1992, an act of Congress changed the FDA’s funding stream, enlisting pharma companies to pay “user fees,” which help the FDA speed up the approval process for their drugs. A 2018 Science investigation found that 40 out of 107 physician advisors on the FDA’s committees received more than $10,000 from big pharma companies trying to get their drugs approved, with some banking up to $1 million or more. The FDA claims it has a well-functioning system to identify and prevent these possible conflicts of interest. Unfortunately, their system only works for spotting payments before advisory panels meet, and the Science investigation showed many FDA panel members get their payments after the fact. It’s a little like “you scratch my back now, and I’ll scratch your back once I get what I want” — drug companies promise FDA employees a future bonus contingent on whether things go their way. Here’s why this dynamic proves problematic: a 2000 investigation revealed that when the FDA approved the rotavirus vaccine in 1998, it didn’t exactly do its due diligence. That probably had something to do with the fact that committee members had financial ties to the manufacturer, Merck — many owned tens of thousands of dollars of stock in the company, or even held patents on the vaccine itself. Later, the Adverse Event Reporting System revealed that the vaccine was causing serious bowel obstructions in some children, and it was finally pulled from the U.S. market in October 1999. Then, in June of 2021, the FDA overruled concerns raised by its very own scientific advisory committee to approve Biogen’s Alzheimer’s drug Aduhelm — a move widely criticized by physicians. The drug not only showed very little efficacy but also potentially serious side effects like brain bleeding and swelling, in clinical trials. Dr. Aaron Kesselheim, a Harvard Medical School professor who was on the FDA’s scientific advisory committee, called it the “worst drug approval” in recent history, and noted that meetings between the FDA and Biogen had a “strange dynamic” suggesting an unusually close relationship. Dr. Michael Carome, director of Public Citizen’s Health Research Group, told CNN that he believes the FDA started working in “inappropriately close collaboration with Biogen” back in 2019. “They were not objective, unbiased regulators,” he added in the CNN interview. “It seems as if the decision was preordained.” That brings me to perhaps the biggest conflict of interest yet: Dr. Anthony Fauci’s NIAID is just one of many institutes that comprises the NIH — and the NIH owns half the patent for the Moderna vaccine — as well as thousands more pharma patents to boot. The NIAID is poised to earn millions of dollars from Moderna’s vaccine revenue, with individual officials also receiving up to $150,000 annually. Operation Warp Speed In December of 2020, Pfizer became the first company to receive an emergency use authorization (EUA) from the FDA for a COVID-19 vaccine. EUAs — which allow the distribution of an unapproved drug or other product during a declared public health emergency — are actually a pretty new thing: the first one was issued in 2005 so military personnel could get an anthrax vaccine. To get a full FDA approval, there needs to be substantial evidence that the product is safe and effective. But for an EUA, the FDA just needs to determine that it may be effective. Since EUAs are granted so quickly, the FDA doesn’t have enough time to gather all the information they’d usually need to approve a drug or vaccine. “Operation Warp Speed Vaccine Event” by The White House is licensed under CC PDM 1.0 Pfizer CEO and chairman Albert Bourla has said his company was “operating at the speed of science” to bring a vaccine to market. However, a 2021 report in The BMJ revealed that this speed might have come at the expense of “data integrity and patient safety.” Brook Jackson, regional director for the Ventavia Research Group, which carried out these trials, told The BMJ that her former company “falsified data, unblinded patients, and employed inadequately trained vaccinators” in Pfizer’s pivotal phase 3 trial. Just some of the other concerning events witnessed included: adverse events not being reported correctly or at all, lack of reporting on protocol deviations, informed consent errors, and mislabeling of lab specimens. An audio recording of Ventavia employees from September 2020 revealed that they were so overwhelmed by issues arising during the study that they became unable to “quantify the types and number of errors” when assessing quality control. One Ventavia employee told The BMJ she’d never once seen a research environment as disorderly as Ventavia’s Pfizer vaccine trial, while another called it a “crazy mess.” Over the course of her two-decades-long career, Jackson has worked on hundreds of clinical trials, and two of her areas of expertise happen to be immunology and infectious diseases. She told me that from her first day on the Pfizer trial in September of 2020, she discovered “such egregious misconduct” that she recommended they stop enrolling participants into the study to do an internal audit. “To my complete shock and horror, Ventavia agreed to pause enrollment but then devised a plan to conceal what I found and to keep ICON and Pfizer in the dark,” Jackson said during our interview. “The site was in full clean-up mode. When missing data points were discovered the information was fabricated, including forged signatures on the informed consent forms.” A screenshot Jackson shared with me shows she was invited to a meeting titled “COVID 1001 Clean up Call” on Sept. 21, 2020. She refused to participate in the call. Jackson repeatedly warned her superiors about patient safety concerns and data integrity issues. “I knew that the entire world was counting on clinical researchers to develop a safe and effective vaccine and I did not want to be a part of that failure by not reporting what I saw,” she told me. When her employer failed to act, Jackson filed a complaint with the FDA on Sept. 25, and Ventavia fired her hours later that same day under the pretense that she was “not a good fit.” After reviewing her concerns over the phone, she claims the FDA never followed up or inspected the Ventavia site. Ten weeks later, the FDA authorized the EUA for the vaccine. Meanwhile, Pfizer hired Ventavia to handle the research for four more vaccine clinical trials, including one involving children and young adults, one for pregnant women, and another for the booster. Not only that, but Ventavia handled the clinical trials for Moderna, Johnson & Johnson, and Novavax. Jackson is currently pursuing a False Claims Act lawsuit against Pfizer and Ventavia Research Group. Last year, Pfizer banked nearly $37 billion from its COVID vaccine, making it one of the most lucrative products in global history. Its overall revenues doubled in 2021 to reach $81.3 billion, and it’s slated to reach a record-breaking $98-$102 billion this year. “Corporations like Pfizer should never have been put in charge of a global vaccination rollout, because it was inevitable they would make life-and-death decisions based on what’s in the short-term interest of their shareholders,” writes Nick Dearden, director of Global Justice Now. As previously mentioned, it’s super common for pharmaceutical companies to fund the research on their own products. Here’s why that’s scary. One 1999 meta-analysis showed that industry-funded research is eight times less likely to achieve unfavorable results compared to independent trials. In other words, if a pharmaceutical company wants to prove that a medication, supplement, vaccine, or device is safe and effective, they’ll find a way. With that in mind, I recently examined the 2020 study on Pfizer’s COVID vaccine to see if there were any conflicts of interest. Lo and behold, the lengthy attached disclosure form shows that of the 29 authors, 18 are employees of Pfizer and hold stock in the company, one received a research grant from Pfizer during the study, and two reported being paid “personal fees” by Pfizer. In another 2021 study on the Pfizer vaccine, seven of the 15 authors are employees of and hold stock in Pfizer. The other eight authors received financial support from Pfizer during the study. Photo credit: Prasesh Shiwakoti (Lomash) via Unsplash As of the day I’m writing this, about 64% of Americans are fully vaccinated, and 76% have gotten at least one dose. The FDA has repeatedly promised “full transparency” when it comes to these vaccines. Yet in December of 2021, the FDA asked for permission to wait 75 years before releasing information pertaining to Pfizer’s COVID-19 vaccine, including safety data, effectiveness data, and adverse reaction reports. That means no one would see this information until the year 2096 — conveniently, after many of us have departed this crazy world. To recap: the FDA only needed 10 weeks to review the 329,000 pages worth of data before approving the EUA for the vaccine — but apparently, they need three-quarters of a century to publicize it. In response to the FDA’s ludicrous request, PHMPT — a group of over 200 medical and public health experts from Harvard, Yale, Brown, UCLA, and other institutions — filed a lawsuit under the Freedom of Information Act demanding that the FDA produce this data sooner. And their efforts paid off: U.S. District Judge Mark T. Pittman issued an order for the FDA to produce 12,000 pages by Jan. 31, and then at least 55,000 pages per month thereafter. In his statement to the FDA, Pittman quoted the late John F. Kennedy: “A nation that is afraid to let its people judge the truth and falsehood in an open market is a nation that is afraid of its people.” As for why the FDA wanted to keep this data hidden, the first batch of documentation revealed that there were more than 1,200 vaccine-related deaths in just the first 90 days after the Pfizer vaccine was introduced. Of 32 pregnancies with a known outcome, 28 resulted in fetal death. The CDC also recently unveiled data showing a total of 1,088,560 reports of adverse events from COVID vaccines were submitted between Dec. 14, 2020, and Jan. 28, 2022. That data included 23,149 reports of deaths and 183,311 reports of serious injuries. There were 4,993 reported adverse events in pregnant women after getting vaccinated, including 1,597 reports of miscarriage or premature birth. A 2022 study published in JAMA, meanwhile, revealed that there have been more than 1,900 reported cases of myocarditis — or inflammation of the heart muscle — mostly in people 30 and under, within 7 days of getting the vaccine. In those cases, 96% of people were hospitalized. “It is understandable that the FDA does not want independent scientists to review the documents it relied upon to license Pfizer’s vaccine given that it is not as effective as the FDA originally claimed, does not prevent transmission, does not prevent against certain emerging variants, can cause serious heart inflammation in younger individuals, and has numerous other undisputed safety issues,” writes Aaron Siri, the attorney representing PHMPT in its lawsuit against the FDA. Siri told me in an email that his office phone has been ringing off the hook in recent months. “We are overwhelmed by inquiries from individuals calling about an injury from a COVID-19 vaccine,” he said. By the way — it’s worth noting that adverse effects caused by COVID-19 vaccinations are still not covered by the National Vaccine Injury Compensation Program. Companies like Pfizer, Moderna, and Johnson & Johnson are protected under the Public Readiness and Emergency Preparedness (PREP) Act, which grants them total immunity from liability with their vaccines. And no matter what happens to you, you can’t sue the FDA for authorizing the EUA, or your employer for requiring you to get it, either. Billions of taxpayer dollars went to fund the research and development of these vaccines, and in Moderna’s case, licensing its vaccine was made possible entirely by public funds. But apparently, that still warrants citizens no insurance. Should something go wrong, you’re basically on your own. Pfizer and Moderna COVID-19 vaccine business model: government gives them billions, gives them immunity for any injuries or if doesn't work, promotes their products for free, and mandates their products. Sounds crazy? Yes, but it is our current reality. — Aaron Siri (@AaronSiriSG) February 2, 2022 The Hypocrisy of “Misinformation” I find it interesting that “misinformation” has become such a pervasive term lately, but more alarmingly, that it’s become an excuse for blatant censorship on social media and in journalism. It’s impossible not to wonder what’s driving this movement to control the narrative. In a world where we still very clearly don’t have all the answers, why shouldn’t we be open to exploring all the possibilities? And while we’re on the subject, what about all of the COVID-related untruths that have been spread by our leaders and officials? Why should they get a free pass? Photo credit: @upgradeur_life, www.instagram.com/upgradeur_life Fauci, President Biden, and the CDC’s Rochelle Walensky all promised us with total confidence the vaccine would prevent us from getting or spreading COVID, something we now know is a myth. (In fact, the CDC recently had to change its very definition of “vaccine ” to promise “protection” from a disease rather than “immunity”— an important distinction). At one point, the New York State Department of Health (NYS DOH) and former Governor Andrew Cuomo prepared a social media campaign with misleading messaging that the vaccine was “approved by the FDA” and “went through the same rigorous approval process that all vaccines go through,” when in reality the FDA only authorized the vaccines under an EUA, and the vaccines were still undergoing clinical trials. While the NYS DOH eventually responded to pressures to remove these false claims, a few weeks later the Department posted on Facebook that “no serious side effects related to the vaccines have been reported,” when in actuality, roughly 16,000 reports of adverse events and over 3,000 reports of serious adverse events related to a COVID-19 vaccination had been reported in the first two months of use. One would think we’d hold the people in power to the same level of accountability — if not more — than an average citizen. So, in the interest of avoiding hypocrisy, should we “cancel” all these experts and leaders for their “misinformation,” too? Vaccine-hesitant people have been fired from their jobs, refused from restaurants, denied the right to travel and see their families, banned from social media channels, and blatantly shamed and villainized in the media. Some have even lost custody of their children. These people are frequently labeled “anti-vax,” which is misleading given that many (like the NBA’s Jonathan Isaac) have made it repeatedly clear they are not against all vaccines, but simply making a personal choice not to get this one. (As such, I’ll suggest switching to a more accurate label: “pro-choice.”) Fauci has repeatedly said federally mandating the vaccine would not be “appropriate” or “enforceable” and doing so would be “encroaching upon a person’s freedom to make their own choice.” So it’s remarkable that still, some individual employers and U.S. states, like my beloved Massachusetts, have taken it upon themselves to enforce some of these mandates, anyway. Meanwhile, a Feb. 7 bulletin posted by the U.S. Department of Homeland Security indicates that if you spread information that undermines public trust in a government institution (like the CDC or FDA), you could be considered a terrorist. In case you were wondering about the current state of free speech. The definition of institutional oppression is “the systematic mistreatment of people within a social identity group, supported and enforced by the society and its institutions, solely based on the person’s membership in the social identity group.” It is defined as occurring when established laws and practices “systematically reflect and produce inequities based on one’s membership in targeted social identity groups.” Sound familiar? As you continue to watch the persecution of the unvaccinated unfold, remember this. Historically, when society has oppressed a particular group of people whether due to their gender, race, social class, religious beliefs, or sexuality, it’s always been because they pose some kind of threat to the status quo. The same is true for today’s unvaccinated. Since we know the vaccine doesn’t prevent the spread of COVID, however, this much is clear: the unvaccinated don’t pose a threat to the health and safety of their fellow citizens — but rather, to the bottom line of powerful pharmaceutical giants and the many global organizations they finance. And with more than $100 billion on the line in 2021 alone, I can understand the motivation to silence them. The unvaccinated have been called selfish. Stupid. Fauci has said it’s “almost inexplicable” that they are still resisting. But is it? What if these people aren’t crazy or uncaring, but rather have — unsurprisingly so — lost their faith in the agencies that are supposed to protect them? Can you blame them? Citizens are being bullied into getting a vaccine that was created, evaluated, and authorized in under a year, with no access to the bulk of the safety data for said vaccine, and no rights whatsoever to pursue legal action if they experience adverse effects from it. What these people need right now is to know they can depend on their fellow citizens to respect their choices, not fuel the segregation by launching a full-fledged witch hunt. Instead, for some inexplicable reason I imagine stems from fear, many continue rallying around big pharma rather than each other. A 2022 Heartland Institute and Rasmussen Reports survey of Democratic voters found that 59% of respondents support a government policy requiring unvaccinated individuals to remain confined in their home at all times, 55% support handing a fine to anyone who won’t get the vaccine, and 48% think the government should flat out imprison people who publicly question the efficacy of the vaccines on social media, TV, or online in digital publications. Even Orwell couldn’t make this stuff up. Photo credit: DJ Paine on Unsplash Let me be very clear. While there are a lot of bad actors out there — there are also a lot of well-meaning people in the science and medical industries, too. I’m lucky enough to know some of them. There are doctors who fend off pharma reps’ influence and take an extremely cautious approach to prescribing. Medical journal authors who fiercely pursue transparency and truth — as is evident in “The Influence of Money on Medical Science,” a report by the first female editor of JAMA. Pharmacists, like Dan Schneider, who refuse to fill prescriptions they deem risky or irresponsible. Whistleblowers, like Graham and Jackson, who tenaciously call attention to safety issues for pharma products in the approval pipeline. And I’m certain there are many people in the pharmaceutical industry, like Panara and my grandfather, who pursued this field with the goal of helping others, not just earning a six- or seven-figure salary. We need more of these people. Sadly, it seems they are outliers who exist in a corrupt, deep-rooted system of quid-pro-quo relationships. They can only do so much. I’m not here to tell you whether or not you should get the vaccine or booster doses. What you put in your body is not for me — or anyone else — to decide. It’s not a simple choice, but rather one that may depend on your physical condition, medical history, age, religious beliefs, and level of risk tolerance. My grandfather passed away in 2008, and lately, I find myself missing him more than ever, wishing I could talk to him about the pandemic and hear what he makes of all this madness. I don’t really know how he’d feel about the COVID vaccine, or whether he would have gotten it or encouraged me to. What I do know is that he’d listen to my concerns, and he’d carefully consider them. He would remind me my feelings are valid. His eyes would light up and he’d grin with amusement as I fervidly expressed my frustration. He’d tell me to keep pushing forward, digging deeper, asking questions. In his endearing Bronx accent, he used to always say: “go get ‘em, kid.” If I stop typing for a moment and listen hard enough, I can almost hear him saying it now. People keep saying “trust the science.” But when trust is broken, it must be earned back. And as long as our legislative system, public health agencies, physicians, and research journals keep accepting pharmaceutical money (with strings attached) — and our justice system keeps letting these companies off the hook when their negligence causes harm, there’s no reason for big pharma to change. They’re holding the bag, and money is power. I have a dream that one day, we’ll live in a world where we are armed with all the thorough, unbiased data necessary to make informed decisions about our health. Alas, we’re not even close. What that means is that it’s up to you to educate yourself as much as possible, and remain ever-vigilant in evaluating information before forming an opinion. You can start by reading clinical trials yourself, rather than relying on the media to translate them for you. Scroll to the bottom of every single study to the “conflicts of interest” section and find out who funded it. Look at how many subjects were involved. Confirm whether or not blinding was used to eliminate bias. You may also choose to follow Public Citizen’s Health Research Group’s rule whenever possible: that means avoiding a new drug until five years after an FDA approval (not an EUA, an actual approval) — when there’s enough data on the long-term safety and effectiveness to establish that the benefits outweigh the risks. When it comes to the news, you can seek out independent, nonprofit outlets, which are less likely to be biased due to pharma funding. And most importantly, when it appears an organization is making concerted efforts to conceal information from you — like the FDA recently did with the COVID vaccine — it’s time to ask yourself: why? What are they trying to hide? In the 2019 film “Dark Waters” — which is based on the true story of one of the greatest corporate cover-ups in American history — Mark Ruffalo as attorney Rob Bilott says: “The system is rigged. They want us to think it’ll protect us, but that’s a lie. We protect us. We do. Nobody else. Not the companies. Not the scientists. Not the government. Us.” Words to live by. Tyler Durden Sat, 04/09/2022 - 22:30.....»»

Category: personnelSource: nytApr 9th, 2022

Morgan Stanley star Dennis Lynch tripled his clients" money in 10 years. Now, he"s facing the biggest test of his career as his fund hemorrhages assets and faces questions over culture.

The "crown jewel" of Morgan Stanley Investment Management, an interview with Elon Musk, and why older millennials are screwed in real estate. Hi, I'm Matt Turner, the editor in chief of business at Insider. Welcome back to Insider Weekly, a roundup of some of our top stories. On the agenda today:Insiders say cracks are starting to show in the "crown jewel" of Morgan Stanley Investment Management.Elon Musk talks war, space travel, and loneliness in a new interview.When it comes to buying a home, older millennials are screwed.CEOs are hiring chiefs of happiness, purpose, and learning. Welcome to the new C-suite.Let me know what you think of all our stories at mturner@insider.com.Subscribe to Insider for access to all our investigations and features. New to the newsletter? Sign up here.  Download our app for news on the go – click here for iOS and here for Android.Inside the 'crown jewel' of Morgan Stanley Investment ManagementBloomberg/Getty Images; Rachel Mendelson/InsiderDennis Lynch has long cultivated a reputation of doing things a little bit differently.The rock-star investor prefers to avoid the office, keeps a reading library to expose his colleagues to different ideas, and administers personality tests to his team. He was early to get into private markets as a mutual-fund investor, putting money into Facebook before it went public.His approach worked: He tripled his clients' money over a decade from 2010 to 2020, attracting billions in assets. He even closed two funds to new investors, a move that's more common for master-of-the-universe hedge-fund managers.Amid that growing success, Lynch increasingly avoided confronting cultural challenges on his Counterpoint Global team, Dakin Campbell and Danielle Walker reported. That left lieutenants to yell, bully, and wield power over their colleagues, their article said.The turn of 2022 has brought a harsh light to Lynch's investment and team-building strategy. Some of his funds were down 40% from January 1 to March 14, and assets across his portfolio have fallen sharply.Now, Lynch is facing what's likely been the biggest challenge of his illustrious career so far.Here, Dakin and Danielle walk us through their takeaways.What's the biggest thing readers should take away from this story?Danielle: Cultural issues are often overlooked when a star team or manager is flying high performancewise. If that streak ends, any cracks in the foundation can be more difficult for the team to smooth over.Did you learn anything in your reporting that surprised you?Dakin: Morgan Stanley has spent years marketing Dennis Lynch as a bookish portfolio manager in charge of something more like a think tank or university group than an investment team. So I was surprised when our sources told us that some of Lynch's top lieutenants were known to bully, scream, and browbeat colleagues and contacts. It's always astonishing when reality is so different from a carefully crafted image — and this time was no different.What do you think the plunge in assets and performance will mean for Lynch and his team?Danielle: As mentioned by an analyst we interviewed, investors will only ride out the turbulence for so long — even knowing they are in a volatile fund. Within the company, the Counterpoint Global team has historically boasted a rare degree of autonomy at Morgan Stanley, by sources' descriptions. As evidenced by long-held concerns about the culture surfacing, performance woes have a way of lessening an investment team's halo effect.Read the full story here: Dennis Lynch's funds became the 'crown jewel' of Morgan Stanley Investment Management. Now, as performance and assets plummet, insiders say cracks in the star team's culture are starting to show.Elon Musk on war, nuclear power, and the ideal dinner guestMathias Döpfner speaks with Elon Musk at Tesla's Gigafactory in Berlin.Jason HenryIn a conversation with Mathias Döpfner, the CEO of Insider's parent company, Axel Springer, Elon Musk discussed Russia's invasion of Ukraine, space travel, and what makes human beings special.The Tesla and SpaceX CEO shared his biggest fears (death isn't one of them), and his revelation that "for one to be fully happy," you must be happy at work and happy in love. (Musk himself is "medium happy," he said.)Read the full story here:Elon Musk discusses the war in Ukraine and the importance of nuclear power — and why Benjamin Franklin would be 'the most fun at dinner'Also read:Elon Musk — officially the world's richest man — says he thinks 'Putin is significantly richer than me'Elon Musk says the US has 'very, very ancient leadership,' believes there's 'a serious issue with gerontocracy' in many countriesElon Musk reveals 3 existential threats he's scared of, including a declining birth rate, religious extremism, and 'artificial intelligence going wrong'Older millennials got the short end of the stick (again)Older millennials are most likely to have children living at home, and yet, their salaries are being outpaced by the cost of homes they purchased last year.Ray Kachatorian/Getty ImagesWhen they started their careers, between 2008 and 2010, older millennials were beset by the worst recession since the Great Depression. Then, two years ago, they faced a huge roadblock at a pivotal point in their careers when the economy lurched into another recession at the onset of the pandemic. Now, they're in the worst spot in the homebuying market.Adults ages 32 to 41 were the only group under 50 for which home prices grew faster than incomes last year. The typical home they bought in 2021 got 5% more expensive — while they made only 4.4% more.Read the full story here: Older millennials have it the worst trying to buy a home right now, fueling a feeling of futility that will linger for decadesAlso read:Rich newcomers made buying a home in Austin, Texas, impossible for the average resident. And it's only getting worse.The C-suite is undergoing a metamorphosisThe corner offices of corporate America (and their virtual equivalents) have seen rapid change over the past two years.erhui1979/Getty ImagesFor decades, the C-suite focused on three core areas of business: leadership (CEO), money (chief financial officer), and operations (chief operating officer). But as America calls on companies to pay attention to workers' mental health, address how they're affecting the environment, and prioritize diversity, that model is changing. Enter the new era of the C-suite, or "new suite": one with a chief purpose officer, chief knowledge officer, chief people officer, and even chief joy officer.Read the full story here:CEOs are hiring chiefs of happiness, purpose, and learning. Welcome to the new C-suite.Also read:How to diagnose and fix a toxic workplace culture, according to researchers who analyzed 1.4 million employee reviewsMore of this week's top reads:Leaked Slack messages show that Shopify leadership plans to address pay and attrition woes.Insiders say Apple TV+ can be frustrating to work with — and some are calling for leadership changes.Big Pharma is betting billions on the next cancer breakthrough. These 14 drug companies are leading the way.Employees say CoStar's CEO built a culture of fear with his ruthless, callous behavior.New patent filings show Lululemon isn't done developing its new line of sneakers.Students prepping for in-person Wall Street interviews will no longer have access to their pandemic secret weapon: digital cheat sheets.Plus: Stay updated with the latest business news throughout your weekdays by checking out The Refresh from Insider, a dynamic audio news brief from the Insider newsroom. Listen here tomorrow.Event invite: Join us on April 12 at 12 p.m. ET for "Accelerate the Net-Zero Transition," in partnership with Bank of America. Experts will discuss how the net-zero transition is being financed and take a closer look at green bonds, sustainability bonds, and more. Register here.Curated by Matt Turner. Edited by Jordan Parker Erb and Lisa Ryan. Sign up for more Insider newsletters here.Read the original article on Business Insider.....»»

Category: personnelSource: nytApr 3rd, 2022

How marketing and advertising is shaping the metaverse

Brands are launching several initiatives to stake their claim in the metaverse, including advertising, NFTs, and virtual reality. Entering the metaverse.Iryna Veklich/Getty Images The metaverse is getting a big boost from Facebook, Microsoft, and other tech giants. Marketers are scrambling to play in these virtual spaces. Here's a breakdown of Insider's coverage of how marketing is shaping the metaverse and the key people to know. The "metaverse" recently got a big boost from Facebook, now known as Meta, which is pouring $10 billion into its ambitions there. Other big tech companies including Apple, Google, and Microsoft are working on their versions of the concept.The vague term refers to a variety of shared spaces and assets that people can access via the internet, sometimes using virtual reality and augmented reality devices, and interact with each other and buy virtual goods.But Facebook itself says the payoff won't be immediate, and top executives have widely differing expectations of what the metaverse means to them.Here's a breakdown of Insider's coverage of how marketing is shaping the metaverse and the key people to know.Read more: Meta just made its first big metaverse pitch to advertisers. Here's what people in attendance said about it.Facebook: Metaverse investment to reduce profits by "approximately $10 billion" this yearHere's what 14 top executives are saying about the 'metaverse'CEO interest in the metaverse is surging, but some are wary: DataMetaverse gaming, VR, crypto, NFTsAs hype builds around the idea, advertisers and their agencies are racing to benefit from the metaverse, whether that means people exploring virtual worlds, engaging in gaming, or buying NFTs using crypto.Brands have launched several initiatives in 2021 to stake their claim in the metaverse, minting NFTs — non-fungible tokens — exploring smart contracts, and building metaverse and Web3 experiences. But with new opportunities also come new challenges, such as high unpredictability, the lack of standardization, and the risk of being inauthentic.Brands may have to rethink their approach to digital marketing if they are to succeed in the newest version of the web. They're getting bombarded with proposals and need to figure out which tech and ad partners to work with, which consumers to prioritize.Read more: A top Roblox creator who advised Stella McCartney and Forever 21 shares how brands can profit in the metaverse and pitfalls to avoidIntellectual property could 'effectively disappear' in the metaverse, according to a top trademark lawyer. Experts detail what brands can do to protect their IP in Web3 environments.Advertising execs say they're joining these 5 online communities to get up to speed on the metaverse. Some groups are free, while one Telegram channel effectively costs more than $60,000 to join.Advertisers look to capitalize on the metaverse hypeAn influencer-marketing firm wrote a report about how the metaverse will affect the creator economy. Here are 5 key takeaways.A Marvel writer and Web3 consultant shares 3 tips for how brands can approach the metaverse: Focus on stories over selling to turn your customers into fans Gary Vaynerchuk helped Budweiser launch NFTs that sold out in hours — here's how he says other companies can make money in the NFT spaceMeta might let companies sponsor the appearance of objects in the metaverse, patent filing suggestsWATCH: Why the metaverse Is a "Golden Era" for brands, according to marketersViacomCBS futurist reveals how NFTs and interactive entertainment are evolving at the company that created MTV, 'an original metaverse'WATCH: Marketing leaders from Playboy, Anheuser-Busch, and Marriott share strategies to win in the metaverse3 NFT insiders predict how Hollywood can maximize the tech in 2022 — from character and IP development to subscription marketingCrypto companies are starting a marketing blitz in a race to win over mainstream consumersMetaverse experts, hiringAdvertising companies are increasingly creating gaming and entertainment divisions as a gateway to the metaverse. They include Vayner Media, which is hiring for metaverse roles for its new VaynerNFT division; and S4 Capital's digital creative and production agency Media.Monks, which is leaning heavily into the metaverse concept.Read more: 9 NFT companies working with Hollywood studios and creators to drive the future of the blockchain-based tech in entertainment24 agency executives leading advertisers' charge into the metaverse and Web3Marketers like Pepsi and Crocs are battling for top gaming talent as they rush to capitalize on the metaverseTop advertising executives in gaming and esportsMeet the 21 under-the-radar leaders building the metaverse at Apple, Facebook, Google, Niantic, Roblox, Snap, Unity, and more13 top execs leading Sir Martin Sorrell's S4 Capital as it builds a digital challenger to advertising giant WPP12 advertising upstarts to watch in 2022 as the shift to digital threatens established agenciesRoblox pays up to $430,000 in base salary for top talent and is hiring for hundreds of metaverse roles. Here's how to land one, according to its CTO.Metaverse dealsLook for interest in the metaverse to drive deal-making this year, too. Metaverse buzz has investors looking at companies that help marketers master virtual reality. Crypto companies could buy ad agencies to build awareness for themselves, now that Facebook and other platforms have relaxed limits on crypto advertising. Read more: See the pitch deck create-to-earn metaverse startup Chillchat used to raise $1.9 million in seed funding2022 is shaping up to be a big year for advertising M&A. Here are 10 trends to expect, from a jump in e-commerce ad deals to a surge in event marketing interest.11 advertising companies that are top M&A targets in 2022 as marketers pour money into TikTok and the metaverseCompanies that Accenture CEO David Droga could buyRead the original article on Business Insider.....»»

Category: topSource: businessinsiderMar 18th, 2022

Why Readers Should Question The West"s "Madman" Narrative As Russia Invades Ukraine

Why Readers Should Question The West's 'Madman' Narrative As Russia Invades Ukraine Authored by Jonathan Cook via the Ron Paul Institute for Peace and Prosperity. How convenient for western leaders that every time another country defies the West’s projection of power, the western media can agree on one thing: that the foreign government in question is led by a madman, a psychopath or a megalomaniac. At a drop of a hat, western leaders are absolved of guilt or even responsibility for the terrible events that unfold. The West remains virtuous, simply a victim of the world’s madmen. Nothing the West did was a provocation. Nothing they could have done would have averted the disaster. The US may be the most powerful state on the planet by far, but its hands are apparently always tied by a deranged, implacable foe like Russia’s Vladimir Putin. Putin, we are told, is not advancing any rational – from his perspective – geopolitical or strategic interest by invading his neighbor, Ukraine. And so no concession could or should have been made because none would have prevented him from acting as he has. The West, meaning foreign policy hawks in Washington, gets to decide when the timeline of events started, when the original sin occurred. The compliant western media give their blessing, and our hands are washed clean once again. The subtext – always the subtext – is that something must be done to stop the “madman”. And because he is irrational and a megalomaniac, such action must never be framed in terms of concessions or compromise – that would be appeasement, after all. If every enemy is a new Hitler, no western leader will risk a comparison with Neville Chamberlain. Instead, what is needed urgently, western politicians and media agree, is the projection – whether overtly or covertly – of yet more western power and force. Unmitigated catastrophe The US and British invasion of Iraq nearly two decades ago is a particularly pertinent and telling counterpoint to events in Ukraine. Then, as now, the West was supposedly faced with a dangerous, irrational ruler who could not be made to see sense and was unwilling to compromise. Saddam Hussein, western leaders and their media insisted, had allied with his archenemies in al-Qaeda, the perpetrators of the Twin Towers attack of 9/11. He had weapons of mass destruction, and could launch them towards Europe in 45 minutes. Except, none of that was true – not even the madman bit. Saddam was a hard, cold, calculating dictator who, like most dictators, kept himself in power through a reign of terror over his opponents. Nonetheless, the western media faithfully amplified the tissue of evidence-free claims – and patent lies like that preposterous alliance with al-Qaeda – concocted in Washington and London to usher in the illegal 2003 invasion of Iraq. United Nations inspectors could find no trace of stockpiles of Iraq’s former biological and chemical weapons arsenal. One, Scott Ritter, went unheard as he warned that any possessed by Saddam would have turned to “harmless goo” after many years of sanctions and inspections. Sky News admiring a molotov cocktail making workshop in Ukraine. It was only 4 days ago that the Israeli occupation killed 13 year old Palestinian child Mohammad Rezq Salah, claiming he had thrown one of these. His killing went unreported by Sky News. pic.twitter.com/3EWnLlm0Hk — Lowkey (@Lowkey0nline) February 26, 2022 The improbable 45-minute claim, meanwhile, was not based on any kind of intelligence. It was lifted straight from a student’s speculations in a doctoral dissertation. Iraq’s invasion by the US and Britain was not only illegal, of course. It had horrifying consequences. It led to the likely deaths of around a million Iraqis, and spawned a terrifying new kind of nihilistic Islamism that destabilized much of the region. Those interests, of course, were largely concealed because they were so ignoble, flagrantly violating the so-called “rules-based order” Washington claims to uphold. But despite being an unmitigated catastrophe, the US-led invasion of Iraq was no more “irrational” than Putin’s current invasion of Ukraine. Washington’s neoconservatives advanced what they regarded as US geopolitical interests and a strategic vision for the Middle East. What the neoconservatives wanted was variously to control Iraq’s oil, to eliminate regional pockets of resistance to its own and its client Israel’s hegemony in the Middle East, and to expand the region as an economic market for US goods and weapons. Saddam fell into the trap set for him because he was equally motivated by his own narrowly defined “rational” self-interest. He refused to admit he had no meaningful weapons systems left after the western sanctions and inspections regimes because he did not dare to look weak, either to his own population or to hostile neighbors like Iran. The western media’s refusal to consider the real motivations on either side – the neoconservatives’ in Washington or Saddam’s in Iraq – made the 2003 invasion and the suffering that followed all the more inevitable. Spheres of influence The same predilection for the simple-minded “madman” narrative has once again pushed us squarely into another international crisis. And once again, it has served as a way to avoid examining the real background to, and reasons for, what is happening in Ukraine and wider eastern Europe. Putin’s actions – though potentially no less disastrous than the US-led invasion of Iraq, and certainly as illegal – are also rooted in his own “rational” assessment of Russian geopolitical interests. But unlike Washington’s reasons for invading Iraq, Putin’s grounds for threatening and now invading Ukraine were not concealed. He has been quite open and consistent about the rationale for years, even if western leaders ignored his speeches, and western media rarely cited anything more than his most tub-thumping, jingoistic soundbites. Russia has realistic objections to the behavior and bad faith of the US and NATO over the past three decades. NATO, we should remind ourselves, is primarily a creature of the Cold War, a vehicle for the West to project an aggressive military posture towards the former Soviet Union under the cover of a “defense” organization. But following the USSR’s dissolution in 1991, the western military alliance was not disbanded. Quite the reverse. It grew to absorb almost all of the former east European states that had belonged to the Soviet bloc and it made a new bogeyman of Russia. Western military budgets climbed year by year. Russia expects a so-called “sphere of influence“, in the same way that the US demands one. What’s been going on instead for the best part of 30 years is that the US, as the world’s sole superpower, has expanded its own sphere of influence right up to Russia’s doorstep. Like Washington, Putin has the nuclear arsenal to back up his demands. To ignore either his claim for a sphere of influence or Russia’s ability to impose it by force if necessary is either hypocrisy or foolishness. That too paved the path to the current invasion. Cold war mentality But Putin has other reasons – from his perspective – to act. He also wants to show the US that there is a price to be paid for Washington’s repeated broken promises on security arrangements in Europe. Russia dissolved its own military alliance, the Warsaw Pact, after the fall of the Soviet Union in a sign both of its weakness and its willingness to reorder its relations with its neighbors. The US and the European Union had a chance to welcome Russia into the fold, and make it a partner in Europe’s security. Instead the Cold War mentality persisted even more in western capitals than in Moscow. The West’s military bureaucracies that need war, or at least the threat of it to justify their jobs and budgets, lobbied to keep Russia at arm’s length. Meanwhile, eastern Europe became a large, and profitable, new market for western arms makers. That paved the path to this crisis too. And finally, Putin has every incentive to deal more decisively with the eight-year festering wound of a civil war between anti-Russian, Ukrainian nationalists and ethnic Russian fighters from the Donbas region, in Ukraine’s east. Even before the current invasion, many thousands had died. Ukrainian nationalists want entry into NATO so it is sucked into the Donbas bloodbath on their side – fueling a war that could spiral out of control into a direct confrontation between NATO and Russia. Putin wants to show NATO and militant Ukrainians that will be no simple matter. The invasion is intended as a shot across the bows to dissuade NATO from moving its high-wire act into Ukraine. Western leaders were warned of all this by their own officials way back in 2008, as a leaked US diplomatic cable reveals: “Strategic policy considerations also underlie strong opposition to NATO membership for Ukraine and Georgia. In Ukraine, these include fears that the issue could potentially split the country in two, leading to violence or even, some claim, civil war, which would force Russia to decide whether to intervene." But even now, the West is undeterred. It is losing no time in pouring yet more weapons into Ukraine, further fueling the fire. Dangerous caricatures None of this, of course, means Putin’s actions are virtuous, or even wise. But for some his invasion of Ukraine looks no more irrational or dangerous than NATO’s decades of provocative moves against a nuclear-armed Russia. And here we get to the nub of the matter. The West alone defines what “rational” means – and on that basis, its enemies can always be dismissed as deranged and evil. Western media propaganda only serves to deepen these trends in humanizing, or otherwise, those caught up in events. As the Arab and Middle Eastern Journalists Association observed at the weekend, much of the coverage has been blatantly racist, with western commentators noting with sympathy that those fleeing Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, unlike apparently those displaced by western invasions of the Middle East, are “like us”, “civilized” and don’t “look like refugees”. Similarly, there is a stark contrast between the celebratory reporting of a Ukrainian “resistance” making improvised bombs against the advancing Russian army and the media’s routine denomination of Palestinians as “terrorists” for resisting Israel’s decades of occupation. Equally, US global dominance means it dictates the military, political and diplomatic framework of international relations. Other countries, including potential rivals like Russia and China, have to operate within that framework. That forces them to react more often than act. Which is why it is so critically important that the western media report on the events fully and honestly, not resort to easy tropes designed to turn foreign leaders into caricatures and their populations into heroes or villains. If Putin is a madman, like Iraq’s Saddam, Libya’s Muammar Gaddafi, Syria’s Bashar al-Assad and Afghanistan’s Taliban leaders before him, then the only solution is the use of force to the bitter end. In global power politics that potentially translates into a third European “World War”, the overthrow of Russia’s government, and Putin’s trial at The Hague or his execution. The “straitjacket” strategy. Which is precisely the catastrophic destination towards which western leaders, aided by the media, have been pushing the region over the past three decades. There are far less dangerous ways of resolving international crises than that – but not so long as we keep peddling the myth of the “madman” enemy. Tyler Durden Fri, 03/11/2022 - 02:00.....»»

Category: blogSource: zerohedgeMar 11th, 2022

What to know about the booming psychedelics industry, where companies are racing to turn magic mushrooms and MDMA into approved medicines

Startups focused on turning psychedelic compounds into approved medicines have raised hundreds of millions of dollars. Psilocybin mushrooms on a mossy logjackfoto/iStock/Getty Images Plus A year ago, nonprofits and scrappy startups made up the psychedelics space.  Now, companies are raising millions from investors and going public on major exchanges. Here's what you need to know about the booming psychedelics industry. See more stories on Insider's business page. The psychedelics space is booming.Over the few years, startups focused on turning psychedelic compounds into approved medicines have raised hundreds of millions of dollars from private investors and dozens have gone public.Research on compounds like psilocybin, the active compound found in magic mushrooms, and MDMA is resurfacing after years of neglect amid the war on drugs.As companies get closer to receiving approval from the Food and Drug Administration to bring their psychedelic treatments to patients, they've also been planning out their patent strategies to carve out their share of the market.Here's a look at the booming psychedelics industry:Psilocybin mushroomsAnitram/ShutterstockVCs have deployed millions into psychedelics startups — here's what they say will happen nextVenture-capital investors have been at the center of the psychedelics boom. In early 2020, startups in the space said they were beginning to see signs that investor appetite was growing.Then, we saw a flurry of activity, which one industry exec called a "psychedelic renaissance."Soon, VC firms focused on psychedelics companies specifically began to emerge. Insider's list of the top 11 venture-capital investors in the space collectively deployed $139.8 million into startups in just a few short years. They also gave us their predictions for the coming months. Some told us that biotech giants were looking to get into the space, while others predicted a boom in tech companies and clinics that would lay the groundwork for when medications come to market. We can also expect to see new compounds and a slew of startup failures, they said.The top 3 VC firms told Insider about the green and red flags they see among startups in the space. Read more:Meet the top 11 VCs who've bet the most cash on turning MDMA and magic mushrooms into medical treatmentsTop VCs in psychedelics say Big Pharma is knocking at the door — and it could fuel a wave of dealsTop VCs predict new compounds and impending failures will shape the future of the psychedelics industry3 top VCs who've sunk the most cash into psychedelics say they prioritize data, deep expertise, and a clear market strategy when placing their betsMainstream  startup accelerators are also eyeing the spaceWoven Science and Founders Factory are teaming up to create an accelerator program for psychedelics startups. From left: Sahil Sachdev, head of venture design at Founders Factory; Nick von Christierson, CEO & Co-Founder at Woven Science; Shona Chalmers, venture design lead at Founders Factory; Damian Routley, chief commercial officer at Founders FactoryWoven Science & Founders FactoryIn a signal that the psychedelics space is becoming increasingly mainstream, startup accelerators known for investing in tech, retail, and healthcare are jumping into funding companies in the industry.Famed startups accelerator Y Combinator is dabbling in psychedelics: over the past few years, the organization has accepted at least four startups into its program. Insider spoke to three of the startups to ask them about their experiences and the advice they would give to other founders looking to be accepted.Founders Factory, an accelerator that's worked with companies like L'Oréal, Johnson & Johnson, and Marks & Spencer, is an example of another mainstream player that's eyeing the $100 billion industry. The organization is partnering with psychedelics company Woven Science to to support a handful of early-stage startups focused on psychedelics-based mental-health treatments.Read more:The famed startup accelerator Y Combinator is wading into the $100 billion psychedelics industry. Here's how 3 psychedelics firms got into the program.A startup accelerator that's worked with J&J and L'Oréal is getting into psychedelics as the industry goes mainstreamCEOs set the tone for the burgeoning spaceATAI Life Sciences CEO Florian Brand.ATAI Life SciencesA slew of companies have entered the psychedelics industry, but a few stand out as frontrunners.In February 2020, Atai CEO Florian Brand said that he was turning to pharma and biotech investors as the company looked to further grow. At the time, Atai was a private company that made headlines for winning over backers like Mike Novogratz and Peter Thiel.In March of this year, the company raised a record $157 million, pushing psychedelics further into the mainstream.Meanwhile, change has been bubbling on the state and local levels. In November, Oregon legalized psilocybin for therapeutic purposes — but that doesn't mean you'll see the giants rush in.The biggest companies in the space told Insider they were focused on seeking approval for their experimental substances from the Food and Drug Administration. Atai founder Christian Angermayer said recently that while he personally supports decriminalization, he thinks legalizing psychedelics could create a backlash for the industry.Compass Pathways CEO George Goldsmith told Insider soon after the company's IPO last fall that he expects treatments to come on the market by 2025. Atai's Brand said there are challenges to address between now and when treatments become widely available, such as scalability and reimbursement.Read more:The CEO of a $1.2 billion psychedelics company told us he expects psilocybin-based treatments by 2025 and predicts a 'Cambrian explosion' of innovation in the industryThe founder of the biggest psychedelics company says legalizing magic mushrooms risks creating a backlash that could undermine the industryThe CEO of the biggest psychedelics company lays out the 3 challenges he has to address before treatments hit the marketStartups are raising big sums for drug development and clinicsThe first page of Compass Pathway's 2019 pitch deck.Compass PathwaysDrug development takes a lot of capital, and startups are focused on getting the funding they need.Insider got ahold of three pitch decks that companies used to raise tens of millions of dollars. Beckley Psytech raised $18.6 million in December to develop a slew of new treatments focused on rare diseases and mental health.Compass Pathways raised $80 million from investors like Founders Fund in 2019, fueling its rise to the top.Meanwhile, startups focused on clinics, where psychedelic treatments are expected to be administered, are raising capital too. Novamind raised $7.8 million with this pitch deck.Psilocybin found in magic mushrooms is a type of psychedelicAlexander Volkov/Getty ImagesAnother way to get access to capital is to go public, and there are now dozens of psychedelics companies in the US and Canada.We broke down the 7 companies with the biggest market caps and laid out their business models, drug pipelines, and timeline to get treatments to market. Read more:What to know about the major public psychedelics companies, including a guide to their business models and when they expect to sell medicationsSee the pitch deck a psychedelics startup just used to raise $18.6 million to develop new treatments derived from the Sonoran Desert toadSee the 20-slide pitch deck a psychedelics startup used to raise funds to build out a network of ketamine clinicsSee the pitch deck that Compass Pathways used to raise $80 million and fuel its rise into one of the world's biggest psychedelics companiesThe top startups are racing forwardA look at a legal psychedelic retreat hosted by The Synthesis InstituteThe Synthesis InstitutePrivate startups are still a core part of the space.Earlier this year, we published a list of the psychedelics startups that raised the most cash in 2020. The 14 names on that list raised over $222 million.We recently asked the biggest investors in the space to name two top startups in the industry — one they had invested in and one in which they hadn't — and came back with 15 names.Read more:Meet the top 14 psychedelics startups raising the most cash to develop new ways of treating depression, addiction, and moreVCs name the top 15 startups in the psychedelics industryAs drug discovery and development heats up, companies are using patents to raise money and protect market sharePsychedelics companies are using patents to raise funds and protect future market shares.Marianne Ayala/InsiderPsychedelics treatments based on psilocybin and MDMA are inching closer to FDA approval.In November, Compass Pathways, one of the few psychedelics companies in mid-stage trials of its psychedelic treatment, released data around its phase IIb trials for its a synthetic version psilocybin, the psychoactive component found in magic mushrooms, to treat treatment-resistant depression, or depression that doesn't get better with at least two other treatments.Compass is also in the midst of a brewing debate over the role that patents should play in the world of psychedelics, which has traditionally been a field defined by open science and natural compounds. Critics say the psychedelics giant is attempting to dominate the industry with its overreaching patent strategy, while Compass says it is only using patents to protect new inventions.But virtually every company developing psychedelics as FDA-approved treatments is employing a patent strategy to protect its market share and raise money from investors. Patent lawyers told Insider that a slew of patent disclosures could determine the winners and losers of the space.  Read more:Experts share how a brewing fight could shape the future of the $100 billion psychedelics industryCompass Pathways released its latest study on a psychedelic to treat depression. A top Wall Street analyst says the results are 'very encouraging.'The future of the psychedelics industry hinges on patents. Whoever wins could make billions.Academics, lawyers, and analysts are wading into the burgeoning spaceDMT research at Imperial College LondonThomas Angus, Imperial College LondonMeanwhile, it's not just investors and companies that are building out the foundation for what could become a $100 billion market.Academics have continued to publish promising studies on the benefits of psychedelic compounds. Wealthy philanthropists are responsible for the rush of funding entering academia as prestigious universities set up psychedelic research centers. One scientist told us that as psychedelic research has emerged from the fringes, donors have begun to catch the "psychedelic bug.""What psychedelics seems to do is, when it grabs you, you really seem to get it," he said.Lawyers and analysts are also wading into the space. As a slew of companies began to go public, analysts at investment banks began to cover the industry. Lawyers originally focused on cannabis clients also took the plunge.Read more:A Canadian investment bank that capitalized on the cannabis rush is now looking toward a new market. Meet the first analyst covering the burgeoning psychedelics industry.Cannabis lawyers are wading into the psychedelics industry as companies push forward with mega-deals and medical trials to win a slice of the $100 billion marketWealthy donors are fueling a psychedelics renaissance as universities vie for funding to study 'magic mushrooms' and MDMAA landmark study shows the main compound in magic mushrooms could rival a leading depression drug This article was first published on Aug 3, 2021 and was updated on Jan 14, 2022. Read the original article on Business Insider.....»»

Category: personnelSource: nytJan 14th, 2022

Motorola (MSI) Secures LMR Contract Expansion From US Navy

The deal reinforces Motorola's (MSI) competitive position in the public safety ecosystem and extends the operations of Land Mobile Radio network of the naval community. Motorola Solutions, Inc. MSI has secured a $29 million contract extension from the U.S. Department of Defense to bolster mission-critical communications infrastructure among the first-responder community in the U.S. Navy. The deal reinforces its competitive position in the public safety ecosystem and extends the operations of Land Mobile Radio (LMR) network of the naval community.The multi-year agreement was originally signed in January 2020. Per the contract, Motorola will be undertaking necessary steps for sustaining Naval Facilities Engineering Command Anti-Terrorism/Force Protection Ashore mobile radio systems globally. The agreement involves state-of-the-art software upgrades and licenses, asset and configuration management and benchmark testing.Showcasing its adaptability in both military and first responder markets, the Chicago-based company will leverage its much-acclaimed P25 trunked network to strengthen the deployment of LMR communication for easier access, enhanced coverage and stronger security in the Navy. Specifically designed for maintaining synchronized communication between public safety agencies and the Navy’s first responder services, the LMR network is aimed at providing assistance during emergencies like accidents, terrorist attacks, or natural calamities. It ensures secure collaboration between other federal, state and local agencies in the public safety domain for faster and effective responses.Motorola expects to record strong demand across video security and services, LMR products and related software while benefiting from a solid foundation. These systems drive the demand for additional device sales and promote software upgrades and infrastructure expansion. The comprehensive suite of services ensures continuity and reduces risks related to critical communications operations.Furthermore, Motorola intends to fortify its position in the public safety domain by entering into alliances with other players in the ecosystem. It remains poised to benefit from organic growth and acquisition initiatives, disciplined capital deployment and a favorable global macroeconomic environment. Its competitive position and an attractive portfolio for a large addressable market augur well for long-term growth.The stock has gained 47% over the past year compared with the industry’s growth of 19.5%. We remain impressed with the inherent growth potential of this Zacks Rank #3 (Hold) stock. Image Source: Zacks Investment ResearchA better-ranked stock in the industry is Qualcomm Incorporated QCOM, carrying a Zacks Rank #2 (Buy). It has a long-term earnings growth expectation of 15.3% and delivered an earnings surprise of 11.2%, on average, in the trailing four quarters.Earnings estimates for the current year for the stock have moved up 29.7% over the past year, while that for the next fiscal is up 48.1%. Qualcomm is likely to benefit in the long run from solid 5G traction and a surge in demand for essential products that are the building blocks of digital transformation in the cloud economy.SeaChange International, Inc. SEAC, carrying a Zacks Rank #2, is another solid pick for investors. You can see the complete list of today’s Zacks #1 Rank (Strong Buy) stocks here.SeaChange delivered an earnings surprise of 37.2%, on average, in the trailing four quarters and has a long-term growth expectation of 10%. Earnings estimates for the current year for the stock have moved up 35.7% since January 2021. Over the past year, SeaChange has gained a modest 55.3%.Vocera Communications, Inc. VCRA sports a Zacks Rank #1. It has a long-term earnings growth expectation of 18% and delivered a stellar earnings surprise of 109.6%, on average, in the trailing four quarters.Over the past year, Vocera has gained 80.9%. It offers an all-inclusive digital platform for hands-free communication via secure text messaging, alert and alarm management. Leveraging a patent-protected, enterprise-class server software, Vocera provides an advanced clinical rules engine that simultaneously unifies data from multiple sources, prioritizes notifications and sends messages to the right care team members. This, in turn, augments clinical workflow by enabling the interoperability of the solution with a significant number of clinical and operational systems used in hospitals today. Breakout Biotech Stocks with Triple-Digit Profit Potential The biotech sector is projected to surge beyond $2.4 trillion by 2028 as scientists develop treatments for thousands of diseases. They’re also finding ways to edit the human genome to literally erase our vulnerability to these diseases. Zacks has just released Century of Biology: 7 Biotech Stocks to Buy Right Now to help investors profit from 7 stocks poised for outperformance. Recommendations from previous editions of this report have produced gains of +205%, +258% and +477%. The stocks in this report could perform even better.See these 7 breakthrough stocks now >>Want the latest recommendations from Zacks Investment Research? Today, you can download 7 Best Stocks for the Next 30 Days. Click to get this free report QUALCOMM Incorporated (QCOM): Free Stock Analysis Report Motorola Solutions, Inc. (MSI): Free Stock Analysis Report SeaChange International, Inc. (SEAC): Free Stock Analysis Report Vocera Communications, Inc. (VCRA): Free Stock Analysis Report To read this article on Zacks.com click here. Zacks Investment Research.....»»

Category: topSource: zacksJan 13th, 2022

2021 Greatest Hits: The Most Popular Articles Of The Past Year And A Look Ahead

2021 Greatest Hits: The Most Popular Articles Of The Past Year And A Look Ahead One year ago, when looking at the 20 most popular stories of 2020, we said that the year would be a very tough act to follow as there "could not have been more regime shifts, volatility moments, and memes than 2020." And yet despite the exceedingly high bar for 2021, the year did not disappoint and proved to be a successful contender, and if judging by the sheer breadth of narratives, stories, surprises, plot twists and unexpected developments, 2021 was even more memorable and event-filled than 2020. Where does one start? While covid was the story of 2020, the pandemic that emerged out of a (Fauci-funded) genetic lab team in Wuhan, China dominated newsflow, politics and capital markets for the second year in a row. And while the biggest plot twist of 2020 was Biden's victory over Trump in the presidential election (it took the pandemic lockdowns and mail-in ballots to hand the outcome to Biden), largely thanks to Covid, Biden failed to hold to his biggest presidential promise of defeating covid, and not only did he admit in late 2021 that there is "no Federal solution" to covid waving a white flag of surrender less than a year into his presidency, but following the recent emergence of the Xi, pardon Omicron variant, the number of covid cases in the US has just shattered all records. The silver lining is not only that deaths and hospitalizations have failed to follow the number of cases, but that the scaremongering narrative itself is starting to melt in response to growing grassroots discontent with vaccine after vaccine and booster after booster, which by now it is clear, do nothing to contain the pandemic. And now that it is clear that omicron is about as mild as a moderate case of the flu, the hope has finally emerged that this latest strain will finally kill off the pandemic as it becomes the dominant, rapidly-spreading variant, leading to worldwide herd immunity thanks to the immune system's natural response. Yes, it may mean billions less in revenue for Pfizer and Moderna, but it will be a colossal victory for the entire world. The second biggest story of 2021 was undoubtedly the scourge of soaring inflation, which contrary to macrotourist predictions that it would prove "transitory", refused to do so and kept rising, and rising, and rising, until it hit levels not seen since the Volcker galloping inflation days of the 1980s. The only difference of course is that back then, the Fed Funds rate hit 20%. Now it is at 0%, and any attempts to hike aggressively will lead to a horrific market crash, something the Fed knows very well. Whether this was due to supply-chain blockages and a lack of goods and services pushing prices higher, or due to massive stimulus pushing demand for goods - and also prices - higher, or simply the result of a record injection of central bank liquidity into the system, is irrelevant but what does matter is that it got so bad that even Biden, facing a mauling for his Democratic party in next year's midterm elections, freaked out about soaring prices and pushed hard to lower the price of gasoline, ordering releases from the US Strategic Petroleum Reserve and vowing to punish energy companies that dare to make a profit, while ordering Powell to contain the surge in prices even if means the market is hit. Unfortunately for Biden, the market will be hit even as inflation still remain red hot for much of the coming year. And speaking of markets, while 2022 may be a year when the piper finally gets paid, 2021 was yet another blockbuster year for risk assets, largely on the back of the continued global response to the 2020 covid pandemic, when as we wrote last year, we saw "the official arrival of global Helicopter Money, tens of trillions in fiscal and monetary stimulus, an overhaul of the global economy punctuated by an unprecedented explosion in world debt, an Orwellian crackdown on civil liberties by governments everywhere, and ultimately set the scene for what even the World Economic Forum called simply "The Great Reset." Yes, the staggering liquidity injections that started in 2020, continued throughout 2021 and the final tally is that after $3 trillion in emergency liquidity injections in the immediate aftermath of the pandemic to stabilize the world, the Fed injected almost $2 trillion in the subsequent period, of which $1.5 trillion in 2021, a year where economists were "puzzled" why inflation was soaring. This, of course, excludes the tens of trillions of monetary stimulus injected by other central banks as well as the boundless fiscal stimulus that was greenlighted with the launch of helicopter money (i.e., MMT) in 2020. It's also why with inflation running red hot and real rates the lowest they have ever been, everyone was forced to rush into the "safety" of stocks (or stonks as they came to be known among GenZ), and why after last year's torrid stock market returns, the S&P rose another 27% in 2021 and up a staggering 114% from the March 2020 lows, in the process trouncing all previous mega-rallies (including those in 1929, 1938, 1974 and 2009)... ... making this the third consecutive year of double-digit returns. This reminds us of something we said last year: "it's almost as if the world's richest asset owners requested the covid pandemic." A year later, we got confirmation for this rhetorical statement, when we calculated that in the 18 months since the covid pandemic, the richest 1% of US society have seen their net worth increase by over $30 trillion. As a result, the US is now officially a banana republic where the middle 60% of US households by income - a measure economists use as a definition of the middle class - saw their combined assets drop from 26.7% to 26.6% of national wealth as of June, the lowest in Federal Reserve data, while for the first time the super rich had a bigger share, at 27%. Yes, the 1% now own more wealth than the entire US middle class, a definition traditionally reserve for kleptocracies and despotic African banana republics. It wasn't just the rich, however: politicians the world over would benefit from the transition from QE to outright helicopter money and MMT which made the over monetization of deficits widely accepted in the blink of an eye. The common theme here is simple: no matter what happens, capital markets can never again be allowed to drop, regardless of the cost or how much more debt has to be incurred. Indeed, as we look back at the news barrage over the past year, and past decade for that matter, the one thing that becomes especially clear amid the constant din of markets, of politics, of social upheaval and geopolitical strife - and now pandemics -  in fact a world that is so flooded with constant conflicting newsflow and changing storylines that many now say it has become virtually impossible to even try to predict the future, is that despite the people's desire for change, for something original and untried, the world's established forces will not allow it and will fight to preserve the broken status quo at any price - even global coordinated shutdowns - which is perhaps why it always boils down to one thing - capital markets, that bedrock of Western capitalism and the "modern way of life", where control, even if it means central planning the likes of which have not been seen since the days of the USSR, and an upward trajectory must be preserved at all costs, as the alternative is a global, socio-economic collapse. And since it is the daily gyrations of stocks that sway popular moods the interplay between capital markets and politics has never been more profound or more consequential. The more powerful message here is the implicit realization and admission by politicians, not just Trump who had a penchant of tweeting about the S&P every time it rose, but also his peers on both sides of the aisle, that the stock market is now seen as the consummate barometer of one's political achievements and approval. Which is also why capital markets are now, more than ever, a political tool whose purpose is no longer to distribute capital efficiently and discount the future, but to manipulate voter sentiments far more efficiently than any fake Russian election interference attempt ever could. Which brings us back to 2021 and the past decade, which was best summarized by a recent Bill Blain article who said that "the last 10-years has been a story of massive central banking distortion to address the 2008 crisis. Now central banks face the consequences and are trapped. The distortion can’t go uncorrected indefinitely." He is right: the distortion will eventually collapse especially if the Fed follows through with its attempt rate hikes some time in mid-2020, but so far the establishment and the "top 1%" have been successful - perhaps the correct word is lucky - in preserving the value of risk assets: on the back of the Fed's firehose of liquidity the S&P500 returned an impressive 27% in 2021, following a 15.5% return in 2020 and 28.50% in 2019. It did so by staging the greatest rally off all time from the March lows, surpassing all of the 4 greatest rallies off the lows of the past century (1929,1938, 1974, and 2009). Yet this continued can-kicking by the establishment - all of which was made possible by the covid pandemic and lockdowns which served as an all too convenient scapegoat for the unprecedented response that served to propel risk assets (and fiat alternatives such as gold and bitcoin) to all time highs - has come with a price... and an increasingly higher price in fact. As even Bank of America CIO Michael Hartnett admits, Fed's response to the the pandemic "worsened inequality" as the value of financial assets - Wall Street -  relative to economy - Main Street - hit all-time high of 6.3x. And while the Fed was the dynamo that has propelled markets higher ever since the Lehman collapse, last year certainly had its share of breakout moments. Here is a sampling. Gamestop and the emergence of meme stonks and the daytrading apes: In January markets were hypnotized by the massive trading volumes, rolling short squeezes and surging share prices of unremarkable established companies such as consoles retailer GameStop and cinema chain AMC and various other micro and midcap names. What began as a discussion on untapped value at GameStop on Reddit months earlier by Keith Gill, better known as Roaring Kitty, morphed into a hedge fund-orchestrated, crowdsourced effort to squeeze out the short position held by a hedge fund, Melvin Capital. The momentum flooded through the retail market, where daytraders shunned stocks and bought massive out of the money calls, sparking rampant "gamma squeezes" in the process forcing some brokers to curb trading. Robinhood, a popular broker for day traders and Citadel's most lucrative "subsidiary", required a cash injection to withstand the demands placed on it by its clearing house. The company IPOed later in the year only to see its shares collapse as it emerged its business model was disappointing hollow absent constant retail euphoria. Ultimately, the market received a crash course in the power of retail investors on a mission. Ultimately, "retail favorite" stocks ended the year on a subdued note as the trading frenzy from earlier in the year petered out, but despite underperforming the S&P500, retail traders still outperformed hedge funds by more than 100%. Failed seven-year Treasury auction:  Whereas auctions of seven-year US government debt generally spark interest only among specialists, on on February 25 2021, one such typically boring event sparked shockwaves across financial markets, as the weakest demand on record hit prices across the whole spectrum of Treasury bonds. The five-, seven- and 10-year notes all fell sharply in price. Researchers at the Federal Reserve called it a “flash event”; we called it a "catastrophic, tailing" auction, the closest thing the US has had to a failed Trasury auction. The flare-up, as the FT put it, reflects one of the most pressing investor concerns of the year: inflation. At the time, fund managers were just starting to realize that consumer price rises were back with a vengeance — a huge threat to the bond market which still remembers the dire days of the Volcker Fed when inflation was about as high as it is today but the 30Y was trading around 15%. The February auaction also illustrated that the world’s most important market was far less liquid and not as structurally robust as investors had hoped. It was an extreme example of a long-running issue: since the financial crisis the traditional providers of liquidity, a group of 24 Wall Street banks, have pulled back because of higher costs associated with post-2008 capital requirements, while leaving liquidity provision to the Fed. Those banks, in their reduced role, as well as the hedge funds and high-frequency traders that have stepped into their place, have tended to withdraw in moments of market volatility. Needless to say, with the Fed now tapering its record QE, we expect many more such "flash" episodes in the bond market in the year ahead. The arch ego of Archegos: In March 2021 several banks received a brutal reminder that some of family offices, which manage some $6 trillion in wealth of successful billionaires and entrepreneurs and which have minimal reporting requirements, take risks that would make the most serrated hedge fund manager wince, when Bill Hwang’s Archegos Capital Management imploded in spectacular style. As we learned in late March when several high-flying stocks suddenly collapsed, Hwang - a former protege of fabled hedge fund group Tiger Management - had built up a vast pile of leverage using opaque Total Return Swaps with a handful of banks to boost bets on a small number of stocks (the same banks were quite happy to help despite Hwang’s having been barred from US markets in 2013 over allegations of an insider-trading scheme, as he paid generously for the privilege of borrowing the banks' balance sheet). When one of Archegos more recent bets, ViacomCBS, suddenly tumbled it set off a liquidation cascade that left banks including Credit Suisse and Nomura with billions of dollars in losses. Conveniently, as the FT noted, the damage was contained to the banks rather than leaking across financial markets, but the episode sparked a rethink among banks over how to treat these clients and how much leverage to extend. The second coming of cryptos: After hitting an all time high in late 2017 and subsequently slumping into a "crypto winter", cryptocurrencies enjoyed a huge rebound in early 2021 which sent their prices soaring amid fears of galloping inflation (as shown below, and contrary to some financial speculation, the crypto space has traditionally been a hedge either to too much liquidity or a hedge to too much inflation). As a result, Bitcoin rose to a series of new record highs that culminated at just below $62,000, nearly three times higher than their previous all time high. But the smooth ride came to a halt in May when China’s crackdown on the cryptocurrency and its production, or “mining”, sparked the first serious crash of 2021. The price of bitcoin then collapsed as much as 30% on May 19, hitting a low of $30,000 amid a liquidation of levered positions in chaotic trading conditions following a warning from Chinese authorities of tighter curbs ahead. A public acceptance by Tesla chief and crypto cheerleader Elon Musk of the industry’s environmental impact added to the declines. However, as with all previous crypto crashes, this one too proved transitory, and prices resumed their upward trajectory in late September when investors started to price in the launch of futures-based bitcoin exchange traded funds in the US. The launch of these contracts subsequently pushed bitcoin to a new all-time high in early November before prices stumbled again in early December, this time due to a rise in institutional ownership when an overall drop in the market dragged down cryptos as well. That demonstrated the growing linkage between Wall Street and cryptocurrencies, due to the growing sway of large investors in digital markets. China's common prosperity crash: China’s education and tech sectors were one of the perennial Wall Street darlings. Companies such as New Oriental, TAL Education as well as Alibaba and Didi had come to be worth billions of dollars after highly publicized US stock market flotations. So when Beijing effectively outlawed swaths of the country’s for-profit education industry in July 2021, followed by draconian anti-trust regulations on the country's fintech names (where Xi Jinping also meant to teach the country's billionaire class a lesson who is truly in charge), the short-term market impact was brutal. Beijing’s initial measures emerged as part of a wider effort to make education more affordable as part of president Xi Jinping’s drive for "common prosperity" but that quickly raised questions over whether growth prospects across corporate China are countered by the capacity of the government to overhaul entire business models overnight. Sure enough, volatility stemming from the education sector was soon overshadowed by another set of government reforms related to common prosperity, a crackdown on leverage across the real estate sector where the biggest casualty was Evergrande, the world’s most indebted developer. The company, whose boss was not long ago China's 2nd richest man, was engulfed by a liquidity crisis in the summer that eventually resulted in a default in early December. Still, as the FT notes, China continues to draw in huge amounts of foreign capital, pushing the Chinese yuan to end 2021 at the strongest level since May 2018, a major hurdle to China's attempts to kickstart its slowing economy, and surely a precursor to even more monetary easing. Natgas hyperinflation: Natural gas supplanted crude oil as the world’s most important commodity in October and December as prices exploded to unprecedented levels and the world scrambled for scarce supplies amid the developed world's catastrophic transition to "green" energy. The crunch was particularly acute in Europe, which has become increasingly reliant on imports. Futures linked to TTF, the region’s wholesale gas price, hit a record €137 per megawatt hour in early October, rising more than 75%. In Asia, spot liquefied natural gas prices briefly passed the equivalent of more than $320 a barrel of oil in October. (At the time, Brent crude was trading at $80). A number of factors contributed, including rising demand as pandemic restrictions eased, supply disruptions in the LNG market and weather-induced shortfalls in renewable energy. In Europe, this was aggravated by plunging export volumes from Gazprom, Russia’s state-backed monopoly pipeline supplier, amid a bitter political fight over the launch of the Nordstream 2 pipeline. And with delays to the Nord Stream 2 gas pipeline from Russia to Germany, analysts say the European gas market - where storage is only 66% full - a cold snap or supply disruption away from another price spike Turkey's (latest) currency crisis:  As the FT's Jonathan Wheatley writes, Recep Tayyip Erdogan was once a source of strength for the Turkish lira, and in his first five years in power from 2003, the currency rallied from TL1.6 per US dollar to near parity at TL1.2. But those days are long gone, as Erdogan's bizarre fascination with unorthodox economics, namely the theory that lower rates lead to lower inflation also known as "Erdoganomics", has sparked a historic collapse in the: having traded at about TL7 to the dollar in February, it has since fallen beyond TL17, making it the worst performing currency of 2021. The lira’s defining moment in 2021 came on November 18 when the central bank, in spite of soaring inflation, cut its policy rate for the third time since September, at Erdogan’s behest (any central banker in Turkey who disagrees with "Erdoganomics" is promptly fired and replaced with an ideological puppet). The lira recovered some of its losses in late December when Erdogan came up with the "brilliant" idea of erecting the infamous "doom loop" which ties Turkey's balance sheet to its currency. It has worked for now (the lira surged from TL18 against the dollar to TL12, but this particular band aid solution will only last so long). The lira’s problems are not only Erdogan’s doing. A strengthening dollar, rising oil prices, the relentless covid pandemic and weak growth in developing economies have been bad for other emerging market currencies, too, but as long as Erdogan is in charge, shorting the lira remains the best trade entering 2022. While these, and many more, stories provided a diversion from the boring existence of centrally-planned markets, we are confident that the trends observed in recent years will continue: coming years will be marked by even bigger government (because only more government can "fix" problems created by government), higher stock prices and dollar debasement (because only more Fed intervention can "fix" the problems created by the Fed), and a policy flip from monetary and QE to fiscal & MMT, all of which will keep inflation at scorching levels, much to the persistent confusion of economists everywhere. Of course, we said much of this last year as well, but while we got most trends right, we were wrong about one thing: we were confident that China's aggressive roll out of the digital yuan would be a bang - or as we put it "it is very likely that while 2020 was an insane year, it may prove to be just an appetizer to the shockwaves that will be unleashed in 2021 when we see the first stage of the most historic overhaul of the fiat payment system in history" - however it turned out to be a whimper. A big reason for that was that the initial reception of the "revolutionary" currency was nothing short of disastrous, with Chinese admitting they were "not at all excited" about the prospect of yet one more surveillance mechanism for Beijing, because that's really what digital currencies are: a way for central banks everywhere to micromanage and scrutinize every single transaction, allowing the powers that be to demonetize any one person - or whole groups - with the flick of a switch. Then again, while digital money may not have made its triumphant arrival in 2021, we are confident that the launch date has merely been pushed back to 2022 when the rollout of the next monetary revolution is expected to begin in earnest. Here we should again note one thing: in a world undergoing historic transformations, any free press must be throttled and controlled, and over the past year we have seen unprecedented efforts by legacy media and its corporate owners, as well as the new "social media" overlords do everything in their power to stifle independent thought. For us it had been especially "personal" on more than one occasions. Last January, Twitter suspended our account because we dared to challenge the conventional narrative about the source of the Wuhan virus. It was only six months later that Twitter apologized, and set us free, admitting it had made a mistake. Yet barely had twitter readmitted us, when something even more unprecedented happened: for the first time ever (to our knowledge) Google - the world's largest online ad provider and monopoly - demonetized our website not because of any complaints about our writing but because of the contents of our comment section. It then held us hostage until we agreed to implement some prerequisite screening and moderation of the comments section. Google's action was followed by the likes of PayPal, Amazon, and many other financial and ad platforms, who rushed to demonetize and suspend us simply because they disagreed with what we had to say. This was a stark lesson in how quickly an ad-funded business can disintegrate in this world which resembles the dystopia of 1984 more and more each day, and we have since taken measures. One year ago, for the first time in our 13 year history, we launched a paid version of our website, which is entirely ad and moderation free, and offers readers a variety of premium content. It wasn't our intention to make this transformation but unfortunately we know which way the wind is blowing and it is only a matter of time before the gatekeepers of online ad spending block us again. As such, if we are to have any hope in continuing it will come directly from you, our readers. We will keep the free website running for as long as possible, but we are certain that it is only a matter of time before the hammer falls as the censorship bandwagon rolls out much more aggressively in the coming year. That said, whether the story of 2022, and the next decade for that matter, is one of helicopter or digital money, of (hyper)inflation or deflation: what is key, and what we learned in the past decade, is that the status quo will throw anything at the problem to kick the can, it will certainly not let any crisis go to waste... even the deadliest pandemic in over a century. And while many already knew that, the events of 2021 made it clear to a fault that not even a modest market correction can be tolerated going forward. After all, if central banks aim to punish all selling, then the logical outcome is to buy everything, and investors, traders and speculators did just that armed with the clearest backstop guarantee from the Fed, which in the deapths of the covid crash crossed the Rubicon when it formally nationalized the bond market as it started buying both investment grade bonds and junk bond ETFs in the open market. As such it is no longer even a debatable issue if the Fed will buy stocks after the next crash - the only question is when. Meanwhile, for all those lamenting the relentless coverage of politics in a financial blog, why finance appears to have taken a secondary role, and why the political "narrative" has taken a dominant role for financial analysts, the past year showed vividly why that is the case: in a world where markets gyrated, and "rotated" from value stocks to growth and vice versa, purely on speculation of how big the next stimulus out of Washington will be, the narrative over Biden's trillions proved to be one of the biggest market moving events for much of the year. And with the Biden stimulus plan off the table for now, the Fed will find it very difficult to tighten financial conditions, especially if it does so just as the economy is slowing. Here we like to remind readers of one of our favorite charts: every financial crisis is the result of Fed tightening. As for predictions about the future, as the past two years so vividly showed, when it comes to actual surprises and all true "black swans", it won't be what anyone had expected. And so while many themes, both in the political and financial realm, did get some accelerated closure courtesy of China's covid pandemic, dramatic changes in 2021 persisted, and will continue to manifest themselves in often violent and unexpected ways - from the ongoing record polarization in the US political arena, to "populist" upheavals around the developed world, to the gradual transition to a global Universal Basic (i.e., socialized) Income regime, to China's ongoing fight with preserving stability in its gargantuan financial system which is now two and a half times the size of the US. As always, we thank all of our readers for making this website - which has never seen one dollar of outside funding (and despite amusing recurring allegations, has certainly never seen a ruble from the KGB either, although now that the entire Russian hysteria episode is over, those allegations have finally quieted down), and has never spent one dollar on marketing - a small (or not so small) part of your daily routine. Which also brings us to another critical topic: that of fake news, and something we - and others who do not comply with the established narrative - have been accused of. While we find the narrative of fake news laughable, after all every single article in this website is backed by facts and links to outside sources, it is clearly a dangerous development, and a very slippery slope that the entire developed world is pushing for what is, when stripped of fancy jargon, internet censorship under the guise of protecting the average person from "dangerous, fake information." It's also why we are preparing for the next onslaught against independent thought and why we had no choice but to roll out a premium version of this website. In addition to the other themes noted above, we expect the crackdown on free speech to accelerate in the coming year when key midterm elections will be held, especially as the following list of Top 20 articles for 2021 reveals, many of the most popular articles in the past year were precisely those which the conventional media would not touch out of fear of repercussions, which in turn allowed the alternative media to continue to flourish in an orchestrated information vacuum and take significant market share from the established outlets by covering topics which the public relations arm of established media outlets refused to do, in the process earning itself the derogatory "fake news" condemnation. We are grateful that our readers - who hit a new record high in 2021 - have realized it is incumbent upon them to decide what is, and isn't "fake news." * * * And so, before we get into the details of what has now become an annual tradition for the last day of the year, those who wish to jog down memory lane, can refresh our most popular articles for every year during our no longer that brief, almost 11-year existence, starting with 2009 and continuing with 2010, 2011, 2012, 2013, 2014, 2015, 2016, 2017, 2018, 2019 and 2020. So without further ado, here are the articles that you, our readers, found to be the most engaging, interesting and popular based on the number of hits, during the past year. In 20th spot with 600,000 reads, was an article that touched on one of the most defining features of the market: the reflation theme the sparked a massive rally at the start of the year courtesy of the surprise outcome in the Georgia Senate race, where Democrats ended up wining both seats up for grabs, effectively giving the Dems a majority in both the House and the Senate, where despite the even, 50-seat split, Kamala Harris would cast the winning tie-breaker vote to pursue a historic fiscal stimulus. And sure enough, as we described in "Bitcoin Surges To Record High, Stocks & Bonds Battered As Dems Look Set To Take Both Georgia Senate Seats", with trillions in "stimmies" flooding both the economy and the market, not only did retail traders enjoy unprecedented returns when trading meme "stonks" and forcing short squeezes that crippled numerous hedge funds, but expectations of sharply higher inflation also helped push bitcoin and the entire crypto sector to new all time highs, which in turn legitimized the product across institutional investors and helped it reach a market cap north of $3 trillion.  In 19th spot, over 613,000 readers were thrilled to read at the start of September that "Biden Unveils Most Severe COVID Actions Yet: Mandates Vax For All Federal Workers, Contractors, & Large Private Companies." Of course, just a few weeks later much of Biden's mandate would be struck down in courts, where it is now headed to a decision by SCOTUS, while the constantly shifting "scientific" goal posts mean that just a few months later the latest set of CDC regulations have seen regulators and officials reverse the constant drone of fearmongering and are now even seeking to cut back on the duration of quarantine and other lockdown measures amid a public mood that is growing increasingly hostile to the government response. One of the defining political events of 2021 was the so-called "Jan 6 Insurrection", which the for America's conservatives was blown wildly out of proportion yet which the leftist media and Democrats in Congress have been periodically trying to push to the front pages in hopes of distracting from the growing list of failures of the Obama admin. Yet as we asked back in January, "Why Was Founder Of Far-Left BLM Group Filming Inside Capitol As Police Shot Protester?" No less than 614,000 readers found this question worthy of a response. Since then many more questions have emerged surrounding this event, many of which focus on what role the FBI had in organizing and encouraging this event, including the use of various informants and instigators. For now, a response will have to wait at least until the mid-term elections of 2022 when Republicans are expected to sweep one if not both chambers. Linked to the above, the 17th most read article of 2021 with 617,000 views, was an article we published on the very same day, which detailed that "Armed Protesters Begin To Arrive At State Capitols Around The Nation." At the end of the day, it was much ado about nothing and all protests concluded peacefully and without incident: perhaps the FBI was simply spread too thin? 2021 was a year defined by various waves of the covid pandemic which hammered poor Americans forced to hunker down at home and missing on pay, and crippled countless small mom and pop businesses. And yet, it was also a bonanza for a handful of pharma companies such as Pfizer and Moderna which made billions from the sale of "vaccines" which we now know do little if anything to halt the spread of the virus, and are instead now being pitched as palliatives, preventing a far worse clinical outcome. The same pharma companies also benefited from an unconditional indemnity, which surely would come in useful when the full side-effects of their mRNA-based therapies became apparent. One such condition to emerge was myocarditis among a subset of the vaxxed. And while the vaccines continue to be broadly rolled out across most developed nations, one place that said enough was Sweden. As over 620,000 readers found out in "Sweden Suspends Moderna Shot Indefinitely After Vaxxed Patients Develop Crippling Heart Condition", not every country was willing to use its citizens as experimental guniea pigs. This was enough to make the article the 16th most read on these pages, but perhaps in light of the (lack of) debate over the pros and cons of the covid vaccines, this should have been the most read article this year? Moving on to the 15th most popular article, 628,000 readers were shocked to learn that "Chase Bank Cancels General Mike Flynn's Credit Cards." The action, which was taken by the largest US bank due to "reputational risk" echoed a broad push by tech giants to deplatform and silence dissenting voices by literally freezing them out of the financial system. In the end, following widespread blowback from millions of Americans, JPMorgan reversed, and reactivated Flynn's cards saying the action was made in error, but unfortunately this is just one example of how those in power can lock out any dissenters with the flick of a switch. And while democrats cheer such deplatforming today, the political winds are fickle, and we doubt they will be as excited once they find themselves on the receiving end of such actions. And speaking of censorship and media blackouts, few terms sparked greater response from those in power than the term Ivermectin. Viewed by millions as a cheap, effective alternative to offerings from the pharmaceutical complex, social networks did everything in their power to silence any mention of a drug which the Journal of Antibiotics said in 2017 was an "enigmatic multifaceted ‘wonder’ drug which continues to surprise and exceed expectations." Nowhere was this more obvious than in the discussion of how widespread use of Ivermectin beat Covid in India, the topic of the 14th most popular article of 2021 "India's Ivermectin Blackout" which was read by over 653,000 readers. Unfortunately, while vaccines continue to fail upward and now some countries are now pushing with a 4th, 5th and even 6th vaccine, Ivermectin remains a dirty word. There was more covid coverage in the 13th most popular article of 2021, "Surprise Surprise - Fauci Lied Again": Rand Paul Reacts To Wuhan Bombshell" which was viewed no less than 725,000 times. Paul's reaction came following a report which revealed that Anthony Fauci's NIAID and its parent, the NIH, funded Gain-of-Function research in Wuhan, China, strongly hinting that the emergence of covid was the result of illicit US funding. Not that long ago, Fauci had called Paul a 'liar' for accusing him of funding the risky research, in which viruses are genetically modified or otherwise altered to make them more transmissible to humans. And while we could say that Paul got the last laugh, Fauci still remains Biden's top covid advisor, which may explain why one year after Biden vowed he would shut down the pandemic, the number of new cases just hit a new all time high. One hope we have for 2022 is that people will finally open their eyes... 2021 was not just about covid - soaring prices and relentless inflation were one of the most poignant topics. It got so bad that Biden's approval rating - and that of Democrats in general - tumbled toward the end of the year, putting their mid-term ambitions in jeopardy, as the public mood soured dramatically in response to the explosion in prices. And while one can debate whether it was due to supply-issues, such as the collapse in trans-pacific supply chains and the chronic lack of labor to grow the US infrastructure, or due to roaring demand sparked by trillions in fiscal stimulus, but when the "Big Short" Michael Burry warned that hyperinflation is coming, the people listened, and with over 731,000 reads, the 12th most popular article of 2021 was "Michael Burry Warns Weimar Hyperinflation Is Coming."  Of course, Burry did not say anything we haven't warned about for the past 12 years, but at least he got the people's attention, and even mainstream names such as Twitter founder Jack Dorsey agreed with him, predicting that bitcoin will be what is left after the dollar has collapsed. While hyperinflation may will be the endgame, the question remains: when. For the 11th most read article of 2021, we go back to a topic touched upon moments ago when we addressed the full-blown media campaign seeking to discredit Ivermectin, in this case via the D-grade liberal tabloid Rolling Stone (whose modern incarnation is sadly a pale shadow of the legend that house Hunter S. Thompson's unforgettable dispatches) which published the very definition of fake news when it called Ivermectin a "horse dewormer" and claimed that, according to a hospital employee, people were overdosing on it. Just a few hours later, the article was retracted as we explained in "Rolling Stone Issues 'Update' After Horse Dewormer Hit-Piece Debunked" and over 812,000 readers found out that pretty much everything had been a fabrication. But of course, by then it was too late, and the reputation of Ivermectin as a potential covid cure had been further tarnished, much to the relief of the pharma giants who had a carte blanche to sell their experimental wares. The 10th most popular article of 2021 brings us to another issue that had split America down the middle, namely the story surrounding Kyle Rittenhouse and the full-blown media campaign that declared the teenager guilty, even when eventually proven innocent. Just days before the dramatic acquittal, we learned that "FBI Sat On Bombshell Footage From Kyle Rittenhouse Shooting", which was read by over 822,000 readers. It was unfortunate to learn that once again the scandal-plagued FBI stood at the center of yet another attempt at mass misinformation, and we can only hope that one day this "deep state" agency will be overhauled from its core, or better yet, shut down completely. As for Kyle, he will have the last laugh: according to unconfirmed rumors, his numerous legal settlements with various media outlets will be in the tens if not hundreds of millions of dollars.  And from the great US social schism, we again go back to Covid for the 9th most popular article of 2021, which described the terrifying details of one of the most draconian responses to covid in the entire world: that of Australia. Over 900,000 readers were stunned to read that the "Australian Army Begins Transferring COVID-Positive Cases, Contacts To Quarantine Camps." Alas, the latest surge in Australian cases to nosebleed, record highs merely confirms that this unprecedented government lockdown - including masks and vaccines - is nothing more than an exercise in how far government can treat its population as a herd of sheep without provoking a violent response.  The 8th most popular article of 2021 looks at the market insanity of early 2021 when, at the end of January, we saw some of the most-shorted, "meme" stocks explode higher as the Reddit daytrading horde fixed their sights on a handful of hedge funds and spent billions in stimmies in an attempt to force unprecedented ramps. That was the case with "GME Soars 75% After-Hours, Erases Losses After Liquidity-Constrained Robinhood Lifts Trading Ban", which profiled the daytrading craze that gave an entire generation the feeling that it too could win in these manipulated capital markets. Then again, judging by the waning retail interest, it is possible that the excitement of the daytrading army is fading as rapidly as it first emerged, and that absent more "stimmies" markets will remain the playground of the rich and central banks. Kyle Rittenhouse may soon be a very rich man after the ordeal he went through, but the media's mission of further polarizing US society succeeded, and millions of Americans will never accept that the teenager was innocent. It's also why with just over 1 million reads, the 7th most read article on Zero Hedge this year was that "Portland Rittenhouse Protest Escalates Into Riot." Luckily, this is not a mid-term election year and there were no moneyed interests seeking to prolong this particular riot, unlike what happened in the summer of 2020... and what we are very much afraid will again happen next year when very critical elections are on deck.  With just over 1.03 million views, the 6th most popular post focused on a viral Twitter thread on Friday from Dr Robert Laone, which laid out a disturbing trend; the most-vaccinated countries in the world are experiencing  a surge in COVID-19 cases, while the least-vaccinated countries were not. As we originally discussed in ""This Is Worrying Me Quite A Bit": mRNA Vaccine Inventor Shares Viral Thread Showing COVID Surge In Most-Vaxxed Countries", this trend has only accelerated in recent weeks with the emergence of the Omicron strain. Unfortunately, instead of engaging in a constructive discussion to see why the science keeps failing again and again, Twitter's response was chilling: with just days left in 2021, it suspended the account of Dr. Malone, one of the inventors of mRNA technology. Which brings to mind something Aaron Rogers said: "If science can't be questioned it's not science anymore it's propaganda & that's the truth." In a year that was marked a flurry of domestic fiascoes by the Biden administration, it is easy to forget that the aged president was also responsible for the biggest US foreign policy disaster since Vietnam, when the botched evacuation of Afghanistan made the US laughing stock of the world after 12 US servicemembers were killed. So it's probably not surprising that over 1.1 million readers were stunned to watch what happened next, which we profiled in the 5th most popular post of 2021, where in response to the Afghan trajedy, "Biden Delivers Surreal Press Conference, Vows To Hunt Down Isis, Blames Trump." One person watching the Biden presser was Xi Jinping, who may have once harbored doubts about reclaiming Taiwan but certainly does not any more. The 4th most popular article of 2021 again has to do with with covid, and specifically the increasingly bizarre clinical response to the disease. As we detailed in "Something Really Strange Is Happening At Hospitals All Over America" while emergency rooms were overflowing, it certainly wasn't from covid cases. Even more curiously, one of the primary ailments leading to an onslaught on ERs across the nation was heart-related issues, whether arrhytmia, cardiac incidents or general heart conditions. We hope that one day there will be a candid discussion on this topic, but until then it remains one of the topics seen as taboo by the mainstream media and the deplatforming overlords, so we'll just leave it at that. We previously discussed the anti-Ivermectin narrative that dominated the mainstream press throughout 2021 and the 3rd most popular article of the year may hold clues as to why: in late September, pharma giant Pfizer and one of the two companies to peddle an mRNA based vaccine, announced that it's launching an accelerated Phase 2/3 trial for a COVID prophylactic pill designed to ward off COVID in those may have come in contact with the disease. And, as we described in "Pfizer Launches Final Study For COVID Drug That's Suspiciously Similar To 'Horse Paste'," 1.75 million readers learned that Pfizer's drug shared at least one mechanism of action as Ivermectin - an anti-parasitic used in humans for decades, which functions as a protease inhibitor against Covid-19, which researchers speculate "could be the biophysical basis behind its antiviral efficiency." Surely, this too was just another huge coincidence. In the second most popular article of 2021, almost 2 million readers discovered (to their "shock") that Fauci and the rest of Biden's COVID advisors were proven wrong about "the science" of COVID vaccines yet again. After telling Americans that vaccines offer better protection than natural infection, a new study out of Israel suggested the opposite is true: natural infection offers a much better shield against the delta variant than vaccines, something we profiled in "This Ends The Debate' - Israeli Study Shows Natural Immunity 13x More Effective Than Vaccines At Stopping Delta." We were right about one thing: anyone who dared to suggest that natural immunity was indeed more effective than vaccines was promptly canceled and censored, and all debate almost instantly ended. Since then we have had tens of millions of "breakout" cases where vaccinated people catch covid again, while any discussion why those with natural immunity do much better remains under lock and key. It may come as a surprise to many that the most read article of 2021 was not about covid, or Biden, or inflation, or China, or even the extremely polarized US congress (and/or society), but was about one of the most long-suffering topics on these pages: precious metals and their prices. Yes, back in February the retail mania briefly targeted silver and as millions of reddit daytraders piled in in hopes of squeezing the precious metal higher, the price of silver surged higher only to tumble just as quickly as it has risen as the seller(s) once again proved more powerful than the buyers. We described this in "Silver Futures Soar 8%, Rise Above $29 As Reddit Hordes Pile In", an article which some 2.4 million gold and silver bugs read with hope, only to see their favorite precious metals slump for much of the rest of the year. And yes, the fact that both gold and silver ended the year sharply lower than where they started even though inflation hit the highest level in 40 years, remains one of the great mysteries of 2021. With all that behind us, and as we wave goodbye to another bizarre, exciting, surreal year, what lies in store for 2022, and the next decade? We don't know: as frequent and not so frequent readers are aware, we do not pretend to be able to predict the future and we don't try despite endless allegations that we constantly predict the collapse of civilization: we leave the predicting to the "smartest people in the room" who year after year have been consistently wrong about everything, and never more so than in 2021 (even the Fed admitted it is clueless when Powell said it was time to retire the term "transitory"), which destroyed the reputation of central banks, of economists, of conventional media and the professional "polling" and "strategist" class forever, not to mention all those "scientists" who made a mockery of the "expertise class" with their bungled response to the covid pandemic. We merely observe, find what is unexpected, entertaining, amusing, surprising or grotesque in an increasingly bizarre, sad, and increasingly crazy world, and then just write about it. We do know, however, that after a record $30 trillion in stimulus was conjured out of thin air by the world's central banks and politicians in the past two years, the attempt to reverse this monetary and fiscal firehose in a world addicted to trillions in newly created liquidity now that central banks are freaking out after finally getting ot the inflation they were hoping to create for so long, will end in tears. We are confident, however, that in the end it will be the very final backstoppers of the status quo regime, the central banking emperors of the New Normal, who will eventually be revealed as fully naked. When that happens and what happens after is anyone's guess. But, as we have promised - and delivered - every year for the past 13, we will be there to document every aspect of it. Finally, and as always, we wish all our readers the best of luck in 2022, with much success in trading and every other avenue of life. We bid farewell to 2021 with our traditional and unwavering year-end promise: Zero Hedge will be there each and every day - usually with a cynical smile - helping readers expose, unravel and comprehend the fallacy, fiction, fraud and farce that defines every aspect of our increasingly broken system. Tyler Durden Sun, 01/02/2022 - 03:44.....»»

Category: personnelSource: nytJan 2nd, 2022

Aurinia (AUPH) Stock Up on Potential Acquisition Rumors

Aurinia (AUPH) gains on rumors of a potential acquisition yet again. Reportedly, the company is being eyed by Novartis. Shares of Aurinia Pharmaceuticals Inc. AUPH gained 13.2% on Dec 2, following fresh rumors of a potential buyout.Reportedly, Swiss pharma giant Novartis NVS is looking out for small bolt-on acquisitions, as mentioned in its R&D Day 2021 presentation. Shares of Aurinia jumped, with investors expecting the company to be on NVS’ radar.We note that Novartis recently decided to sell its stake in Roche for $20.7 billion and is looking to use this fund for acquisitions to strengthen its portfolio.Aurinia’s Lupkynis is the first FDA-approved oral therapy dedicated to treating adult patients with active lupus nephritis (LN). It was approved in January 2021. LN is a serious progression of systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE), a chronic and complex autoimmune disease that can lead to permanent and irreversible tissue damage within the kidney.Total revenues were $14.7 million in the third quarter and $22.2 million in the first nine months of 2021.In August 2021, Aurinia added two novel assets to expand its rare autoimmune and kidney-related disease pipeline. The first program, AUR200, was acquired by way of Aurinia purchasing all of the common stock of Thunderbolt Pharma, Inc, a private company. The second program, AUR300, was secured through a global licensing and research agreement with Riptide Bioscience Inc., a private company.Aurinia has been in the news all through 2021 on speculations of a possible buyout.Shares of Aurinia have surged 45.6% in the year so far against the industry’s 21% decline.Earlier, it was rumored that biotech giant Bristol Myers BMY was interested in acquiring Aurinia, and shares surged on the same.Image Source: Zacks Investment ResearchBristol Myers too is looking to diversify its revenue base as key drugs will lose patent protection. It earlier boosted its top line with the acquisition of the erstwhile Celgene Corporation.Mergers & Acquisitions (M&As) are back in focus in the biotech sector as Merck MRK recently acquired Acceleron Pharma for $180 per share in cash for an approximate total equity value of $11.5 billion in a bid to build its rare diseases portfolio.The acquisition added Accelereon’s promising pipeline candidate — sotatercept — which is being evaluated for the treatment of pulmonary arterial hypertension (PAH), a progressive and life-threatening blood vessel disorder, to MRK’s pipeline.M&As have always taken center stage in the biotech industry as leading pharma/biotech companies constantly eye lucrative acquisitions to diversify their revenue base in the face of dwindling sales of high-profile drugs. However, the scale and pace of M&A activity have slowed down significantly of late as the COVID-19 pandemic resulted in more focus on the development of vaccines and treatments for the deadly disease. Nevertheless, as the economic situation improves, the pace is picking up, and companies like Bristol Myers are on the lookout for the same to bolster their portfolios.Aurinia currently carries a Zacks Rank #3 (Hold). You can see the complete list of today’s Zacks #1 Rank (Strong Buy) stocks here.  Zacks' Top Picks to Cash in on Artificial Intelligence In 2021, this world-changing technology is projected to generate $327.5 billion in revenue. Now Shark Tank star and billionaire investor Mark Cuban says AI will create "the world's first trillionaires." Zacks' urgent special report reveals 3 AI picks investors need to know about today.See 3 Artificial Intelligence Stocks With Extreme Upside Potential>>Want the latest recommendations from Zacks Investment Research? Today, you can download 7 Best Stocks for the Next 30 Days. Click to get this free report Novartis AG (NVS): Free Stock Analysis Report Bristol Myers Squibb Company (BMY): Free Stock Analysis Report Merck & Co., Inc. (MRK): Free Stock Analysis Report Aurinia Pharmaceuticals Inc (AUPH): Free Stock Analysis Report To read this article on Zacks.com click here. Zacks Investment Research.....»»

Category: topSource: zacksDec 3rd, 2021

Escobar: Fauci As Darth Vader Of The COVID Wars

Escobar: Fauci As Darth Vader Of The COVID Wars Authored by Pepe Escobar via The Asia Times, Robert F Kennedy Jr’s The Real Anthony Fauci: Bill Gates, Big Pharma and the Global War on Democracy and Public Health should be front-page news in all the news media in the US. Instead, it has been met with the proverbial thundering silence. Critics seeking to have Kennedy dismissed as a kook trading on a famous name had scored a hit in February, when Instagram permanently deleted his account, allegedly for making false claims about coronavirus and vaccines. Nevertheless, the book, published only a few days ago, is already a certified pop hit on Amazon. RFK Jr., chairman of the board of and chief legal counsel for Children’s Health Defense, sets out to deconstruct a New Normal, encroaching upon all of us since early 2020. In my early 2021 book Raging Twenties I have termed this force techno-feudalism. Kennedy describes it as “rising totalitarianism,” complete with “mass propaganda and censorship, the orchestrated promotion of terror, the manipulation of science, the suppression of debate, the vilification of dissent and use of force to prevent protest.” Focusing on Dr Anthony Fauci as the fulcrum of the biggest story of the 21st century allows RFK Jr to paint a complex canvas of planned militarization and, especially, monetization of medicine, a toxic process managed by Big Pharma, Big Tech and the military/intel complex – and dutifully promoted by mainstream media. By now everyone knows that the big winners have been Big Finance, Big Pharma, Big Tech and Big Data, with a special niche for Silicon Valley behemoths. Why Fauci? RFK Jr. argues that for five decades, he has been essentially a Big Pharma agent, nurturing “a complex web of financial entanglements among pharmaceutical companies and the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID) and its employees that has transformed NIAID into a seamless subsidiary of the pharmaceutical industry. Fauci unabashedly promotes his sweetheart relationship with Pharma as a ‘public-private partnership.’” Arguably the full contours of this very convoluted story have never before been examined along these lines, extensively documented and with a wealth of links. Fauci may not be a household name outside of the US and especially across the Global South. And yet it’s this global audience that should be particularly interested in his story. RFK Jr accuses Fauci of having pursued nefarious strategies since the onset of Covid-19 – from falsifying science to suppressing and sabotaging competitive products that bring lower profit margins. Kennedy’s verdict is stark: “Tony Fauci does not do public health; he is a businessman, who has used his office to enrich his pharmaceutical partners and expand the reach of influence that has made him the most powerful – and despotic – doctor in human history.” This is a very serious accusation. It’s up to readers to examine the facts of the case and decide whether Fauci is some kind of medical Dr Strangelove. No Vitamin D? Pride of place goes to the Fauci-privileged modeling that overestimated Covid deaths by 525%, cooked up by fabricator Neil Ferguson of the Imperial College in London, duly funded by the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation. This is the model, later debunked, that justified lockdown hysteria all across the planet. Kennedy attributes to Canadian vaccine researcher Dr Jessica Rose the charge that Fauci was at the frontline of erasing the notion of natural immunity even as throughout 2020 the CDC and the World Health Organization (WHO) admitted that people with healthy immune systems bear minimal risk of dying from Covid. Dr Pierre Kory, president of Front Line Covid-19 Critical Care Alliance, was among those who denounced Fauci’s modus operandi of privileging the development of tech vaccines while allowing no space for repurposed medications effective against Covid: “It is absolutely shocking that he recommended no outpatient care, not even Vitamin D.” Clinical cardiologist Peter McCullough and his team of frontline doctors tested prophylactic protocols using, for instance, ivermectin – “we had terrific data from medical teams in Bangladesh” – and added other medications such as azithromycin, zinc, Vitamin D and IV Vitamin C. And all this while across Asia there was widespread use of saline nasal lavages. By July 1, 2020, McCullough and his team submitted their first, ground-breaking protocol to the American Journal of Medicine. It became the most-downloaded paper in the world helping doctors to treat Covid-19. McCullough complained last year that Fauci has never, to date, published anything on how to treat a Covid patient.” He additionally alleged: “Anyone who tries to publish a new treatment protocol will find themselves airtight blocked by the journals that are all under Fauci’s control.” It got much worse. McCullough: “The whole medical establishment was trying to shut down early treatment and silence all the doctors who talked about success. A whole generation of doctors just stopped practicing medicine.” (A contrarian view would argue that McCullough got carried away: A million US doctors – the approximate number practicing at any given time – could not all have been in on it.) The book argues that the reasons there was a lack of original research on how to fight Covid were the dependence of much-vaunted American academics on the billions of dollars granted by the National Institute of Health (NIH) and the fact they were terrified of contradicting Fauci. Frontline Covid specialists Kory and McCullough are quoted as charging that Fauci’s suppression of early treatment and off-patent medication was responsible for up to 80% of deaths attributed to Covid in the US. How to kill the competition The book offers a detailed outline of an alleged offensive by Big Pharma to kill hydroxychloroquine (HCQ) – with research mercenaries funded by the Gates-Fauci axis allegedly misinterpreting and misreporting negative results by employing faulty protocols. Kennedy says that Bill Gates by 2020 virtually controlled the whole WHO apparatus, as the largest funder after the US government (before Trump pulled the US out of the WHO) and used the agency to fully discredit HCQ. The book also addresses Lancetgate – when the world’s top two scientific journals, The Lancet and the New England Journal of Medicine published fraudulent studies from a nonexistent database owned by a previously unknown company. Only a few weeks later both journals – deeply embarrassed and with their hard-earned credibility challenged – withdrew the studies. There was never any explanation as to why they got involved in what could be interpreted as one of the most serious frauds in the history of scientific publishing. But it all served a purpose. For Big Pharma, says Kennedy, killing HCQ and, later, Ivermectin (IVM) were top priorities. Ivermectin happens to be a low-profit competitor to a Merck product, molnupiravir, which is essentially a copycat but capable of retailing at a profitable $700 per course. Fauci was quite excited by a promising study of Gilead’s remdesivir – which not only is not effective against Covid but is a de facto deadly poison, at $3,000 for each treatment. The book suggests that Fauci might have wanted to kill HCQ and IVM because under federal US rules, the FDA’s recognition of both HCQ and IVM would automatically kill remdesivir. The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation happens to have a large equity stake in Gilead. A key point for Kennedy is that vaccines were Big Pharma’s Holy Grail. He details how what could be construed as a Fauci-Gates alliance put “billions of taxpayer and tax-deducted dollars into developing” an mRNA “platform for vaccines that, in theory, would allow them to quickly produce new ‘boosters’ to combat each ‘escape variant.'” Vaccines, he writes, “are one of the rare commercial products that multiply profits by failing.… The good news for Pharma was that all of humanity would be permanently dependent on biannual or even triannual booster shots.” Any similarities with our current “booster” reality are not mere coincidence. The final summary of Pfizer’s clinical trial data will raise countless eyebrows. The whole process lasted a mere six months. This is the document that Pfizer submitted to the FDA to win approval for its vaccine. It beggars belief that Pfizer won the FDA’s emergency approval despite showing that the vaccine might prevent one (italics mine) Covid death in every 22,000 vaccine recipients. Peter McCullough: “Because the clinical trial showed that vaccines reduce absolute risk less than 1 percent, those vaccines can’t possibly influence epidemic curves. It’s mathematically impossible.” The Gates matrix Bill Gates – Teflon-protected by virtually all Western mainstream media – describes the operational philosophy of his foundation as “philantrocapitalism.” It’s more like strategic self-philantropy, as both the foundation’s capital and his net worth have been ballooning in style ($23 billion just during the 2020 lockdowns). The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation – “a nonprofit fighting poverty, disease and inequity around the world” – invests in multinational pharma, food, agriculture, energy, telecom and global tech companies. It exercises considerable de facto control over international health and agricultural agencies as well as mainstream media – as the Columbia Journalism Review showed in August 2020. Gates, without a graduate degree, not to mention medical school degree (like author Kennedy, it must be noted, whose training was as a lawyer), dispenses wisdom around the world as a health expert. The foundation holds corporate stocks and bonds in Pfizer, Merck, GSK, Novartis and Sanofi, among other giants, and substantial positions in Gilead, AstraZeneca and Moderna. The book delves in minute detail into how Gates controls the WHO (the largest direct donor: $604.2 million in 2018-2019, the latest available numbers). Already in 2011 Gates ordered: “All 183 member states, you must make vaccines a central focus of your health systems.” The next year, the World Health Assembly, which sets the WHO agenda, adopted a Global Vaccine Plan designed by – who else? – the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation. The Foundation also controls the Strategic Advisory Group of Experts (SAGE), the top advisory group to the WHO on vaccines, as well as the crucial GAVI Alliance (formerly the Global Alliance for Vaccines and Immunization), which is the second-largest donor to the WHO. GAVI is a Gates “public-private partnership” that essentially corrals bulk sales of vaccines from Big Pharma to poor nations. British Prime Minister Boris Johnson, only three month ago, proclaimed that “GAVI is the new NATO”. GAVI’s global HQ is in Geneva. Switzerland has given Gates full diplomatic immunity. Few in East and West know that it was Gates who in 2017 handpicked the WHO’s director general Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus – who brought no medical degree and a quite dodgy background. Dr Vandana Shiva, India’s leading human rights activist (routinely accused of being merely anti-vax), sums up: “Gates has hijacked the WHO and transformed it into an instrument of personal power that he wields for the cynical purpose of increasing pharmaceutical profits. He has single-handedly destroyed the infrastructure of public health globally. He has privatized our health systems and our food systems to serve his own purposes.” Gaming pandemics The book’s Chapter 12, Germ Games, may be arguably its most explosive, as it focuses on the US bioweapons and biosecurity apparatus, with a special mention to Robert Kadlec, who might claim leadership of the – contagious – logic according to which infectious disease poses a national security threat to the US, thus requiring a militarized response. The book argues that Kadlec, closely linked to spy agencies, Big Pharma, the Pentagon and assorted military contractors, is also linked to Fauci investments in “gain of function” experiments capable of engineering pandemic superbugs. Fauci strongly denies he’s promoted such experiments. Already in 1998 Kadlec had written an internal strategy paper for the Pentagon – though not for Fauci – promoting the role of pandemic pathogens as stealth weapons leaving no fingerprints. Since 2005 DARPA, which invented the internet by building the ARPANET in 1969, has funded biological weapons research. DARPA – call it the Pentagon’s angel investor – also developed the GPS, stealth bombers, weather satellites, pilotless drones, and that prodigy of combat, the M16 rifle. It’s important to remember that in 2017 DARPA funneled $6.5 million through Peter Daszak’s EcoHealth Alliance to fund “gain of function” work at the Wuhan lab, on top of gain of function experiments at Fort Detrick. EcoHealth Alliance was the organization through which Kadlec, Fauci and DARPA financed these gain of function experiments. DARPA also developed the GPS, stealth bombers, weather satellites, pilotless drones, and that prodigy of combat, the M16 rifle. In 2017 DARPA funneled $6.5 million through Peter Daszak’s EcoHealth Alliance to fund “gain of function” work at the Wuhan lab, on top of gain of function experiments at Fort Detrick. EcoHealth Alliance was the organization through which Kadlec, Fauci and DARPA financed these gain of function experiments, Few people know that DARPA also financed the key tech for the Moderna vaccine, starting way back in 2013. RFK Jr dutifully connects the Germ Games progress, starting with Dark Winter in 2001, which emphasized the Pentagon’s drive towards bioweapon vaccines (the code name was coined by Kadlec); the anthrax attack three weeks after 9/11; Atlantic Storm in 2003 and 2005, focused on the response to a terrorist attack unleashing smallpox; Global Mercury 2003; and Lockstep in 2010, which developed a scenario funded by the Rockefeller Foundation where we find this pearl: During the pandemic, national leaders around the world flexed their authority and imposed airtight rules and restrictions, from the mandatory wearing of face masks to body-temperature checks at the entries to communal spaces like train stations and supermarkets. Even after the pandemic faded, this more authoritarian control and oversight of citizens and their activities stuck and even intensified. In order to protect themselves from the spread of increasingly global problems – from pandemics and transnational terrorism to environmental crises and rising poverty – leaders around the world took a firmer grip on power. RFK Jr paints a picture in which, by mid-2017, the Rockefeller Foundation and US intel agencies had all but crowned Bill Gates as the top financier for the intel/military pandemic simulation business. Enter the MARS (Mountain Associated Respiratory Virus) simulation during the G20 in Germany in 2017. MARS was about a novel respiratory virus that spread out of busy markets in a mountainous border of an unnamed nation that looked very much like China. It gets curiouser and curiouser when one learns that MARS’s two moderators were very close to the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, and one of them, David Heymann, sat with the Moderna CEO on the Merieux Foundation USA Board. BioMerieux happens to be the French company that built the Wuhan lab. Big Pharma kisses Western intel Afterward came SPARS 2017 at the Johns Hopkins Center for Health Security. The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation happen to be major funders of the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health. SPARS 2017 gamed a coronavirus pandemic running from 2025 to 2028. As RFK Jr. notes, “the exercise turned out to be an eerily precise predictor of the Covid-19 pandemic.” By 2018 bioweapons expert Peter Daszak was enthroned as the key connector through whom Fauci, Kadlec, DARPA and USAID – which used to be a CIA cover and now reports to the National Security Council – moved grants to fund gain-of-function research, including at the Wuhan Institute of Virology Biosafety Lab. Crimson Contagion, overseen by Kadlec after eight months of planning, came in August 2019. Fauci was on board the self-described “functional exercise,” representing the NIH, alongside the CDC’s Robert Redfield and several members of the National Security Council. The war game was held in secret, nationwide. The After-Action Crimson Contagion Report only came out via a FOIA request. The star of the Gates pandemic show was undoubtedly Event 201 in October 2019, held only 3 weeks before US intel may – or may not – have suspected that Covid-19 was circulating in Wuhan. Event 201 was about a global coronavirus pandemic. RFK Jr. persuasively argues that Event 201 was as close as possible to a “real-time” simulation. The book’s Germ Games chapter leads the reader to acknowledge what mainstream media have simply refused to report: how the pervasive involvement of US (and UK) intel has a secretive – yet dominating – presence in the whole response to Covid-19. A very good example is the Wellcome Trust – the UK version of the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation – which is a spin-off of Big Pharma’s GlaxoSmith Kline. This epitomizes the marriage between Big Pharma and Western intel. The Wellcome Trust chair, from 2015 to 2020, used to be a former director general of MI5, Dame Eliza Manningham-Buller. She was also chair of the Imperial College since 2001. The “English Dr. Fauci,” Neil Ferguson, of the infamous, deadly wrong models that led to all lockdowns, was an epidemiologist working for the Wellcome Trust. These are only a few of the insights and connections woven through RFK Jr’s book. As a matter of public service, the whole lot should be available for popular scrutiny worldwide. These matters concern the whole planet, especially the Global South. Nobel laureate Luc Montaigner has noted how, “tragically for humanity, there are many, many untruths emanating from Fauci and his minions.” Even more tragic is what emanates from his masters. Tyler Durden Tue, 11/30/2021 - 23:45.....»»

Category: blogSource: zerohedgeDec 1st, 2021

Covid Woes And Supply Chain Issues Among The Drivers In FTSE Reshuffle

The FTSE All Share Index Quarterly Review is based on closing prices today and is due to be announced on Wednesday 1 December, with the changes effective after the close on Friday 17 December. Q3 2021 hedge fund letters, conferences and more A sparky performance by Electrocomponents pushes it into a prime position to move into […] The FTSE All Share Index Quarterly Review is based on closing prices today and is due to be announced on Wednesday 1 December, with the changes effective after the close on Friday 17 December. if (typeof jQuery == 'undefined') { document.write(''); } .first{clear:both;margin-left:0}.one-third{width:31.034482758621%;float:left;margin-left:3.448275862069%}.two-thirds{width:65.51724137931%;float:left}form.ebook-styles .af-element input{border:0;border-radius:0;padding:8px}form.ebook-styles .af-element{width:220px;float:left}form.ebook-styles .af-element.buttonContainer{width:115px;float:left;margin-left: 6px;}form.ebook-styles .af-element.buttonContainer input.submit{width:115px;padding:10px 6px 8px;text-transform:uppercase;border-radius:0;border:0;font-size:15px}form.ebook-styles .af-body.af-standards input.submit{width:115px}form.ebook-styles .af-element.privacyPolicy{width:100%;font-size:12px;margin:10px auto 0}form.ebook-styles .af-element.privacyPolicy p{font-size:11px;margin-bottom:0}form.ebook-styles .af-body input.text{height:40px;padding:2px 10px !important} form.ebook-styles .error, form.ebook-styles #error { color:#d00; } form.ebook-styles .formfields h1, form.ebook-styles .formfields #mg-logo, form.ebook-styles .formfields #mg-footer { display: none; } form.ebook-styles .formfields { font-size: 12px; } form.ebook-styles .formfields p { margin: 4px 0; } Get The Full Walter Schloss Series in PDF Get the entire 10-part series on Walter Schloss in PDF. Save it to your desktop, read it on your tablet, or email to your colleagues. (function($) {window.fnames = new Array(); window.ftypes = new Array();fnames[0]='EMAIL';ftypes[0]='email';}(jQuery));var $mcj = jQuery.noConflict(true); Q3 2021 hedge fund letters, conferences and more A sparky performance by Electrocomponents pushes it into a prime position to move into the FTSE 100. Dechra pharma, another FTSE 100 contender has clawed opportunity from the soaring popularity for pets. Cyber Security firm DarkTrace set to slip out of the FTSE 100 following a share slide as the lock-in IPO period ended. Johnson Matthey’s position in the FTSE 100 looks shaky after it abandoned its battery plans. Supply chain issues plague electrical retailer AO World as it looks set to slide from FTSE 250. Petershill Partners eyes up a FTSE 250 position and fresh acquisitions of private equity assets. Fresh Covid woes hit The Restaurant Group as it looks set to slide out of the FTSE 250. Susannah Streeter, senior investment and markets analyst, Hargreaves Lansdown summarises the runners and riders: Electrocomponents – Contender To Enter The FTSE 100 "The sparky performance by Electrocomponents plc (LON:ECM), with adjusted pre-tax profits up 91% for the first half of the year, has led to a surge in its share price, pushing it into a prime position to move into FTSE 100 territory. The vast range of industrial and electronics products held by the distributor is partly behind its success, as well as its smooth online operations fulfilling the lucrative business-to-business segment. It’s not been immune from higher transport and labour costs, and global supply chain issues, but it appears to have deftly managed its inventory and kept margins intact. Although there are likely to be further cost pressures ahead, Electrocomponents appears in a robust position, particularly given that demand for electrical parts shows little sign of waning." Dechra Pharma - Contender To Enter The FTSE 100 "Dechra Pharmaceuticals plc (LON:DPH) has clawed opportunity from the soaring popularity for pets during the pandemic. Its share price has bounded upwards and it is a prime contender to take a walk into the FTSE 100. With so many more people working from home, it’s been an ideal opportunity to settle in a new furry friend and Dechra is in the business of keeping them healthy throughout their lifetimes. Demand for the pharmaceutical company’s veterinary products has been strong, with full year results showing pre-tax profits almost doubling. There is a risk that with incomes facing a squeeze from rising inflation, spending per head could decline, so there could be headwinds to navigate. But other results from pet orientated companies indicate that demand for pets doesn’t seem to be falling away, which bodes well for future revenues streams." Darktrace – Likely To Be Demoted From The FTSE 100 "Cyber security firm Darktrace PLC (LON:DARK) made a stealthy entry into the top-flight at the last reshuffle, but it’s a leading contender to leave the blue chip index given that shares have fallen by 52% since reaching a record high in September. This appears to be down to the end of the lock-up period following its IPO, with big chunks of new shares flooding the market prompting the falls. Darktrace is not alone in being a former IPO darling, now experiencing the pain of a rapid deceleration in its share price. Its successful launch in the spring was seen as a coup for the London market, and if it exits the top-flight it will leave a big tech gap in the FTSE 100. However, given ongoing growth reported by the company and some pretty upbeat trading updates, it may not stay outside the top-flight for long.  There is growing demand for sophisticated technology to counter the growing armies of cyber criminals and Darktrace uses AI to scan regular business operations and detect tiny irregularities, providing an early warning system of cyber-attacks. The ongoing shift to digital is likely to keep opening up new opportunities and markets for Darktrace as firms scale up their operations to meet demand, whilst trying to ensure their systems stay secure." Johnson Matthey – Likely To Be Demoted From The FTSE 100 "Investors are clearly worried about Johnson Matthey PLC (LON:JMAT)’s strategy for the future and amid this uncertainty, the company risks sliding out of the FTSE 100. The engineering company’s decision to abandon plans to become a battery supplier by selling off its eLNO business saw shares slide, because this appeared to be JMAT’s answer to the shift towards electric vehicles and away from combustion engines, for which it makes catalytic converters. Management says it will focus on other potential growth avenues, but ultimately the group will be starting from scratch as it looks for new opportunities alongside the new greener auto industry. Although catalytic converters won’t be rendered obsolete immediately, the clock is ticking and as the transition to electric vehicles speeds up, Johnson Matthey will need to quickly find a new sense of direction." AO World – Likely To Be Demoted From The FTSE 250 "Online electrical retailer AO World PLC (LON:AO) was well set up to capitalise on the accelerated shift to e-commerce during the first stages of the pandemic, with profits soaring as demand for white goods and IT equipment bounded higher. But the company has come down to earth with a bump, falling to a £10 million half year loss, sending shares plummeting, and this dramatic reversal of fortunes is likely to see it kicked out of the FTSE 250. Its rapid growth seems to have been part of the problem, given that it hasn’t had as much time to build up deep relationships with suppliers, so when the supply crunch hit for electrical goods, it was lower down on the list of priorities. Higher labour and transport costs exacerbated by the shortage of drivers have also dented margins, given that it’s so reliant on its delivery network to make sales and provide after care. A quick turnaround is unlikely given that the company has warned that the crucial Christmas trading period will be tough, with supply chain issues lingering, so AO World may find it hard to climb back up the ladder into FTSE 250 territory for some time." The Restaurant Group – Likely To Be Demoted From The FTSE 250 "As fears about the Omicron variant swirl, there are fresh concerns that restrictions could be tightened on hospitality firms and The Restaurant Group PLC (LON:RTN) hasn’t escaped this fresh round of volatility. Although shares are up marginally today, they have fallen by 35% over the past month as investors worry that despite a big round of cost cutting and the slimming down of its restaurant footprint, a big bounce back in fortunes remains elusive.  Although its star brand Wagamama is dishing out fast food as fast as it can make it to crowds queuing outside restaurants or ordering in from home, its airport concessions arm has struggled with a 53% fall in like-for-like sales at the last quarterly reading, as tourism has been slow to recover. Like many other firms in the sector the company is also facing the challenges of higher costs and wage pressures, amid a shortage of staff and those problems look set to linger." Provident Financial - Contender For The FTSE 250 "Provident Financial plc (LON:PFG), the sub-prime firm known for specialising in credit cards, online loans and consumer car finance is likely to gain a foothold in the FTSE 250 after its valuation recovered as it’s pivoted the business. The company called time on its doorstep lending business earlier this year as part of its attempt to climb out of a financial black hole, after being forced to pay compensation for mis-selling its products. Shifting its business model away from riskier high interest loans towards a mid-cost credit model is now more of a focus for the company and it’s a direction of travel investors have embraced. Although the shine has come off the share price in recent days, which may be partly due to fears that if the new variant leads to another downturn, the potential for bad loans could increase, shares are still up by 41% over the past six months." Petershill Partners – Contender For The FTSE 250 "Petershill Partners PLC (LON:PHLL) only started trading on the London Stock Exchange in September but already it’s a leading contender to step into the FTSE 250. Petershill owns minority stakes in a range of alternative asset managers such as venture capital firms and private equity companies, many of which had been managed by Goldman Sachs for a decade or more.  Assets under management at the investment firm increased by 8% in the third quarter, and it has its eye on fresh prizes with new acquisitions being sized up. Petershill has capitalised on the hunger for private equity investments in an era of ultra-low rates, enabling firms to borrow cheaply to finance takeovers.  With an increase in interest rates looming there is a risk that appetite for such assets may wane, and that might partly account for a slight nudging downwards in the share price over the past month." About Hargreaves Lansdown Over 1.67 million clients trust us with £138.0 billion (as at 30 September 2021), making us the UK’s number one platform for private investors. More than 98% of client activity is done through our digital channels and over 600,000 access our mobile app each month. Updated on Nov 30, 2021, 12:19 pm (function() { var sc = document.createElement("script"); sc.type = "text/javascript"; sc.async = true;sc.src = "//mixi.media/data/js/95481.js"; sc.charset = "utf-8";var s = document.getElementsByTagName("script")[0]; s.parentNode.insertBefore(sc, s); }()); window._F20 = window._F20 || []; _F20.push({container: 'F20WidgetContainer', placement: '', count: 3}); _F20.push({finish: true});.....»»

Category: blogSource: valuewalkNov 30th, 2021

Will New Jabs Be Necessary To Fight Omicron? Here Is Goldman"s Answer

Will New Jabs Be Necessary To Fight Omicron? Here Is Goldman's Answer Over the weekend, Goldman Sachs' analysts slammed the latest round of variant hysteria and insisted that the omicron variant will likely be remembered as a laughable sideshow, not unlike "Delta-plus". By Sunday night, the word had spread - don't fall for the latest round of COVID variant FUD. It's just one more tool for the Biden Administration and Dr. Anthony Fauci to push their own agenda while trying to frighten Americans into getting both the original jabs and their booster. In its latest note, the Goldman team started by ticking off a bunch of new stats about omicron that millions of Americans can probably site by memory at this point. The variant is roughly ~50 mutations, with ~30 on the Spike protein and ~10 on the receptor binding domain. A map of omicron's mutations shows that the variant has several attributes believed to promote immune escape. However, this doesn't necessarily guarantee that the variant will eventually replace delta as the most pervasive variant in the world. After mapping out four market-moving scenarios, Goldman is taking three parallel approaches to addressing the omicron variant from the perspective of Moderna, maker of the second most-popular American COVID jab (after the Pfizer-BioNTech jab, of course). Should the authorized 50μg booster dose of Spikevax prove insufficient to boost waning immunity against Omicron, with data on the first two expected in the coming weeks, the company is trying to 1) evaluating whether a higher dose booster of Spikevax (100 μg) can neutralize the variant, 2) studying two multi-valent booster candidates (mRNA-1273.211, which includes several mutations in Omicron also present in the Beta variant and mRNA-1273.213, which includes many mutations also present in the Beta and Delta variants) in the clinic. As Goldman prepares to host Stephane Bancel at a summit for clients set for tomorrow, the analysts note that releasing an omicron specific booster isn't the only way to conquer this new strain. After all, it has only infected less than 200 people so far. Offering faint praise for Moderna, Goldman said the flexibility of the mRNA platform would support a swift transition to produce a new formulation of the vaccine if needed. Moderna's CEO Stephane Bancel reiterated during his latest round of interviews that his company is poised to produce another round of vaccines within months - that is, if the world still cares about omicron three months from now. Bancel's eagerness to speak to perceived faults in his company's breakthrough vaccine is actually self-serving; one order from the US government for a bloc of millions of new omicron-focused vaccines might be Moderna's best chance at meeting Wall Street's lofty sales projections. Since we can't always trust Bancel's warnings about the short-comings of his own vaccine (given the overwhelming need to talk his own book outweighing the public's health), how can the public determine whether a new round of shots are necessary? Well, it looks like Goldman has some answers about the "regulatory path forward". First, Moderna's Spikevax is authorized as a booster for multiple populations at the 50μg dose level and MRNA is working to test the ability of the current vaccine dose to neutralize the Omicron variant with data from in vitro neutralization assay experiments expected in the coming weeks. Recall, in similar in vitro experiments performed for other variant strains, when compared to the ancestral strain (Wuhan), one week after the participants’ second dose of the primary series the Delta variant led to a 2.1-fold reduction in neutralizing titers, and a 7.3 or 8.4-fold reduction in neutralizing titers occurred with versions of the Beta variant relative to the ancestral strain. This level of reduction in neutralizing titers led MRNA to begin development of a booster candidate (mRNA-1273.351) against both the Wuhan strain and the Beta variant. MRNA is evaluating three different approaches should the currently authorized 50μg booster dose of Spikevax (mRNA-1273) prove insufficient to boost waning immunity against the Omicron variant. In vitro studies will be performed to evaluate whether sera from vaccinated individuals from its high-dose booster (100ug of Spikevax) can neutralize Omicron. Recall, MRNA has completed dosing of 306 participants in a safety and immunogenicity study of the high dose booster. Studying two multi-valent booster candidates in the clinic that MRNA designed to anticipate mutations such as those that have emerged in the Omicron variant. The first candidate (mRNA-1273.211) includes several mutations present in the Omicron variant that were also present in the Beta VOC, and MRNA has completed dosing in a potentially pivotal safety and immunogenicity study of mRNA-1273.211 at the 50 μg (N=300) and 100 μg (N=584) dose levels. A second multi-valent candidate (mRNA-1273.213) includes many of the mutations present in the Omicron variant that were also present in the Beta and Delta variants, and MRNA has completed dosing at the 100μg (N=584) dose level and also plans to evaluate the 50 μg dose level in ~584 participants. MRNA will expand testing of sera from completed and ongoing multi-valent booster studies to determine if these candidates can provide superior neutralizing protection against Omicron. Advance an Omicron-specific booster candidate (mRNA-1273.529), within the existing strategy to advance variant-specific candidates for a subset of variants of significant concern. MRNA noted its precedence advance new candidates to clinical testing in 60-90 days. Goldman continues: Should an Omicron-specific vaccine be necessary, an outstanding question on the forward will be whether it should be administered as a booster or as a primary series, which MRNA expects will be discussed with regulators and which we expect to be informed by data that has yet to be generated and emerging epidemiology. On the approval process for an Omicon-specific vaccine, MRNA noted two potential scenarios at the discretion of regulators: 1) while there is no established correlate of protection (COP) based on neutralizing antibody levels, evidence of a COP is emerging based on studying breakthrough cases, which may support a regulatory path forward; 2) through an immunobridging study, whereby MRNA would need to demonstrate that the neutralizing antibody titer levels are at the same level (or higher) than levels observed in the Ph3 COVE study of Spikevax. How will this impact MRNA’s manufacturing? MRNA is producing vaccine at scale and anticipates it would take on the order from a few weeks to one-two months to switch over production to a novel formulation of the vaccine. Similar to Spikevax, production capacity will largely depend on whether an Omicron-specific vaccine would be administered as a booster or a primary series. Interestingly, in an endemic market, MRNA anticipates demand for a lower number of doses per vial (~5 doses), noting glasswear is currently a limiting factor for supply. If Omicron necessitated that the population receive a new vaccine, the vaccine could be supplied in a 10-dose vial as it is now, in which case supply may be greater than current capacity. What do we model for? We model for FY22 vaccine revenue of $29.5bn per ~2bn doses (guidance of 2bn-3bn)and our COVID-19 vaccine revenue stream in 2023+ ($10.5bn per year) serves as a proxy for a COVID-19, flu or combination respiratory viral vaccine incorporating both. Valuation: Our 12-month price target of $395 is based on a blended 50% DCF value of $411 and 50% value of $378 based on a 13x P/E multiple (mean multiple for large US pharma) applied to our FY22(75%)/FY23(25%) EPS forecasts. Our 13x target P/E multiple is in line with the mean consensus multiple assigned to large pharma, which we believe is appropriate given MRNA’s platform and growth profile. For our DCF value, we continue to employ a 10% WACC and 6% TGR. Downside risks: Clinical/technology setbacks, failure of mRNA medicines to achieve the expected safety profile, failure to demonstrate clinical proof of concept across the remaining modalities, failure to successfully develop mRNA medicines across modalities or achieve the projected commercial profile, physician/payer pushback on use and coverage, approval of competitor drugs, regulatory headwinds, IP risk, manufacturing difficulties and financing/dilution. Tyler Durden Tue, 11/30/2021 - 14:49.....»»

Category: blogSource: zerohedgeNov 30th, 2021