Happy Friday, readers!
I have a plea to all of you going into the weekend, and it’s an important one.
You may know that, each year, Fortune publishes a Change the World list. It’s my personal favorite list out of a sea of amazing Fortune rankings, largely thanks to how unique it is. And we would love your insight and input into which companies belong on it this year.
Here’s the deal: Change the World recognizes firms that, literally, do well by doing good—the ones that have had a positive, measurable, and significant social impact through activities that are part of their core business strategy.
Notice the emphases. The companies that make our list (and you can scour through past years’ examples here to get an idea of what we’re trying to do) are definitively not charities or philanthropies. They are for-profit companies that take corporate citizenship seriously and harness their unique abilities to improve the lives of others—all while still making a buck.
We enlist the help of the nonprofit Shared Value Initiative to evaluate and rank hundreds of organizations for the list. The most important category for inclusion is measurable, significant social impact: We consider the reach, nature, and durability of the company’s impact on one or more specific societal problems.
So think of it this way: We’re looking for companies that are leveraging services and products that have a profound, positive effect on everyday people and are gaining revenues and delivering shareholder value in the process. If you have any companies in mind that fit the bill (health care-related or otherwise), please shoot me a note via e-mail. We would love to hear your thoughts!
Read on for the day’s news, and have a wonderful weekend.
Another biotech gets into the Duchenne gene therapy space. The gene therapy space is getting crowded—at least in some diseases. Vertex Pharmaceuticals on Friday announced that it’s expanding its collaboration with gene-editing firm CRISPR Therapeutics to develop new treatments for the rare muscle-wasting disorders Duchenne muscular dystrophy and another form of dystrophy. Vertex will pony up $175 million upfront to CRISPR in the deal.
A fascinating look at Biogen’s Alzheimer’s catastrophe. STAT News’ Matt Herper has an absolute must-read (apologies, the story is gated) detailing the inside story of how Biogen’s Alzheimer’s drug hopeful aducanumab fell apart. It’s a tale of fleeting hopes, seemingly insurmountable scientific challenges, and the long, costly road to failure that can plague even the most well-meaning and well-run biopharma companies. (STAT News)
THE BIG PICTURE
Insys to pay $225 million in bribery case—and admits guilt. Insys Therapeutics has reached a $225 million deal to settle federal criminal and civil charges into its alleged illegal marketing practices for powerful, addicting opioid painkillers. Here’s the thing: The “alleged” part doesn’t quite apply anymore, as one of the terms of the deal is that Insys admit that it bribed doctors to prescribe the fentanyl product Subsys. “For years, Insys engaged in prolonged, illegal conduct that prioritized its profits over the health of the thousands of patients who relied on it,” said U.S. Attorney Andrew Lelling in a statement. “Today, the company is being held responsible.” (NPR)
Microsoft Removes Face Recognition Photos Amid Privacy Controversy, by Jeff John Roberts
How to Succeed in Business, According to Jeff Bezos, by Siraj Datoo & Bloomberg
NASA Reverses Course on Space Tourism, by Chris Morris
|Produced by Sy Mukherjee|