Biotech leaders: All business with Russia must stop

Leaders and influential investors in the biotech and biopharmaceutical industries have banded together to denounce the Russian invasion of Ukraine, calling on their global peers to “completely disengage from Russian industry” and “stop investing in business.” Russians,” according to a joint letter signed in late February.

The chief executives of BioMarin, Ovid, Global Blood Therapeutics and ATAI Life Sciences, among others, have called for an immediate severance of all Russian business relations. Investment heavyweights such as RA Capital, Atlas Venture and Third Rock Ventures have also backed the industry-wide condemnation.

The plea calls for the halting of investments, the cancellation of projects to bring money within the country’s borders, the repudiation of funds from the country, the complete cessation of all collaboration and service agreements and the end of the trade for each product short of food and medicine. The multilingual letter calls Russia’s war a “barbaric act” and demonizes President Putin as well as “those who aid and embolden him”, namely the offspring of Russian business.

Ukraine happens to be a hotbed of clinical trial activity: the country has about 2,500 public medical institutions capable of conducting international trials, and about 500 ongoing trials are conducted each year. Companies with ongoing clinical trials in the region include GlaxoSmithKline, AstraZeneca, Biogen, Incyte and Gilead. Delays and disruptions can hopefully be mitigated by rapid relocation or reassignment of key resources.

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