Ancillary Merck Biz Dev Updates Dept.: Kenilworth’s Stake In BeiGene Became 38% More Valuable — In One Day…

July 7, 2017 - Leave a Response

We last looked in on Merck’s very fortuitous investment in, and relationship with BeiGene in March of 2017. [More background here — on what was originally a $10 million investment by Kenilworth — now worth high hundreds of millions, including money already taken off the table.]

On Wednesday (while I was busily writing on the Martin Shkreli felonies prosecution in Brooklyn), Celgene did a multi-part, multi-asset deal with BeiGene, related to BeiGene’s PD-1 candidate (and related Asian hard assets). Do go read the link below for all the details, but BeiGene stock popped about 38 per cent on the news, over the last two sessions — nicely increasing the value of Merck’s nearly seven per cent stake in the Chinese newly public company.

The price Celgene actually paid for the stock is hard to determine, since part of that price was the transfer of Celgene’s China facilities and business operations. So we cannot compare Merck’s stake directly to the cash recited in exchange for Celgene’s six per cent of BeiGene. But I guarantee that Mr. Frazier is smiling about his investment, now.

The bite, from Xconomy New York, then:

. . . .The deal announced late Wednesday calls for Celgene to pay $263 million up front in licensing fees for global rights to BeiGene’s lead cancer drug in solid tumors. BeiGene keeps the right to develop and commercialize the drug in Asia, except for Japan, whose rights go to Celgene. If Celgene succeeds in developing the drug and commercializing it, the company could owe BeiGene as much as $980 million in milestone payments.

The transaction also includes equity. While Celgene has agreed to pay $150 million for a 5.9 percent ownership stake in its partner, BeiGene will take over Celgene’s China operations. The deal also grants BeiGene rights to manage the sales and marketing of three Celgene cancer drugs that are already approved in China.

The centerpiece of the deal is BeiGene’s lead compound, BGB-A317. The antibody drug is in a class of cancer treatments called checkpoint inhibitors. These drugs block the PD-1 protein, which some cancers can use to avoid detection by the body’s immune system. BeiGene developed its drug for targeting solid tumors as well as blood-borne cancers. . . .

Have an excellent weekend, one and all — do go enjoy your celebrations — as my biggest boy (and lil’est baby-girl) are having a special weekend, too. . . . smile.

नमस्ते

[U] Cassini Saturnian Ring Plunge No. 12 Completed — Signal Acquired! Underway Right Now

July 6, 2017 - Leave a Response

We are now more than halfway — to the dramatic death-burn, and vanishing, in silence — of September 15, 2017.

This is the midpoint of orbit 12 — of 22, in this ever tightening orbit series — each a foreshadowing of the noose, of sorts. On that September morning, local time — at the end point of orbit 22, twisty copper colored Cassini will be vaporized as she skims and glides, out of fuel — deeper and deeper — into Saturn’s atmosphere. . . a somewhat melancholy notion, indeed. . . .

But on this glorious summer’s morning, she is still performing revolutionary (pun intended!) gas giant planetary science. Here is the overview, from NASA’s mission logs:

. . . .During this orbit, Cassini’s Ultraviolet Imaging Spectrograph (UVIS) stares at the star Kappa Canis Majoris, as parts of the C ring and A ring pass between the spacecraft and the star. The spacecraft’s Composite Infrared Spectrometer (CIRS) observes the occultation as well.

Cassini’s imaging cameras, the Imaging Science Subsystem (ISS), observes some of Saturn’s known ring propeller features, then targets the border region of the F ring and A ring to study ring dynamics there.

Cassini’s UVIS instrument also studies small-scale structures in the rings.

During this orbit’s ring-plane crossing, the spacecraft is oriented such that its high-gain antenna (the big dish) faces forward (called “HGA to RAM”) to help shield the spacecraft from ring particles.

Also during ring-plane crossing, in the brief period in which impacts are most likely, the Radio and Plasma Wave Science (RPWS) instrument “listens” for the impacts of ring particles, which produce detectable plasma clouds when they strike the spacecraft. The antenna protrudes several meters beyond the protection of the high-gain antenna and so still detects impacts. . . .

During this orbit, Cassini gets within 2,320 miles (3,730 kilometers) of Saturn’s 1-bar level. Cassini also passes within 2,470 miles (3,980 kilometers) of the inner edge of Saturn’s D ring. . . .

Now you know — and [UPDATED!] we have seen (thus the new masthead!) should see a signal acquisition ping, from the beautifully twisting lil’ shepherded moon-let, as she moves with truly unwasted grace (conserving fuel all the while) — after midnight local, tonight. . . that will indicate she is safe, sound, hale and whole — and still sprinting about the planet. . . preparing ultimately for her. . . fiery demise.


Onward, on a gorgeous July morning — in a ferociously gleaming city. Smile.

नमस्ते

Arriving Late To The FDA’s Multiple Myeloma Pembrolizumab Pomalidomide Lenalidomide Halt Decision — But Merck Likely To Open Off Tomorrow…

July 5, 2017 - Leave a Response

We were (quite happily) out, and off grid all night — with our fun-loving adult kids, and so arrive here after midnight on Tuesday/early Wednesday — to express our concern. There was a foreshadowing of all this, at mid-June 2017 with the studies’ safety monitors imposing a pause, in enrollments. But now FDA has stopped these studies in total. I would expect a one to two per cent additional decline in Merck’s NYSE price, beyond the decline in the after-hours session on the NASDAQ, tonight. Sad news, but patients (and patient safety — i.e., “first, do no harm“) must come first.

Much has already been written, in the financial press — so I’ll simply quote the full release here. Some of the most difficult news appears near the end of the presser, with some specificity around non-disease-progression related deaths (even in other cancers):

. . . .The FDA has determined that the data available at the present time indicate that the risks of KEYTRUDA plus pomalidomide or lenalidomide outweigh any potential benefit for patients with multiple myeloma. All patients enrolled in KEYNOTE-183 and KEYNOTE-185 and those in the KEYTRUDA /lenalidomide /dexamethasone cohort in KEYNOTE-023 will discontinue investigational treatment with KEYTRUDA. This clinical hold does not apply to other studies with KEYTRUDA. . . .

KEYTRUDA (pembrolizumab) was discontinued due to adverse reactions in 5% of 210 patients with cHL, and treatment was interrupted due to adverse reactions in 26% of patients. Fifteen percent (15%) of patients had an adverse reaction requiring systemic corticosteroid therapy. Serious adverse reactions occurred in 16% of patients. The most frequent serious adverse reactions (≥1%) included pneumonia, pneumonitis, pyrexia, dyspnea, GVHD, and herpes zoster. Two patients died from causes other than disease progression; one from GVHD after subsequent allogeneic HSCT and one from septic shock. The most common adverse reactions (occurring in ≥20% of patients) were fatigue (26%), pyrexia (24%), cough (24%), musculoskeletal pain (21%), diarrhea (20%), and rash (20%). . . .

KEYNOTE-052, KEYTRUDA was discontinued due to adverse reactions in 11% of 370 patients with locally advanced or metastatic urothelial carcinoma. The most common adverse reactions (in ≥20% of patients) were fatigue (38%), musculoskeletal pain (24%), decreased appetite (22%), constipation (21%), rash (21%), and diarrhea (20%). Eighteen patients (5%) died from causes other than disease progression. Five patients (1.4%) who were treated with KEYTRUDA experienced sepsis which led to death, and 3 patients (0.8%) experienced pneumonia which led to death. Adverse reactions leading to interruption of KEYTRUDA occurred in 22% of patients; the most common (≥1%) were liver enzyme increase, diarrhea, urinary tract infection, acute kidney injury, fatigue, joint pain, and pneumonia. Serious adverse reactions occurred in 42% of patients, the most frequent (≥2%) of which were urinary tract infection, hematuria, acute kidney injury, pneumonia, and urosepsis.

In KEYNOTE-045, KEYTRUDA was discontinued due to adverse reactions in 8% of 266 patients with locally advanced or metastatic urothelial carcinoma. The most common adverse reaction resulting in permanent discontinuation of KEYTRUDA was pneumonitis (1.9%). Adverse reactions leading to interruption of KEYTRUDA occurred in 20% of patients; the most common (≥1%) were urinary tract infection (1.5%), diarrhea (1.5%), and colitis (1.1%). The most common adverse reactions (≥20%) in patients who received KEYTRUDA vs those who received chemotherapy were fatigue (38% vs 56%), musculoskeletal pain (32% vs 27%), pruritus (23% vs 6%), decreased appetite (21% vs 21%), nausea (21% vs 29%), and rash (20% vs 13%). Serious adverse reactions occurred in 39% of KEYTRUDA-treated patients, the most frequent (≥2%) of which were urinary tract infection, pneumonia, anemia, and pneumonitis. . . .

Now you know. I would expect some share price declines at BMS and at Roche/Genentech as well, in the morning — as (at least at this early stage) there would be little reason not to think this might be a class wide effect, with the Celgene agent(s). But we shall see. G’night to all of good will — and in unrelated news, Cassini is completing Ring Plunge 12 as I type this. . . we should see a twisty, copper colored “signal acquired” confirmation — by tomorrow night. . . .

नमस्ते

What A Iceberg The Size Of Delaware Might Look Like — Antarctica’s Larsen C Ice Shelf/Berg

July 5, 2017 - Leave a Response

The European Space Agency — using its CryoSat satellite instrument package, and its Copernicus Sentinel-1 craft — has today modeled what the most massive ice-berg in history might well look like — when it calves. See at right. But it will calve, no doubt. It is too massive, and the crack, just too deep — for any other outcome. Physics tells no jokes.

A solid block of of ice, free floating, roughly the size of Delaware (or Galway, if that’s your Irish perspective) — will be the largest that has ever been witnessed in recorded human history. Thanks, climate change. From ESA.int, then — a bit:

. . . .All eyes are on Antarctica’s Larsen C ice shelf as a deep crack continues to cut across the ice, leaving a huge chunk clinging on. When it eventually gives way, one of the largest icebergs on record will be set adrift. . . .

Noel Gourmelen from the University of Edinburgh said, “Using information from CryoSat, we have mapped the elevation of the ice above the ocean and worked out that the eventual iceberg will be about 190 m thick and contain about 1155 cubic kilometres of ice.


“We have also estimated that the depth below sea level could be as much as 210 m. . . .”

Of course, it could break apart nearly immediately, spawning hundreds of smaller bergs, sooner or later, but there will be no way to know. . . until it happens. But it will happen. That is now a mathematical/earth sciences physics certainty. Tonight — next week, next month — or in 2018, but likely before 2019.

Now you know. City fun today, in between office work, with my fantastic adult offspring in town, and visiting [doin’ all the “Ferris Bueller” stuff — 1:20 PM Cubs and. . . (“I’m Abe Fromann — the sausage king of Chicago!. . .”)] — until Sunday night, now! Onward. . . .

नमस्ते

Great “Copper” Red Spot Viewings: Moonlet Juno Science Pass Number Six, Soon At Mighty Jupiter…

July 3, 2017 - Leave a Response

If you could sprint by (all in a blur!) — just a few thousand miles above an unimaginably vast (by Earth scales) shimmering, and twisting copper-colored, certain to be glistening, even in the low lights — fairly-boiling hurricane, a storm that would swallow three Earths whole, and one that has been raging for over 300 years — would you take. . . the ride?

I know I would — if I could. It was just exactly a year ago, tonight, that we were holding our breath, awaiting word that Juno had achieved a stable orbital insertion/capture, via Lord Jupiter’s immense and crushing gravity. Here one year and seven days on, we will get our first close up data and pictures. . . of the so-called Great Red Spot (in fact, though — in the gloaming light around Jupiter, it is much more a. . . copper colored spot — thus the headline).

So do tune back in on the late evening of July 10, Eastern time. Until then, here’s a bit of the detail, from NASA’s JPL:

. . . .Just days after celebrating its first anniversary in Jupiter orbit, NASA’s Juno spacecraft will fly directly over Jupiter’s Great Red Spot, the gas giant’s iconic, 10,000-mile-wide (16,000-kilometer-wide) storm. This will be humanity’s first up-close and personal view of the gigantic feature — a storm monitored since 1830 and possibly existing for more than 350 years.

“Jupiter’s mysterious Great Red Spot is probably the best-known feature of Jupiter,” said Scott Bolton, principal investigator of Juno from the Southwest Research Institute in San Antonio. “This monumental storm has raged on the solar system’s biggest planet for centuries. Now, Juno and her cloud-penetrating science instruments will dive in to see how deep the roots of this storm go, and help us understand how this giant storm works and what makes it so special.”

The data collection of the Great Red Spot is part of Juno’s sixth science flyby over Jupiter’s mysterious cloud tops. Perijove (the point at which an orbit comes closest to Jupiter’s center) will be on Monday, July 10, at 6:55 p.m. PDT (9:55 p.m. EDT). At the time of perijove, Juno will be about 2,200 miles (3,500 kilometers) above the planet’s cloud tops. Eleven minutes and 33 seconds later, Juno will have covered another 24,713 miles (39,771 kilometers) and will be directly above the coiling crimson cloud tops of Jupiter’s Great Red Spot. The spacecraft will pass about 5,600 miles (9,000 kilometers) above the Giant Red Spot clouds. All eight of the spacecraft’s instruments as well as its imager, JunoCam, will be on during the flyby.Just days after celebrating its first anniversary in Jupiter orbit, NASA’s Juno spacecraft will fly directly over Jupiter’s Great Red Spot, the gas giant’s iconic, 10,000-mile-wide (16,000-kilometer-wide) storm. This will be humanity’s first up-close and personal view of the gigantic feature — a storm monitored since 1830 and possibly existing for more than 350 years.

“Jupiter’s mysterious Great Red Spot is probably the best-known feature of Jupiter,” said Scott Bolton, principal investigator of Juno from the Southwest Research Institute in San Antonio. “This monumental storm has raged on the solar system’s biggest planet for centuries. Now, Juno and her cloud-penetrating science instruments will dive in to see how deep the roots of this storm go, and help us understand how this giant storm works and what makes it so special.”

The data collection of the Great Red Spot is part of Juno’s sixth science flyby over Jupiter’s mysterious cloud tops. Perijove (the point at which an orbit comes closest to Jupiter’s center) will be on Monday, July 10, at 6:55 p.m. PDT (9:55 p.m. EDT). At the time of perijove, Juno will be about 2,200 miles (3,500 kilometers) above the planet’s cloud tops. Eleven minutes and 33 seconds later, Juno will have covered another 24,713 miles (39,771 kilometers) and will be directly above the coiling crimson cloud tops of Jupiter’s Great Red Spot. The spacecraft will pass about 5,600 miles (9,000 kilometers) above the Giant Red Spot clouds. All eight of the spacecraft’s instruments as well as its imager, JunoCam, will be on during the flyby. . . .

Smiling ear to ear, in seven days’ time. . . . but tonight — off to the [collateral family’s] club, for early fireworks, and some hot air ballooning. . . .

नमस्ते

Second 21 Day Incubation Cycle Expires In Bas-Uélé — 2017 Ebola Outbreak Is Ended…

July 2, 2017 - Leave a Response

Good news concerns the people of the DRC — in Bas-Uélé Province, specifically — from the World Health Organization local African time, tonight.

It seems that we can declare the outbreak over. And that is proof of what a coordinated globally-resourced response — with the right assets and training, can do — even in the most remote, mountainous jungle terrain. Here’s the latest:

. . . .Today, the World Health Organization (WHO) declared the end of the most recent outbreak of Ebola virus disease (EVD) in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC). The announcement comes 42 days (two 21-day incubation cycles of the virus) after the last confirmed Ebola patient in the affected Bas-Uélé province tested negative for the disease for the second time. Enhanced surveillance in the country will continue, as well as strengthening of preparedness and readiness for Ebola outbreaks.

“With the end of this epidemic, DRC has once again proved to the world that we can control the very deadly Ebola virus if we respond early in a coordinated and efficient way,” said Dr Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, WHO Director-General.

Related to the outbreak, 4 people died, and 4 people survived the disease. Five of these cases were laboratory confirmed. A total of 583 contacts were registered and closely monitored, but no known contacts developed signs or symptoms of EVD.Today, the World Health Organization (WHO) declared the end of the most recent outbreak of Ebola virus disease (EVD) in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC). The announcement comes 42 days (two 21-day incubation cycles of the virus) after the last confirmed Ebola patient in the affected Bas-Uélé province tested negative for the disease for the second time. Enhanced surveillance in the country will continue, as well as strengthening of preparedness and readiness for Ebola outbreaks.

“With the end of this epidemic, DRC has once again proved to the world that we can control the very deadly Ebola virus if we respond early in a coordinated and efficient way,” said Dr Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, WHO Director-General.

Related to the outbreak, 4 people died, and 4 people survived the disease. Five of these cases were laboratory confirmed. A total of 583 contacts were registered and closely monitored, but no known contacts developed signs or symptoms of EVD. . . .

And to my knowledge, none of the NewLink/Merck vaccine was actually dosed and deployed — as it was deemed unneeded — with the very swift clinical isolations (case by case), and generally remote geography in the region. Onward — to airport pick-ups, in the morning. . . smile. . . Now you know.

नमस्ते

Lest We Appear Too Cynical, Near/On Our Nation’s Birthday…

July 2, 2017 - Leave a Response

I am rather suddenly struck here, at yet another luminous dawn, on the Sunday before our troubled, but resilient nation’s birthday — by how much more care-free and joy-filled my life is, than the news I generally report here (and perhaps even the views I express here — at least appear to be). . . .

Even so, I do feel a gravitational tug backward, as the masthead now indicates, to express what I feel is my responsibility — in the various conversations that make this nation still one very much worth fighting for. I was just reminded of this, by a video of a Langston Hughes poem, being read by Alfre Woodard. I would post it, but even it is a bit too. . . raw and real, for some in our nation (and it is sponsored by a political group with whom I do not always concur — lest it be seen as an endorsement, of them). . . so instead, I will post one from around my birthday, last year — one that still just sends shivers down my spine.

Trust me — the smiles are. . . worth it. And trust me — this captures much of what’s best about this nation, still — no pharma-bro or tiny-handed tyrant can touch this. Just press play:

Let there be. . . more hope — more peace — more of a new day of joyful forward progress, even in the face of hatred, and increasingly often. . . outright lunacy, out of 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue. . . peace on Earth — to all of good will. . . And. . . G’day!

Shkreli Trial Weekend One Ruminations… How “Fast” Fred Hassan And Mr. Shkreli Differ — But Do “Echo” One Another…

July 1, 2017 - Leave a Response

[Forgive me, as this is a long read. So go grab a cuppa… and return. Note: oddly, I didn’t need to photoshop Mr. Shkreli’s face at all(!); but I did do so, in 2010, as to Mr. Hassan, at right.] Billy and I were discussing, at least a bit — in comments yesterday how… ironic if you will — it was that Mr. Hassan was testifying for the government, against Mr. Shkreli.

At the outset, let me be clear: I absolutely think Mr. Hassan told the truth, yesterday — on the stand. Without exception. As Billy pointed out — he has absolutely zero motive to lie: it gains him… nothing. He was simply backing up the truth of what his own daughter told him, and he saw, in some cases, first hand. [Mr. Brafman shouldn’t have opened the door on Thursday, to his appearance, as a surprise rebuttal witness. But I digress.]

In any event, I surmise that in Mr. Hassan’s eyes, Mr. Shkreli is an insignificant wanna-be — who tried to “draft” — and deceptively, so — off of Mr. Hassan’s Tour du France run, in and through pharma, and later, life sciences private equity…. [but Mr. Hassan has enough “London School” in him, to feign humility on the stand, and still destroy Mr. Shkreli — in icily civil tones, anyway]. Pure upper crust.

As one final side note, before I get to my main narrative thrust — it is interesting that the pool reporter, in court in Brooklyn, when Mr. Hassan took the stand didn’t tweet any of his direct testimony — only the cross, and redirect. It is interesting because Mr. Hassan works as a color analyst for that same reporter’s network from time to time. [I still wonder — what, exactly did he testify about, on direct? Besides saying his daughter told the truth on Thursday afternoon.]

Now — to the main point: As Billy well knows, and anyone who followed my life sciences blog in the early days, now almost ten years ago, well-knows: Mr. Hassan is an ironic figure here, because according to hundreds of thousands of pages of federal court filed civil documents in the US District Courts, for the Districts of New Jersey and New York’s Southern District (Manhattan) — among others, he is a velvet gloved version of Mr. Shkreli’s price gouging strategems.

But he is an Augusta National Golf Club (white gloved) version of Mr. Shkreli’s street ball, at the public Rucker Park concrete courts — in NYC. [See any old AndOne Rucker tournament (early 2000s) YouTube for the reference; not that Mr. Shkreli could ever hoop, mind you — nor Mr. Hassan… golf, but you get the gist of the notion.] Mr. Hassan has had his own sketchy encounters… with securities fraud and drug price gouging allegations.

That is, in my opinion, Mr. Hassan (using white gloves, by having “his people” do the dirty work), effectively delayed releasing the ENHANCE clinical trial (null outcome) results on Vytorin®, all while Schering-Plough raked in billions — literally billions of dollars (often at $320 per bottle, compared to about $32, for the generic statin) — over five years, minimum (2003 to 2009), for a hideously expensive… placebo [that according to Senator Chuck Grassley, R, IA]. Of course, it is now generic. And in 2016, IMPROVE-IT saw a very modest CV improvement for the med-combo, though it would take seven years of drugging 1,000 people every day, to see one fewer CV event. Ahh… but that was the last war — not this one.

Mr. Brafman did ask Mr. Hassan — about the Vytorin affair, on cross — but we do not know what he asked, or how Mr. Hassan answered. [Pool reporters were… silent, on the substance of those Q&As. We do know they grew “heated“, according to pool reporters.] I can be certain that Mr. Hassan told the truth, on cross: as all those federal civil securities fraud class actions, and reimbursement fraud matters were… settled, long ago. But one (just one of many) settled for more than a half-billion dollar payout from Schering-Plough, and its D&O insurers. Mr. Hassan’s insurer(s), to put a point on it.

Now — Mr. Hassan did it (in my opinion), in the “polite” way. Politely, through clenched teeth, and steely smiles — more like grimaces. That is, he never made an affirmatively boldly false statement — other than that the Wall Street Journal and the FDA were both being unfair to him (and intentionally trying to keep his drugs off-market), of course (ironic, that, given yesterday’s circus in the press room — with Mr. Shkreli holding court, about the evil press)…

Mr. Shkreli on the other hand, openly told people he was jacking up the price of an old generic AIDS drug — just because he could. To be clear, that is not what he’s on trial for though. He’s on trial for openly lying to investors, and committing fraud, in the manipulation of the public securities markets. And for “parking” shares. [Lots more on that, in the coming weeks — as to Count Eight. Stay tuned.] But if Mr. Hassan were going to protect his own skin (on cross), he would have wanted to create cover for a fellow fraudster. But I honestly think Mr. Hassan thinks he is Mr. Shkreli’s “better”. He isn’t — not in any way that really matters.

I do think Mr. Shkreli is guilty, on all counts — and I am entitled to air that bias, now that the jury has been ordered not to read any outside media. But I do not think what Mr. Hassan did in the early part of the 2000s — at Schering-Plough, and then at Bausch + Lomb, is really different in kind. Only degree — it is only a more finessed approach to the markets — one his companies paid vast civil monetary damages for, but he personally did not ever face criminal charges.

Mr. Shkreli richly deserves his fate. But I did nearly gag, when the pool reporter called Mr. Hassan a “legend” [a reporter from the network where Mr. Hassan is a an occasional talking head] in the pharmaceutical world…. I suppose there are dark legends as well as light ones. And no person is all good — or all evil. Each of these men is a oddly complex mix of… both. Mr. Shkreli the more brazen of them, to be sure — but both have always been infected with a pathological level of greed, in my opinion. They are different by degree (and pedigree), not kind, in my view. [And candidly I too (to many may appear to be — scratch that — am) one of the guilty one percenters, so this all may seem rather hypocritical — but I do try to add value to any situation I enter . Truly, I do mightily try to leave it better than I found it, for all.] But I do not always achieve that, in deal-craft. So it goes.

So I’ll close thus — maybe the assigned pool reporter for Friday morning didn’t want (or was instructed by downtown not) to tweet out any of the above — potentially tarnishing the network’s vaunted color commentary analyst, on matters life sciences. That’s just a guess. You decide for yourselves — whatever it is you choose to believe.

Have a freedom-laced Fourth, one and all — and do try to ignore Agent Orange, altogether. Likely silent here, until the Fifth, at 9 AM EDT when trial resumes.

नमस्ते

In The “Truth Will Always Be Far Stranger” Department…

June 30, 2017 - Leave a Response

UPDATED: Friday at 5 PM EDT — the simple answer, if this sort of fare interests you, is to go read the 250 or so comments, in the most recent three posts, at the Shkreli felony trial blawg I now author. Just way too much to cover here, on a topic that is at best only tangentially (and historically) related to the Merck focus here. Do click this link. It was a nutty day, in Brooklyn to be sure. [End, update.]

We are presently awaiting reliable word on what Mr. Hassan was asked — on direct — but I would bet it included confirming the testimony of his daughter, of yesterday.

That testimony said that Mr. Shkreli was throwing the elder Mr. Hassan’s name around, to try and woo investors in Mr. Shkreli’s various ventures — and was doing so with a knowing (mens re) falsity. That, I bet is what he’s here to confirm — since Mr. Brafman so helpfully opened the door (for the prosecution), by berating the witness yesterday, on truthfulness, among other matters.

We will of course report, when we know more — but consider this a great placeholder.

Meanwhile, Mr. Shkreli took the lunch break to berate the press pool, in the overflow room — calling the Eastern District of NY US Attorney’s Office the “Junior Varsity” team… before Mr. Brafman could drag him away. Charming.

Mr. Shkreli also said he didn’t consider taking any plea deal. I’d bet. . . none was offered, short of “you’ll do twenty.”

Off-grid for a bit now — may not update this, until the end of the day, today. So do check MSM reports (mentioned in tweet at right) by about 3 PM EDT. Whoosh!

नमस्ते

45 Is A Lost Soul — But I Think He Was Intentionally Creating “Cover” Yesterday — By Dint of Odious Tweet-Storms…

June 30, 2017 - Leave a Response

UNRELATED UPDATE: Noon EDT — We understand that “Fast” Fred Hassan has taken the stand as a prosecution witness, in Martin Shkreli’s eight count felony fraud trial — in Brooklyn this morning. Of course we will report on that tonight, and in detail. End, update.

He is truly the “Primitive-In-Chief” [with a grateful nod, to fellow-Cubs fan George Will (yes, we are all suffering, once again!), here — for the base of that moniker)].

I’ve updated my graphic — the one from the morning after 45 tried (and failed) to end peaceable First Amendment activity on Broadway, at “Hamilton“, but I will not reprint the vile tweets from yesterday. They are beneath the office — they are beneath civilized humanity. [I was going to ignore them, entirely.]

Even so, given that he is doubling down on them this very morning, I thought I might as well point out what was obvious to me, as of yesterday, at lunch. 45 is now clearly seeking to use this negative news cycle, to breathlessly crowd out the notion that he has violated both the spirit and the letter of the Supreme’s grant of cert., from just last week. As of last night, he has — by rule — tried to define “bona fide relationship to the United States” to include only brothers sisters and mothers and fathers — not grandparents. The precedents are legion, that such a definition flouts existing law. Again, by rule, he is trying to do what only the Congress ought to be permitted to. So this whole bleeding face fiasco is simply to deflect attention. Truly vile, that — here is what existing law actually provides (and has long provided), about that phrase:

. . . .[A]nyone with close family in the United States is exempt from the ban. The court explained that having a spouse in the United States would be enough to allow entry, and so would having a son-in-law. Coming to live with a family member is sufficient, and so is coming to visit family on a tourist visa. A large proportion of those who would otherwise be barred by the Muslim ban do have family in this country, and remain protected under the Supreme Court’s order. . . .

Anyone with a relationship with a U.S. entity (like a school, employer, or nonprofit organization) is also exempted from the ban. . . .

It appears relatively few can be legitimately prohibited under the Supreme Court’s decision: individuals who are abroad and have no connections to family or organizations in the United States. To be clear, the Supreme Court did not say the ban is legal as applied to those individuals. It only allowed the government to implement this limited version of the ban while it considers whether the rest can be upheld at all. . . .

So, to sum up — all Mr. Trump has done, as of last night, is create lots of new litigation — by using his would be executive order authority — to flout an explicit ruling of the US Supreme Court. See ya’ in court (again), 45 — and see ya’ (again) losing in October — on the whole Muslim Ban 2.0 idea. Ugly. [Maybe he will, later this summer, re-define (in the OED) “losing” — as “winning” — by putative executive order, as well.]

Do try to remember what the founders wanted — for our nation — this Fourth. And do be ready to resist peaceably, any attempt of any wanna’-be tyrant, to take it from you. Onward — great long weekend ahead — with a partial nuclear family reunion, now. . . Grinning ear to ear. . . .

नमस्ते