Treating ‘Undruggable’ Diseases; Plus, Omicron In Europe

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Last week, Forbes held its annual Power Women’s Summit, and among the speakers at the event was Walgreens CEO Rosalind Brewer, who spoke to Forbes executive vice president Moira Forbes about her career. Most of her advice was directed towards leaders and managers in general rather than the healthcare industry specifically, but it’s still advice that bears repeating. One important piece of counsel is to make sure that high-level leaders are engaging with younger managers in a way that encourages collaboration.

“Pick someone out in the room,” she said. “Create a healthy conversation. Mix it up. Create agile teams that wouldn’t normally be in the room together having conversations so then everybody feels a little awkward. Not just that one young new hire.”

This Biotech Company Raised $40 Million To Develop Treatments For ‘Undruggable’ Diseases

Totus Medicines has come out of stealth with a technology that could enable it to treat cancers with known targets but no specific drugs. The first target it’s going after is the PI3Kα oncogene, which is implicated in a wide variety of cancers. The company plans to take its drug candidate, TOS-358, into clinical trials in 2022 after getting good preclinical results in the lab. Read more here.


Noteworthy

Centene chief executive Michael Neidorff will retire next year and a new board will be created to oversee the health insurer as part of a deal with Politan Capital Management.

A dip in healthcare costs for employees came in the form of lower deductibles and co-pays this year thanks to the tight labor market, according to a new analysis by benefits consultancy Mercer.

Researchers have discovered a method of growing insulin-producing pancreatic cells from stem cells, which could prove to be a long-term cure for Type-1 diabetes.

New studies found that of the “Big Five” personality traits, the two that are most important for healthcare professionals are conscientiousness and agreeableness. 

Coronavirus Updates

The United States has now reported over 800,000 deaths from Covid-19 as of today, with the states of Mississippi and Alabama showing the highest death rates, and cases continue to rise across the country. This is also true in Europe, where cases have been rising (the United Kingdom reported a record for new cases in a single day). While cases had already been rising in that continent due to the delta variant, the omicron variant is also spreading quickly. Public health officials estimate that by mid-January, the variant will be dominant in the European Union. 


As Omicron Spreads, Digital Vaccine Passes Are Rolling Out Fast Across The U.S.

Vaccine verification has become a bigger part of travel, just as the country braces for a massive Covid wave expected to peak in January. Here’s how states are adopting digital verification programs. Read more here.

Other Coronavirus News

Two more Broadway shows have canceled performances due to breakthrough Covid-19 cases in their companies.

Police in Germany carried out raids at several locations as part of an investigation into alleged murder threats made by anti-vaccination activists against the state’s premier and other officials.

European pharma heavyweights Sanofi and GlaxoSmithKline announced their Covid-19 vaccine will be delayed until 2022 to complete a clinical trial, adding the shot works as a booster.

The U.S. Navy will begin the potentially months-long process of separating active-duty sailors who have not been vaccinated against Covid-19. 

NIAID Director Dr. Anthony Fauci said there is no need to develop a Covid-19 vaccine tailored to combat the omicron variant, as existing boosters appear to provide protection against it.

Pfizer and Moderna’s Covid-19 vaccines are much less effective at preventing infection of senior citizens with the delta coronavirus variant and protection fades rapidly four months after the second dose, more evidence that booster shots are likely needed for enduring protection.

Across Forbes

For The First Time, NASA ‘Touches’ The Sun

Meet The Billionaire Robot Overlord Reinventing Walmart’s Warehouses

2021 Forbes Holiday Gift Guide: An A-To-Z List Of Letter-Perfect Presents

What Else We are Reading

Will we always need Covid-19 boosters? Experts have theories (Stat)

Ten people who helped shape science in 2021 (Nature)

Eli Lilly promises five new approvals in next two years with Alzheimer’s at the forefront (Endpoints News)

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