19 (at Least!) of TIME Magazine’s 50 Most Influential Healthcare People Have Biopharma Ties
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TIME Magazine came out with a list of the 50 most influential people in healthcare, dubbed The Health Care 50. A look through the list shows just how many ties and connections—as well as influence—this group has on the biopharma industry. Here’s a look at the 19 from the list BioSpace finds of particular note to our readership.
Bill and Melinda Gates. Of course, The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation funds a variety of health care initiatives and even biotech research projects. But in June 2018, the Foundation spun off a biotech company called The Bill & Melinda Gates Medical Research Institute (MRI), located in Boston. It will be focused on vaccines.
Scott Gottlieb. As President Trump’s Commissioner of the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA), Gottlieb has seemed to be much more front-and-center than most FDA commissioners. The agency is taking on the industry head-on with President Trump’s “blueprint” that will attempt to drive down drug prices.
Maura Healey. Healey’s connection to the biopharma industry is not a popular one, although probably not in the Trump Administration, either. She is the attorney general of the State of Massachusetts. As such, she has fought the administration’s “gag rule,” arguing that it limits access to reproductive health care. But Massachusetts is also the first state to sue Purdue Pharma, maker of OxyContin, for its role in the opioid crisis.
Valter Longo. Longo is the director of the Longevity Institute at the University of Southern California. His particular project is how fasting, along with low-protein, plant-based diets hep with longevity.
James P. Allison and Tasuku Honjo. Allison and Honjo received the 2018 Nobel Prize in Medicine for their work on immuno-oncology. Honjo, with Kyoto University in Japan, is credited with discovering the PD-1 protein that is expressed on T-cells. Allison, with the MD Anderson Cancer Center, studied T-cell protein CTLA-4, developing an antibody that bound to CTLA-4 and blocked its function.
Orrin Devinsky. Devinsky is a researcher at NYU Langone Medical Center’s Comprehensive Epilepsy Center. His research there proved that purified CBD, a compound in marijuana, reduced patients’ seizure frequencies without the resultant high. He led GW Pharmaceuticals’ clinical trials for Epidiolex, which is the first FDA-approved marijuana-derived drug.
Helmy Eltoukhy and AmirAli Talasaz. Eltouky is the chief executive officer and Talasaz is the president and chief operating officer of Guardant Health. The company is a leader in the new field of liquid biopsies for early diagnosis of cancer.
Sean Harper. Sean Harper is the former head of Research & Development at Amgen. As such, he oversaw the development of numerous drugs, including Repatha for cholesterol and Aimovig for migraine. He announced his departure from Amgen in July. In September he announced he was launching a biotech venture capital fund, Westlake Village BioPartners, with Beth Seidenberg, former chief medical officer and head of global development at Amgen.
Shoukhrat Mitalipov. Mitalipov is the Principal Investigator at Oregon Health & Science University (OHSU)’s Center for Embryonic Cell and Gene Therapy. In 2017, he utilized CRISPR gene editing to fix a genetic mutation that caused heart disease in human embryos.
David Sinclair. Sinclair is a professor of Genetics in the Department of Genetics at Harvard Medical School. His work has been on age-related decline, longevity and their underlying biological processes. According to TIME, Sinclair is “testing a pill that appears to address and even reverse some of the typical signs of aging, including higher blood pressure, weight gain and slower metabolism—at least in mice.”
Steffanie Strathdee. Strathdee is the associate dean of Global Health Sciences in the Department of Medicine at the University of California, San Diego (UCSD) School of Medicine, and adjunct professor at the Johns Hopkins and Simon Fraser Universities. Her focus is on infectious disease epidemiology. In June 2018, she launched the Center for Innovative Phage Applications and Therapeutics, to focus on treatments for drug-resistant pathogens.
Tony Wyss-Coray. Wyss-Coray is a professor of Neurology & Neurological Sciences at Stanford. He has also co-founded a biotech company, Alkahest. His work has been on using the blood from younger mice to improve the cognition in older mice. Alkahest is working to test the theory in early Alzheimer’s patients. It has two products in its pipeline, ALK6019 and ALK4290, being evaluated in Alzheimer’s disease, Parkinson’s disease, macular degeneration, dementia and neurocognitive and inflammatory diseases.
Atul Gawande. Gawanda was announced in June as the chief executive officer of Warren Buffet, Jeff Bezos and Jamie Dimon’s joint healthcare venture. The venture has a goal of cutting healthcare costs. Between the three industry leaders, who run Berkshire Hathaway, Amazon and JP Morgan Chase, they have close to 1.2 million employees worldwide. Any strategies that Gawande comes up with that work are likely to echo through the industry.
Sean Parker. Best known for his involvement with Napster and Facebook, Parker founded the Parker Institute for Cancer Immunotherapy. Among many things the Parker Institute is involved in, in January 2018 it was part of a Series A financing of $100 million for Tmunity Therapeutics.
Yonatan Adiri. Adiri founded Health.io, which received FDA approval for Dip.io, an app that uses a smartphone camera into a clinical-grade diagnostic device. Dip.io can read a urinalysis dipstick, which allows consumers to take urine tests remotely.
Divya Nag. Nag founded StartX Med, Stanford University and Stanford Hospital’s non-profit medical innovation program, which has raised over $400 million. In 2014, she joined Apple’s Special Projects group. Her group developed ResearchKit, an open-source app developer for doctors and researchers to share patient results and clinical data.
Todd Pope. Pope is the president and chief executive officer of TransEnterix, a medical device company that, the company says, “is digitizing the interface between surgeons and patients to improve minimally invasive surgery.” Last year the company’s Senhance Surgical System was approved by the FDA to perform minimally invasive gynecological and colorectal procedures.
Anne Wojcicki. Wojcicki is the chief executive officer of 23andMe. In March, the FDA approved the company’s first-ever direct-to-consumer genetic test for cancer risk. And in July, the company inked a four-year collaboration deal with GlaxoSmithKline that will combine 23andMe’s large-scale genetic resources and data science with GSK’s medical expertise and commercialization skills.