Silicon Valley Eats its Own

Accelerated by twitter alerts advising venture investors to pull their cash, the Silicon Valley Bank in Santa Clara collapsed and was taken over by the FDIC on Friday. Tech Brahmans on the All In” Podcast (the podcast I love to hate) went into full-on panic, calling it a “Lehman-sized event” and demanding that the government  step in. (See @DavidSacks feed for opinions on whether government support for venture banking is socialism).

We’ll soon see whether the #SVBcollapse causes bank runs elsewhere, but fortunately, cooler heads are running the Treasury and the Fed (IMHO). The real tragedy will be that investors may be less likely to support new ventures. Fortunately, EpiVax Therapeutics has founders that are committed to making personalized cancer vaccines available to the world. 

Kissing Kyoto Goodbye!

Sarah, Brian and I just returned from a wonderful trip to the latest TIDES Asia  conference in the beautiful city of Kyoto 🏯.  I was invited to give a talk on lessons learned over 25 (often crazy!) years working on immunogenicity, tolerance, and computational immunology.

Brian presented a great summary of our work on Calcitonin and Teriparatide (with the FDA OGD crew), called “A Tale of Two Peptides‘. Sarah (first trip to Japan!) presented a poster on in silico methods for assessing the immunogenicity of peptides containing unnatural amino acids (UAA’s).

We had a such great time in Kyoto! Our friend Hiroaki Suga introduced us to amazing chef Hashi Syuji at “Osen” (Obanzai restaurant, highly recommend), where Sarah had her first real (as in Japanese) sushi and tried some delicious sake for the first time (she liked it!).  Not only does Suga-sensei know his sushi joints but he is a true, humble genius (see latest peptide dreams review) and he just won the Wolf prize in Chemistry! Congrats, Suga! And thank you Kyoto! We’re already looking for a reason to go back! 😊


Elon Musk’s Weight Loss Drug

What Elon wants Elon gets, I guess.  Corey Iacono (my right hand man for the newsletter these days) came across this generic peptide story recently and I think you should know about it too! Semaglutide (Ozempic), is a critically important medication indicated regulating blood sugar levels in Type II diabetes. A TikTok trend is sky-rocketing sales of Ozempic, making it hard for diabetics to obtain the medication. Apparently, off-label use of the drug is a trendy way to shed weight if you can afford the $1,000/mo price tag. 

Elon Musk has credited Ozempic with his weight loss, while everyday people with diabetes aren’t able to access it, due to shortagesMaybe Elon could start running (for real) instead of running Twitter into the ground. Just a thought! At least the price of insulin is coming down, Thanks Joe B.! Meanwhile, learn more about Liraglutide (Ozempic) impurities from Brian Roberts on his upcoming AAPS webinar.