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Trump’s ultimatum, RADx & preclinical IPOs: a BioCentury podcast

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President Donald Trump’s ultimatum to biopharma CEOs to work with him on drug pricing hit its first hurdle when the executives declined an offer to meet at the White House on Tuesday. On the latest edition of the BioCentury This Week podcast, BioCentury editors handicap the chances of success for the Trump administration’s latest drug pricing initiatives, as well as how the U.S. aims to bolster its COVID-19 diagnostic capability and the recent surge of IPOs by preclinical companies.

Washington Editor Steve Usdin analyzes a set of executive orders signed Friday by President Trump that seek to reduce drug costs. Usdin says the measures -- which include the reference pricing scheme, and initiatives to require Medicare Part D plans and pharmacy benefit managers (PBMs) to pass rebates to consumers at the point of sale, to authorize importation programs, and to create a discount program for insulin and EpiPens -- would take months to go into effect and could be further delayed or blocked by litigation or legislation (see “Trump Issues Drug Pricing Ultimatum”; “Biopharma Boycotts”).

Associate Editor Karen Tkach Tuzman discusses how the U.S. government is taking non-conventional paths to point-of-care and pooled technologies in its push to bulk up and speed up the country’s strained COVID-19 testing capacity. One initiative, NIH’s Rapid Acceleration of Diagnostics (RADx) program, hopes to expand testing capacity so that by December, 6 million people -- or 2% of U.S. population -- can be tested per day, with additional tests in reserve. Tkach Tuzman assessed the initative in detail in a July 24 story in BioCentury (see “Fast-tracking Point-of-care, Pooled Tech”).

Turning to the capital markets, BioCentury Editor in Chief Simone Fishburn discusses the takeaways from BioCentury’s recent analysis of preclinical IPO performance since the window opened eight years ago. With a dozen preclinical companies having already gone public this year -- more than any year so far -- Fishburn says increasing appetite for risk among investors as well as the shorter time to clinical proof of concept have catalyzed the offerings by earlier stage companies (see “Preclinical IPOs Attracting Big Money”).

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