RARECast Episode 1: How Venture Philanthropy Can Accelerate Drug Development
Revealing interviews and hard hitting questions with some of the most influential leaders in the rare disease community is what RARECast, the new Global Genes Podcast, is all about. Host Daniel Levine of Levine Media Group and creator of The Bio Report (as recognized by Forbes) breaks new ground in this weekly online series. The veteran journalist explores the theme of new funding models as he speaks with Debra Miller, President and CEO of CureDuchenne during this week’s premiere episode. Miller discuss venture-philanthropy and the role that her organization has played in the success the biotech, Prosensa, which is being acquired by BioMarin for up to $760 M. Future episodes will continue to focus on the intersection of rare disease with all things business, science and policy.
Like The BIO Report, RARECast will feature one-on-one interviews with newsmakers and experts and will be made available through major podcast sites including Soundcloud, Stitcher, and iTunes starting in January 2015.
Prosensa, a biotechnology company developing a breakthrough therapy for the rare, fatal, genetic disease Duchenne muscular dystrophy suffered a big setback when disappointing, late-stage trial results of its lead therapeutic led its partner, GlaxoSmithKline, to return rights to the experimental drug in January 2014. Prosensa’s stock plummeted and the future of the company was uncertain. CureDuchenne, which had provided early funding for the company, stepped in once again.
This time it made a $7 million commitment to restore the clinical programs and move the company forward. We spoke to Debra Miller, president and CEO of CureDuchenne about her experience with Prosensa, the recent news that BioMarin would acquire the company for up to $840 million, and the role venture philanthropists like her can play in accelerating the development of life saving drugs.
About Daniel Levine
Daniel S. Levine is an award-winning business journalist who has reported on the life sciences, economic development, and business policy issues throughout his 25-year career. He founded Levine Media Group in 2013, which produces The Bio Report and RARECast podcasts. Levine most recently served as managing director of publications for Burrill & Company, a global financial services firm focused exclusively on the life sciences. There he headed corporate communications, served as editor of The Burrill Report, a monthly digital publication focused on the business of the life sciences, and hosted the publication’s weekly podcast. Since 2011, he’s served as the lead editor and writer of Burrill & Company’s acclaimed annual book on the biotech industry. His work with Burrill & Company began through the firm’s joint venture magazine startup The Journal of Life Sciences, where he led the creation of the publication’s website and served as web editor before advancing to editor.
Prior to joining Burrill & Company, Levine worked as special projects editor for the San Francisco Business Times where he won numerous awards for his coverage of the biotechnology industry. His work has appeared in The New York Times, The Industry Standard, TheStreet.com, and other national publications. He is also the founder of the online magazine Disgruntled: The Business Magazine for People who Work for a Living and author of Disgruntled: The Darker Side of the World of Work (Berkley/Boulevard). Prior to that, he served as the San Francisco bureau chief for Adweek magazine. His coverage of the biotechnology industry began at the start of his journalism career while a business reporter at The Oakland Tribune. Before entering journalism, Levine spent five years in the investment banking industry and served as a vice president and general principal of Herbert Young Securities in Great Neck, New York. He holds a bachelor’s in English from Vassar College and a master’s in journalism from the University of California, Berkeley.
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