The Excedrin Killer, 30 Years On: Her Federal Release Date Doesn’t Arrive Until 2040… She Is 74 Today.

May 8, 2018 - Leave a Response

In truth, find myself in a strange mood this morning — as the matter at the bottom of this post has suddenly (much as my cream swirled in the piping hot coffee, just now) been blended into. . . the former.

So I will re-edit an old graphic, and drop in a link — even though I had considered making an entirely new one solely on the Excedrin murderer. And so, I guess I am asking you to just bear with me, dear readers — as we first visit the (likely non-availing) parole possibility for. . . one Stella Nickell. Her crimes were largely responsible for a completely new set of packaging precautions related to over the counter (but still FDA-regulated) drugs.

Do read all of it, in Canada’s Globe and Mail, this morning — with a bit, here:

. . . .May 8, 1988: Bruce Nickell was initially thought to have died of natural causes. But when a woman named Susan Snow, who also lived in Seattle, died the same month from taking Excedrin capsules laced with cyanide, investigators grew suspicious. Nickell had also taken the headache-pain reliever before being rushed to hospital, where he was pronounced dead.

The sensational case caused several drug companies to offer a $300,000 reward to find whoever had poisoned the pills. Stella Nickell, Bruce’s wife, swore she was innocent, but the FBI discovered she had recently taken out two insurance policies on his life, including one that would pay out $100,000 if he died accidentally.

In court, Stella Nickell’s 28-year-old daughter testified that her mother had discussed killing Bruce Nickell. A jury was convinced she had tampered with pills and put them back on store shelves, killing her husband and Snow. In May, 1988, Nickell became the first person to be convicted of causing death by drug tampering in the United States. She was sentenced to 90 years in prison under a federal law that was created after seven people died in 1982 in the Chicago area from taking Tylenol laced with cyanide, a crime that remains unsolved. She is eligible for parole this year. . . .

I don’t think she will ever be paroled. I expect that she will die in prison, sometime before she turns 96 — and the arrival of her mandatory release date (should she survive the abominable health care afforded at, and generally austere conditions in FCI Dublin — in rural Alameda County, California).

Onward — as apparently, I just had a taste for the. . . macabre, this morning — with George Zimmerman being re-arrested. Of course, he shot and killed young Trayvon Martin, in a case we followed closely — just five years ago, here.



As Many May Have Noticed — Merck Has Been/Remains Very “Steady State” — For The Last Two Years…

May 7, 2018 - Leave a Response

But the idea here — as broadcast (well, narrow-cast, actually), and written, from Wall and Broad, at least — among sell side analysts, seems to be. . . to try just a little too hard to “manufacture” a story. [For our part, we prefer to just. . . fall silent — as one may readily observe.]

As FiercePharma correctly notes this morning, at least two analysts — one of whom has covered Merck since the time well before Merck and Schering-Plough became one company — made largely “noise” stories, out of something that wasn’t a “signal” at all.

This seems to be because Kenilworth, under Mr. Frazier’s wise leadership — no longer puts out much in the way of. . . puffery. And we all know even good analysts abhor a vacuum, even if the steady state information is. . . just. . . steady state.

Do read all of the Carly Helfand piece — but here’s a bit:

. . . .It all started last on Merck’s first-quarter conference call, when the company confirmed that data from the Keynote-407 trial—which is examining Keytruda alongside two different chemo regimens as a treatment for first-line, metastatic squamous non-small cell lung cancer—would be released at June’s American Society of Clinical Oncology (ASCO) annual meeting.

The thing was, Merck hadn’t yet released any top-line data from that trial, a factor that “led to fears that perhaps Merck was sitting on bad data,” Bernstein analyst Tim Anderson wrote in a note to clients. . . .

Of course, those “fears” were. . . just faux night fevers — from the sheer terror of having. . . nothing. . . to say.

Now you know — and onward, as a cool clear spring afternoon calls to me, anew. Be good to one another. Or, even better than good — awesome!


[U X4] Perfect Launch And On Course For Mars, Now — From California — For The NASA Insight Drilling/Mining Mission…

May 4, 2018 - Leave a Response

Flawlessly nominal early this morning, five by five, in all respects — so, now on to. . . Barsoom:

It is (for me) eternally humbling — to ponder the precision of the physics calculations (and all the flawless engineering — of a gossamer winged spacecraft — married to a hulking rocket). . . all of which allows a select few of our species (solely on scientific merit) to toss a pebble some 300 million miles into the inky blackness, and land it softly, effectively on a pre-selected dime, in the middle of thousands of square miles of a cinnamon-powdered but long-frozen desert plain. . . essentially all by blind calculating, and dead reckoning.

I am agog — each time we make it out of Earth’s pull, and whisk off to a neighbor in the distant Southern Summer night skies. Here’s what you need to know, from NASA:

. . . .The early-morning liftoff on Saturday of the Mars InSight lander will mark the first time in history an interplanetary launch will originate from the West Coast. InSight will launch from the U.S. Air Force Vandenberg Air Force Base Space Launch Complex 3E. The two-hour launch window will open on May 5 at 4:05 a.m. PDT (7:05 a.m. EDT).

InSight, for Interior Exploration using Seismic Investigations, Geodesy and Heat Transport, will launch aboard a United Launch Alliance (ULA) Atlas V rocket. InSight will study the deep interior of Mars to learn how all rocky planets formed, including Earth and its Moon. The lander’s instruments include a seismometer to detect marsquakes, and a probe that will monitor the flow of heat from the planet’s interior.

The ULA rocket will carry the spacecraft over the Channel Islands just off the California Coast and continue climbing out over the Pacific, shadowing the coastline south beyond Baja California. InSight’s Atlas will reach orbit about 13 minutes after launch, when the rocket is about 1,200 miles (1,900 kilometers) northwest of Isabella Island, Ecuador. . . .

InSight’s landing on Mars is planned for Nov. 26, 2018, around noon PST (3 p.m. EST). . . .

JPL manages InSight for NASA’s Science Mission Directorate. InSight is part of NASA’s Discovery Program, managed by the agency’s Marshall Space Flight Center in Huntsville, Alabama. The InSight spacecraft, including cruise stage and lander, was built and tested by Lockheed Martin Space in Denver. NASA’s Launch Services Program at the agency’s Kennedy Space Center in Florida provides launch management. United Launch Alliance of Centennial, Colorado, is NASA’s launch service provider of the Atlas 5 rocket. A number of European partners, including France’s Centre National d’Études Spatiales (CNES) and the German Aerospace Center (DLR), are supporting the InSight mission. In particular, CNES provided the Seismic Experiment for Interior Structure (SEIS) instrument, with significant contributions from the Max Planck Institute for Solar Systems Research (MPS). DLR provided the Heat Flow and Physical Properties Package (HP3) instrument. . . .

I’ll likely rise early — to catch it all live, on NASA TV. Now you know — g’night, all. . . .

UPDATED 05.05.18 @ 6 AM EDT — Added a kid friendly explainer of the mission:

Original video:

Oh. And back here on Jasoom, your Kentucky Derby winner is… Justify. Smile. . . . “‘cause we’re justified and we’re ancient. . . and we like to roam the land. . . .”


Kenilworth Once Again Boosts Its Net Investment, In Unicorn Moderna — Looking At A Cancer “Vaccine” R&D Program

May 4, 2018 - Leave a Response

Over the last three and a half years, we have kept tabs on the Moderna-Merck escalating series of investments — from $100 million to $300 million, in 2016 — and a late 2017 update, here.

Over the last 24 hours, Merck has bumped its investment by over 25 per cent — or $125 million — to $425 million in total. Still immaterial for the mothership, but the idea of personalized cancer vaccines seems less and less sci fi — and more. . . life science, here nearing mid 2018.

So it is appropriate that we write about it on Yoda’s day. Here’s a link to the overnight article, from CNBC’s Meg Terrill, and a bit:

. . . .Moderna Therapeutics is banking an additional $125 million in an expanded partnership with Merck around a personalized cancer vaccine.

The product, called mRNA-5671, targets mutations in a gene called KRAS that Moderna says occur in about 90 percent of pancreatic cancers and 30 percent of non-small-cell lung cancers. It’s the fourth program on which the two companies are collaborating.

The $125 million from Merck comes in the form of series H preferred equity; Moderna completed a series G fundraising round earlier this year. It’s now raised more than $1.6 billion in equity and $1 billion through partnership payments, CEO Stephane Bancel said in a telephone interview Thursday. . . .

Yep — with a valuation north of $7 billion — that sound you hear is. . . a formerly strictly sci-fi unicorn, now becoming a privately-held life science R&D juggernaut. “Away put your weapons, as absolute power I have. . . .”

Grinning ear to ear, here in dawn’s luminous and rose-colored half light. . . . have a great day — but beware that Sunday. . . cometh; and with it — the revenge.

Yes, now you know — I try to play it off. . . .


A New Civil Lawsuit (Against Martin Shkreli) Offers An Odious “Peek Under The Hood” — At Turing (Now Vyera) Pharma….

May 3, 2018 - Leave a Response

[Cross posted from another of our properties.] I think this simply confirms much of what we largely long-suspected about the private company now called Vyera.

Rather than walk you through all the salacious details — and there are LOTS of them — I’ll just link the 29 page PDF file, and quote the most innocuous bit (do go read it for yourself):

. . . .On June 22, 2017, the very next day after Defendant Shkreli’s Facebook post to “Drain the [Turing executives] Swamp,” Ms. Costopoulos was stripped of all duties and authority in her capacity as Senior Vice President, Chief Compliance Officer and General Counsel of Turing. Mr. Mulleady, acting on behalf of the Company, at the direction of Defendant Shkreli and his personal attorney, Mr. Scott Vernick of Fox Rothschild (“Mr. Vernick”), advised Plaintiff that she was being placed on administrative leave pending an investigation into unspecified misconduct. A company-wide memorandum was circulated announcing the same. . . .

Well. That was a stupid thing to do. But, that’s Marty for ya’.

Do enjoy — and a sincere hat tip — to an anonymous friend of the blog, for this! Off now, to bake Yoda, C3PO and R2D2 cookies, etc. . . . smile.


With 45 Essentially Imploding (In A Morass Of His Own Making), We Will Return To The Whimsical, On The ‘Morrow…

May 3, 2018 - Leave a Response

One more day. . . “wait for it, you must.”

May the fourth be with you. . . on the ‘morrow. Smile. . . .


As With All Things 45 — It Seems Mr. Flood (Cheney’s Impeachment Defense Counsel) Has NOT (Yet) Agreed To Represent The White House…

May 2, 2018 - Leave a Response

. . . .But it is clear that Ty Cobb is out, only an hour after saying to ABC that a Mueller interview (with 45) is “not off the table“.

A White House spokesperson said a few minutes ago (despite Trump’s remarks) — “there is no personnel announcement — at this point“. . . . ever classy, and organized, these West Wingers.

It is a near certainty that the delay/non-starter revolves around Mr. Flood (at his own insistence) getting both (i) a very big up front cash retainer, and (ii) written assurances of complete autonomy, in talking to all the West Wing denizens, and beyond — as he tries to stave off the inevitable, now. He may also be angling for the right to fire people clearly in jeopardy of an indictable offense, already.

In that regard, should start by escorting Jared and the First Daughter off the premises. That would at least let Mr. Mueller know he is serious — and has the ability to deliver. It might also stanch the bleeding — a bit.

Food trucks now chant my name — calling out to me — of fresh lobster rolls, over the pulsing beat of. . . a steel drum calypso band!


If You Want Some Solid, More Detailed Analysis Of Merck Q1 2018 Results…

May 2, 2018 - Leave a Response

I found this article to be head and shoulders above (better than) all others.

But I do think the graphic at right sums it up pretty well — Merck’s future looks pretty. . . solid.

That is all — onward, to another wonderfully warm Spring dawn, after a late show of “Infinity War”. smiling early, often and widely. . . .


We Told You (In January 2017) She Would Be Seen In Space Science Leadership Again: Dr. Ellen Stofan

May 1, 2018 - Leave a Response

About a year and a quarter ago, we remarked on the (likely “Trump disgust“-induced) “retirement” — of the Chief Scientist of NASA. This morning, she’s been named as the Director of the Air and Space Museum. We knew she wasn’t done — wouldn’t stay on the sidelines for very long.

This is STEM on fleek, Part II, folks. Congrats to her — and here’s a bit, from NPR affliate WBUR:

. . . .Ellen Stofan saw her first rocket launch when she was 4 years old. Now, more than 50 years later, she’s director of the National Air and Space Museum — the first woman to hold the position.

Stofan, a former chief scientist at NASA, comes to the position with more than 25 years of field experience. But before all that, she was just a kid who fell in love with science — specifically, with rocks.

“When I decided at age 9 or 10 that I wanted to be a geologist, everybody encouraged me,” Stofan told NPR’s Mary Louise Kelly. “I think having that strong base of encouragement made me feel like a STEM career was possible.”

That encouragement came easy in a family dedicated to the field: Her dad was a NASA rocket scientist and her mom was a science teacher.

When she was 14, Stofan saw astronomer Carl Sagan speak at the launch of the Viking lander, which in 1976 was the first U.S. spacecraft to successfully land on Mars and send images back to Earth. It was then that she decided to study bigger rocks: planets.

“Carl Sagan started talking about why we were exploring Mars — the fact that Mars had this history of water; that potentially life could have evolved on Mars ,” Stofan remembers. “I heard that speech and thought, ‘that’s what I want to do.’ ”

She did go on to do that, leading NASA’s mission to send humans to the red planet. Today she’s charge of the exhibit that displays a test version of the Viking lander in the Air and Space Museum’s Boeing Milestones of Flight Hall in Washington, D.C. . . .

Onward then, on a flawless — now almost sweltering — Spring morning. Thinking of some other sublimely warm days of the past — of a pensive doe, blocking the narrow trail path, not defiantly — but just without a care on Earth; of wild turkey, ambling likewise carelessly by, under a leaf-dappled canopy of sunlight. . . . and of small gasps and sighs, followed by. . . deep breathing. Of hurtling small round rocks at tree trunks in the distance (then hearing the satisfying plunk echo back through the wood) — all while in dress shoes. Smile.

Namaste — and onward, indeed.


[U] I Expect An Inline (Solid) Quarter From Merck, Tomorrow — But Now… “Surf’s WAY Up!”

April 30, 2018 - Leave a Response

UPDATED @ 8:30 AM EDT — 05.01.18: Sales were a little light, but a bet on the net income line — and an increase on full year guidance ranges — has Kenilworth p in the pre-market. All in all a very nice quarter. End updated portion.

If there is anything off-kilter, we will blog it come early tomorrow. In the mean-time, watch Brazilian master surfer Rodrigo Koxa catch an approximately 80 foot wave (a new world record; watch the little white line in the middle, not the Jet Ski towing, to the right!) — at Nazaré, off the coast of Portugal: