💊 WHO fires racist Regional Director; J&J fires med-tech employees; Japanese researchers fire mum
#293 | Targeting brain tumours; Explaining sickness behaviours; Quashing gender parity rumours
Hello, and welcome back to another edition of The Kable for all the life sciences news you need this fine Thursday. Scratch that; it’s not really fine, considering all the reports of layoffs, racism and gender disparity pouring in.
Layoff season shows no signs of abating, with J&J saying bye-bye to about 350 of its California employees in the surgical robotics space. And this is supposedly just a fraction of all planned job cuts.
In its second deal of the month, Novartis is teaming up with Japan’s Teijin Pharma in an exclusive global agreement to research, develop, manufacture and commercialise Teijin’s proteinuric kidney disease candidate.
Meanwhile, Merck & Co. is entering a worldwide licensing agreement for a nanoparticle vaccine candidate for the Epstein-Barr virus with Opko Health’s ModeX Therapeutics.
Additionally, in an interesting healthcare and retail collaboration, Best Buy’s new partnership with Atrium Health hopes to bring hospital-at-home and telehealth services together with remote patient monitoring.
If you wanted some not-so-light reading to keep you busy this weekend, the 10th volume of The Lancet Regional Health Southeast Asia is out. It includes pieces on topics ranging from intimate partner violence in India to the cannabis policy in Thailand. It also has studies on diabetes and blood pressure in Bangladesh and Covid-19 sequelae in healthcare workers.
And finally, in one layoff we won’t complain about, the WHO has terminated the employment of Dr Takeshi Kasai, the Regional Director for the Western Pacific region, after an internal probe reported findings of misconduct. This is a first in the WHO’s history and it comes after staff allegations of racist, abusive and unethical behaviour from Kasai. But we suppose some misconduct is worse than others and some perpetrators more guilty: where were such consequences in earlier reports of sexual abuse and exploitation in WHO programmes?