I’m in Florida, at the Lake Nona Impact Forum, where I had the opportunity to interview a man who is trying to cure Covid-19. Given his track record, he may well succeed. He is George Yancopoulos, chief science officer and cofounder of Regeneron Pharmaceuticals. Yancopoulos developed a treatment for Ebola, using an innovative technique that involves infecting thousands of mice implanted with human genes to find protective antibodies. Now he’s doing the same for the new coronavirus. If all goes well, Regeneron could be producing a treatment within two or three months.
Yancopoulos got his start in health science as a high school student, when he won the Westinghouse Science Talent Search, which later became the Intel Science Talent Search and now, thanks to Yancopoulos, is the Regeneron Science Talent Search. When I asked his advice for government policy makers on health care, he answered:
“There is so much focus on affordability and access in health care. And price is a huge burden. But we don’t pay enough attention to the biggest problem, which is the huge burden of disease. We should be focusing our attention on innovation, to try and come up with solutions. That’s far more important than affordability and access. If we don’t come up with innovations that change the future, it’s all going to be over.”
My conversation with Yancopoulos reminded me why I’m glad to have made the transition from working in Washington, where I spent the first half of my career, to writing about business. Business, at its best, is focused on solving difficult problems; the federal government, increasingly, won’t fix even the easy ones.
Separately, I want to take a moment this morning to call attention to the extraordinary program put together by my colleagues who are organizing Fortune’s Brainstorm Finance, which is being held in Montauk, N.Y., June 17-18. The event is unique in bringing legacy finance CEOs into the same room with technology disrupters, to chart the rapidly evolving future of finance. Attendees this year include the heads of Fannie Mae, US Bancorp, and the CFTC, as well as digital finance players like Zelle, Honey, Betterment and Brazil’s Nubank.
Topics for discussion: big tech’s forays into banking and cryptocurrency, the implications of China’s “digital yuan,” the multi-billion dollar M&A that’s recently been remaking the brokerage industry and more. Financial dealmakers with us in the Hamptons include Jeffrey Sprecher, the Intercontinental Exchange CEO who, after backing away from a bid for eBay this month, may still be shopping. More details here.
It’s invitation-only, but there are a few spots left for CEO Daily readers. If you’re interested in attending, shoot me an email today.
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