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Not Like it Used to Be

In a Q&A-style interview, Stratatech Corporation President Russ Smestad tells the Wisconsin State Journal that his career path — entering the biotech industry on the ground floor and moving up to start his own company — "would be difficult to replicate today." Smestad was hired by Cetus Madison in 1982, a time when "the biotech industry was really being formed," he says. "It was not like one could hire people already with a track record in this space."

Now, as president of Stratatech and chief operating officer of Biotech Profiles, an online database he launched to track Madison-area biotechs, Smestad says the industry looks much different. "There have been a lot of acquisitions of what I call mid-tier companies. The large companies are prospering; the small companies are stable; but our mid-tier is getting smaller," he says. These days, he adds, "it is tough for any early-stage biotech company."

The Scan

Not as High as Hoped

The Associated Press says initial results from a trial of CureVac's SARS-CoV-2 vaccine suggests low effectiveness in preventing COVID-19.

Finding Freshwater DNA

A new research project plans to use eDNA sampling to analyze freshwater rivers across the world, the Guardian reports.

Rise in Payments

Kaiser Health News investigates the rise of payments made by medical device companies to surgeons that could be in violation of anti-kickback laws.

Nature Papers Present Ginkgo Biloba Genome Assembly, Collection of Polygenic Indexes, More

In Nature this week: a nearly complete Ginkgo biloba genome assembly, polygenic indexes for dozens of phenotypes, and more.