Archive

Posts Tagged ‘news’

in their own words: the real Sequenom story from April 2009

so I finally ran across the Sequenom, Inc. Q1 2009 Earnings Call Transcript from April 29, 2009 via another Google Finance Discussion message.  first and foremost, it looks like the SEC investigation may not be as bad of an omen as i’d initially thought..

We have alerted the SEC and we will keep them apprised of our actions. We have also informed the FDA and will continue to follow any recommendations they may have for us.

but on the other end of things, parts of this discussion between director, president/ceo, and cfo of sequenom with a bunch of analysts.. are rather amusing

Bob HodgsonBlackRock, Inc.

Maybe I guess as part of your investigation, clearly these people, these four people, one or more of them had some kind of financial incentive to falsify or otherwise quote mishandle the data. The question is what the ties are there and trying to figure out how much money you guys are going to burn. In fact, you may in fact have some liability on this with respect to if there was any patient activities that were based upon the results of these tests.

Harry Stylli

I believe you are speculating. Okay? On both the employee aspect as well as the patients. No data was revealed to patients. For example, we were in a clinical study mode where the patient identity is blinded. The information is not used for that patient. Patients were simply supplying us with a tube or two or three of blood anonymously, okay? Now as to the other points that you are trying to get to, again, I don’t want to reiterate this, but really I believe a lot will come to light once the independent committee concludes its actions and reports.

feelings are hard to figure out in text, but a response like that clearly shows the guy flustered.

but in general, looks like they’re looking for about a 1000 new samples (or were at that point, who knows what’s going on now), and are attempting to validate their trisomy 21 test by looking at more markers, with a commercial test aimed at being released Q4 of this year. hmm… let’s see what data you have in your peer-review submissions first…

the analysts continue to harass and get the truth out…

Jerry KalmatosTrifund

Yes. Hi. Thanks for taking the question. My question surrounded similar questions from before. You really didn’t answer them but most of the data, would you used the word “mishandled”. Would you say that “falsified” is too strong a word? Were there mistakes made scientifically on the assay part of it? Or do you think data was falsified on purpose? What exactly do you think happened?

Harry Stylli

I would like to answer those questions, but again, I have got to respect the other committee until it concludes its analysis.

and, as an ending note, before my 400 word limit copyright issue thing expires.. looks like they still have their original goals in mind, which is still, in my mind, ridiculously cool, if it works, and if its more accurate at diagnosis than screening:

Harry Stylli

We are actually very confident about our core technology. And we just believe we have had a little setback here. We always like to leave the door open to interesting ideas. We are interested in developing noninvasive prenatal tests or diagnostics irrespective of the technology type. But I want to reiterate that we are very confident about the potential of our core cell free fetal technology.

sure sure. it may not be truly “diagnostic” in the way medical professionals think diagnostic, but if it exists as an unhappy medium between AFP screening and prenatal diagnostics, its still another medium, another option, and more options aren’t always a bad thing.

shoutout to Seeking Alpha for providing the transcript. link to the original page is up top.

Advertisements

respect to the MoD

i’ve always really respected the work that March of Dimes does and look up to their organization – both in terms of what they provide patients and providers in terms of information and resources, but also the position they hold in promoting ethically conscious decision making to prospective, expecting or new parents. just a few weeks ago, during a branch meeting, i showed a short, 5-min video by MoD that’s meant to introduce parents to newborn screening for a materials evaluation. needless to say, everyone had great things to say about the video and the many different places in which this simple video could be used effectively.

however, what’s more exciting is recent news of the MOD warning consumers about the risks of DTC Genetic testing and they’ve recently put up a new page on their website:  At-Home Genetic Tests: What You Should Know. absolutely a breath of fresh air coming from those wonderful people over in New York:

When it comes to your health and your baby’s health, your health care provider is the best person to help you decide what genetic test, if any, is right for you and your baby.

not to be rude or anything, but damn right! honestly, i am so pleased to finally see such a large and respected organization put the facts out there, in as simple a way as possible, in a manner that is beneficial for consumers/parents/patients, non-genetics professionals, and even genetics professionals who may be less familiar with the DTC trends going on currently.

a news desk article on their website continues:

Women are particularly vulnerable during pregnancy to sales pitches that play on a new mom’s fear and guilt.  Companies that offer the tests say they can predict a baby’s future height or athletic ability, or can assess the future risk of cancer, diabetes, Parkinson disease, or obesity.  The March of Dimes believes consumers should be very cautious before spending the money — and risking their privacy — on such tests.

once again, just making the same warning everyone else has been, but it’s nice hearing it from march of dimes. oooh i really do heart them. and their nifty booklets/paphlets/cheat-sheets they put out for providers that have all newborn or carrier screening info you’d ever want.

read more about it:

http://news.prnewswire.com/ViewContent.aspx?ACCT=109&STORY=/www/story/07-08-2009/0005056605&EDATE=

via

http://www.genomeweb.com/blog/blasting-dtc-genetic-dx-shops-march-dimes-statement-may-drive-more-people-use-cl

23andMe not-a-BLIMP! (apparently it’s a Zeppelin)

23andMe Blimp! Just look at it!

23andMe Not-a-Blimp! Just look at it! (not my pic)

So on my way to work today, driving across from 880 to Westbound 80, avoiding the Bay Bridge toll plaza, I saw a pair of chromosomes from my onramp in oakland that I knew immediately belonged to the 23andMe logo. Nevertheless, these were on a not-a-blimp! I tried to take a snapshot on my phone, but sadly, resolution wasn’t so great and  the not-a-blimp was out of my driving trajectory, but a quick search online and lo and behold, there definitely is a 23andMe not-a-blimp!

Talk about aggressive marketing! This is taking the DTC part of personal genomics waaayyyy beyond what I had expected. Sure, trendy spit parties at fashion week that make the Times is one thing, but a not-a-blimp to harass SF commuters? C’mon. Personal genomics is not something that can be sold as a simple commodity. The procedures, risks, and implications of it can be serious, and by advertising the service as though it was a movie or typical commercial product is tricking those that are less genetically literate (unfamiliar in complex genetics) into thinking that this is just  for fun.

According to Alex Hall, CEO of Airship Ventures, via ChubbyBrain

While blimps can also do advertising, the Zeppelin is 50ft larger than any of them and can provide unique promotional opportunities…

I can only speculate how much this costs in advertising. Sure, the previous contract was with Disney-Pixar promoting UP, very appropriate, especially in the Bay Area. But personal genomics?

http://www.airshipventures.com/tours-promos.php

Airship Ventures even has a time-lapse Youtube video they just posted of the application of the 23andMe logo that was uploaded yesterday.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mho_x9Z1Na8

UPDATE:

After a bit more digging, and not to be offensive, there’s something strangely incestuous about the relationship between Google, 23andMe (which you already knew), and this Airship Ventures company. A relationship that involves founders, mothers, board members (i.e. 23andMe cofounder’ s mother, back in october of last year, writes a travelogue promoting Airship Ventures (links below). Airship Ventures’ major investor is 23andMe’s first listed board member, which for once, isn’t all that surprising… So that’s where this is coming from..

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/esther-wojcicki/the-return-of-the-zeppeli_b_138961.html

via:

http://valleywag.gawker.com/5071678/google-founders-journalist-mother+in+law-writes-blimp-infomercial

Update:

Apparently the difference between a Zeppelin and a Blimp is whether or not there is a rigid, internal structure. The former, which is the case mentioned here, is rigid, wherease a blimp is, well.. floppy ( that word’s for you, Beth).

YETANOTHERUPDATE:

you can track the zeppelin!!! in case you actively wanted to be visually spammed by the zeppelin….

http://www.airshipventures.com/tracking.php

via 23andme’s facebook page: which is.. having a contest for best picture of the zeppelin to get fifty-buck discounts? really, whatchu gonna do 23andme when its some 15 year old kid that wins the contest? oh yeah, they don’t have restrictions on age, despite established NSGC positions about childhood testing

Prenatal and childhood testing for adult-onset genetic conditions should always include genetic education and counseling. Genetic counseling for clients considering such testing should include exploration of the psychological/social risks and benefits of early genetic identification from both the parents’ and child’s perspectives. When possible the child should be involved in the decision about whether or not to be tested. Other issues discussed should include the possibility of discrimination in insurance, education and employment for the child or family in both the immediate and more distant future.

Categories: publicity, Uncategorized Tags: , ,

as the Sequenom wheel turns.. o

so subscribing to GenomeWeb Daily News on my fancy shmancy Google Reader is awesome because I get to hear all the updates right away! on that note, things about Sequenom always seem to catch my eye. today, apparently…

Shares of Sequenom soared in Tuesday trade, even though there appeared to be no news that would create such a surge in both its price and trading volume. Sequenom finished Tuesday up 58 percent at $5.30 on the Nasdaq. More than 53 million shares traded hands on the day — nearly 10 times its average daily trading volume.

makes you wonder, what’s going on dudes?

http://www.genomeweb.com/dxpgx/sequenom-shares-rise-sharply

Categories: publicity Tags: ,

GC hx via GOOGLE

I just discovered Google Labs’ News Timeline. it was recently introduced, but I stumbled across it when trying to research a timeline of when the different GC programs were formed (i.e. order of creation). In the search term of “genetic counseling program history”, there was a module in the search that included a timeline. while distinctly separate from what i’m next goign to touch on, this timeline is a pretty useful tool and provides loads of media articles (many from NYTIMES archives). you can click on the blue bars in the timeline to bring up in closer detail what those citations are. this would be an immensely interesting research project for someone interested in the history of GC. unfortunately, history, for the most part, makes me yawn.

upon further investigation of Google, another tool, the News Timeline showed up. just search for “genetic counseling” in quotes, and look by decade, year, month, etc., and it’s so cool, you can see some old, scanned-in newspaper articles everywhere the terms show up.

granted, the search functions and displays are a bit obscured by the barrage of TIME covers and articles that are not relevant, but it’s still a fun little tool to look at how the field of GC in the eye of the media has evolved.

I guess I got so distracted that I completely forgot to look for a timeline of GC programs…

Dr. Tiller and his critics

the news of Dr. George Tiller’s murder is absolutely chilling. all the commentary out there, while completely respectful, still sends shivers down my spine and I have trouble acknowledging the extremes that some individuals go to in trying to make a point. it is reassuring to hear the very vocal condemnations of this event. although, statements like the following perhaps shouldn’t be quite so defensive in a time where individuals may need the space to absorb the facts:

Kansas Coalition for Life

The Kansas Coalition for Life Unequivocally Condemns the Shooting of Abortionist George Tiller.

Although at the time of this writing, it is not known who killed Abortionist Tiller, we do know for certain that this crime was NOT the work of any true proLife person. A true proLife person respects human life as a gift from God, and leaves all life and death decisions to God Himself.

This killing — if it is in any way connected to a genuine proLife group, has the potential to set back the proLife movement by 20 years or more.

The Kansas Coalition for Life asks all reporters and commentators to make a clear distinction between lawless thugs who act on their own accord, and the good proLife people who obey the law, seeking a change in abortion laws via peaceful means and the legislative process.

It is completely misleading, for the media to imply, in any way that this is the work of the proLife movement. We urge the media to report responsibly and truthfully in this regard.

KCFL would have much preferred that Abortionist Tiller follow the footsteps of Dr. Bernard Nathanson, a former abortionist who is now one of America’s most prominent and effective proLife leaders.

In 1993 Shelly Shannon, who had no connection whatsoever to any proLife organization, brought shame on all proLife groups by her stupid action, when she attempted to kill abortionist Tiller as he entered his abortion facility on East Kellogg Drive at Bleckley Street in Wichita.

Tiller’s death comes at a time when all recent polling data shows that the peaceful proLife message has the support of a majority of American voters. We hope this terrible news does not hurt the steady progress that the proLife movement has made by peaceful legal means over the years.

source: http://www.kansas.com/news/local/story/834437.html

Categories: people, publicity Tags: ,

the NEW NSGC blog…

our profession is so cool. our national, professional organization/society’s president now has a blog. i’m interested to see the direction this blog takes, as there has not really been an open forum between the NSGC and the internet community as a whole. sure the listserv is the staple of the genetic counselor’s repetoire and an incredible resource for members, but it is a bit cryptic to find out professional information about the field of genetic counseling by navigating the scary NSGC website.

Steven Keiles has posted the strategic plan that NSGC is looking to promote. take a look at it if you’re interested in what the most pressing concerns in the field of genetic counseling are overall (issues with payors/reimbursement, integrating GC into comprehensive care, etc.)

check it out:

http://nsgcpresident.blogspot.com/

Categories: publicity Tags: , ,