Brainstorm Health: Theranos Dissolved, Emirates Flight Quarantine, Jackie Fouse Named CEO

September 5, 2018, 7:05 PM UTC

Happy Wednesday, readers. This is Sy.

Jackie Fouse, a longtime veteran of the biopharmaceutical industry, is headed to the CEO perch at Agios Pharmaceuticals.

The cancer-focused biotech announced Tuesday that Fouse will take the reins as chief executive as of February 1, 2019, replacing David Schenkein—the company’s longtime CEO who has overseen two critical cancer medication approvals and a blockbuster set of returns for shareholders (including more than 200% in market value growth in the past five years).

Fouse has been a prominent force in the life sciences industry (and a darling of the investing class that values her pragmatic touch) for a while now. She’s one of the most high-profile female executives in a sector that still tends to skew male, especially in the C-suite. Previously, Fouse rose up the ranks of Celgene to become that company’s president and chief operating officer, and was often mentioned as a contender for the top job at biotech giant Gilead.

In recent years, she joined Vivek Ramaswamy’s fledgling upstart Roivant Sciences as the chairman of the umbrella organization’s skin therapy-focused arm Dermavant (I spoke with Fouse and a group of other Roivant executives last year in a roundtable).

Agios investors appeared to laud the decision on Wednesday, with the firm’s shares rising 2.3%.

Read on for the day’s news.


Goodbye, Theranos. One of the life sciences' most fascinating sagas is finally coming to an end. On Tuesday, Elizabeth Holmes' once-ballyhooed blood testing upstart announced that it will dissolve and pay out creditors with its remaining cash. Founder Holmes and her former number two, Sunny Balwani, were recently indicted on criminal fraud charges. They have thus far denied the allegations. (Wall Street Journal)


Sangamo plummets on results of gene-editing trial. Shares of biotech Sangamo Therapeutics plunged 23% in Wednesday trading amid heavy trading as investors rebuffed the firm's attempts to spin clinical trial results of a gene-editing therapy as positive. Sangamo's experimental therapy is meant to treat the rare disorder Hunter syndrome; but while the clinical study appeared to result in the reduction of a key biomarker, other results were more murky, leading to the trading bloodbath. (MarketWatch)


Emirates flight quarantined at JFK following widespread illness reports. An Emirates flight from Dubai to New York was quarantined at JFK airport on Wednesday after multiple passengers reported feeling sick, with at least 10 being hospitalized. The cause of the outbreak on the flight (and the number of affected passengers) is still a bit unclear, but early reports indicated that some experienced high fevers, coughing, and vomiting. CDC and Port Authority officials screened passengers on the flight at JFK. (Fortune)

Another Obamacare lawsuit is headed to court. A group of Republican-led states are attempting to carry on an Obamacare lawsuit originally envisioned by the GOP-led Congress. The states argue that, with the repeal of the individual insurance mandate passed as part of last year's tax cut bill, the entirety of the Affordable Care Act is now unconstitutional. (CNN)


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