Posts Tagged ‘Popper and Co’
I’m pleased to announce that Stephanie Kreml, M.D. has returned to Popper and Company, joining our core team of life science advisors as Principal.
Like all of our team members, Stephanie is committed to delivering perspective, value, and high-quality, hands-on service to clients across the life sciences spectrum. As a practicing physician with an engineering background, Stephanie brings a unique multi-disciplinary perspective to helping life sciences companies address diverse healthcare issues. She is an excellent addition to our existing team of experts whose operational backgrounds span clinical, technology, marketing and finance in a variety of capacities in the diagnostics, medical device, pharmaceuticals and digital health industries.
You can read Stephanie’s full bio here. Please join me in welcoming her, and please do not hesitate to reach us if you have questions that Stephanie can help address, including those focused on business strategy, commercialization, diligence, and product development. We’re excited to have Stephanie back on board, and to put our entire team of experienced industry experts to work addressing your life science company’s complex challenges.
Tags: clinical research, medical technologies, Popper & Company, Popper and Co, Popper and company, Stephanie Kreml
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As the founder of the 10,000+-member Digital Health group on LinkedIn, I can’t help but see that there’s a perfect storm brewing in healthcare, and it’s one with surprisingly little turbulence. As we see more employees in healthcare (whether it’s pharma, a hospital, or device and diagnostics sales) demanding to use their personal devices on the job, we’re also seeing technology and drug developers embracing the use of mobile devices in the field. Now, the big data that traditionally was accessed only from headquarters is being downloaded, wirelessly transmitted, and read by employees across the healthcare spectrum through social networks and the Internet from the clinic, laboratory, office and road.
This is the digital revolution in healthcare: not only are Microsoft® products ceasing to become the predominant platform for healthcare employees, providers and consumers, the decisions to adopt certain technologies are being made by employees, providers, and customers (and less often by the corporate IT department). For example:
- Pharmaceutical companies are buying more Apple® iPad® tablets for their sales representatives and executives to use to communicate, download data, and otherwise manage their accounts remotely. The number of life sciences companies planning to buy Apple hardware jumped 220% since 2009.
- While eight percent of hospitals fully enable access for user-owned (BYOD) devices right now, 58 percent plan to give iPad users remote access to hospital applications, and 85 percent provide some degree of access (Internet-only, limited applications, etc.). Those are big first steps for a highly security-conscious business.
- Pfizer has launched the world’s first virtual clinical trial, using mobile phones and web-based technology so the trial’s 600 participants can enter data and manage their activity without reporting in person to a clinical site. The trial, testing a drug to treat overactive bladder, allows patients to use mobile devices to keep an electronic diary and report results directly. Researchers can monitor activity and report results to participants, all across the Internet.
This is a major shift from paper-based systems used just a decade ago, through pushing browser-based apps to mobile devices (with predictably disappointing results from customers), to integrating customer-, employee- and provider-based experiences into new technology design and strategy. This shift has resulted in greater penetration into specific markets, higher employee engagement, and ultimately, could provide a better, more customer-driven healthcare system.
Could this convergence of technology and consumer use be a perfect storm, with blue skies in the forecast? Can traditional healthcare IT embrace this new world of customer-driven, BYOD technology? What’s the best way to manage security and privacy issues? Is there a strong hesitancy to embrace a disruptive innovation? Tell us what you’re thinking and how your life science company is tracking rapid changes in the digital health space.
Tags: digital health, employee devices, healthcare IT, life science, mobile health, mobile healthcare, Popper and Co
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I’m delighted to announce that Paul Sonnier, formerly a strategic advisor to Popper and Company, has joined our core team as Head of Digital Health Strategy.
Our core team provides diversity and expertise to resolve problems and create strategies in the health arena for our life science clients. Paul, who has recently been described as a catalyst in the wireless and mobile health field, brings his familiarity, insights and experience to our existing team of experts whose operational backgrounds span clinical, technology, marketing and finance in a variety of capacities in the diagnostics, medical device and pharmaceutical industries.
You can read Paul’s full bio here. Please join me in welcoming him, and I hope you’ll reach out to one of us directly or comment below if you have questions or issues pertaining to digital health that Paul can help to address. We’re excited to offer you solutions at the cross-section of life sciences and digital technology.
Tags: digital health expert, Head of Digital Health Strategy, life sciences consulting, Paul Sonnier, Popper and Co, Popper and Co team, Popper and company
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As part of Popper and Company’s ongoing effort to scan the health care universe and share innovative ideas and solutions with you, the 2009 Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine has risen to the surface. That year, Elizabeth Blackburn, Carol Greider and Jack Szostack received the prize for discovering “how chromosomes are protected by telomeres and the enzyme telomerase.” The Nobel Laureates demonstrated that chromosomes are protected from degradation by telomeres, which sit at the ends of our chromosomes, similar to the plastic cap on the end of a shoelace. There’s a lesson here that plays on a theme that Popper and Company team members often discuss among ourselves – the role the individual plays in his or her own health and longevity.
Let me explain: The telomere protects our chromosomes from becoming tattered and damaged. The enzyme telomerase helps maintain a healthy cell. As telomerase levels and activity diminish over time, our telomeres shorten and no longer divide, our cells age and no longer function properly; they then die, and well, eventually we die.
Shortened telomeres do not divide properly and can throw our bodies out of balance, leading to increased inflammation and illness. Telomeres are influenced by non-genetic “lifestyle” factors such as well-being, diet and exercise. Telomere length may be influenced by psychological stress and depression, and such states as “seeing red” and “rumination.” The recent TEDMED 2011 talk by Calvin Hurley and Elissa Epel on how stress ages cells and cuts telomeres short brings up some interesting ideas on how to possibly alter stress-shortened telomeres. Depending on the type of stress, the level of stress, and the meaning we assign to that stress, it can change our physiological state and increase blood pressure, heart rate, and levels of insulin and cortisol—all of which influence our biology.
In some respects, we have the potential to create our own “wireless” applications through the messages we send from the brain to the rest of the body. In addition, messages sent from the environment can change the “connections” in our nervous system. This idea originated more than 100 years ago, but it is an area that continues to receive a lot of interest and attention.
Thoughts and well-being influence the many cellular activities in our body that in turn influence health or illness. Simple activities like mindful meditation, exercise and relaxation may positively influence how our cells age.
In the search for better and innovative ideas to create ‘quality of life,’ some of the onus may be on us to implement change in our daily activities by embracing stress-reducing activities that provide high value.
Do you think that our mental state can forestall aging at this chromosomal level? Or, is this an artifact of cell biology research that might not be applicable to humans? Does this present a new area for therapy (or at least therapeutic research for life science companies)? Share your thoughts with us.
Tags: cells aging, chromosomes, longevity, meditation, Popper and Co, telomerase, telomerase enzyme, telomeres
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An Interview with AdvaMed Conference Producer Ray Briscuso
In preparation for AdvaMed 2011: The MedTech Conference, we had a unique opportunity to interview Ray Briscuso, President and CEO at Life Sciences Conference Group, LLC. Each year, Briscuso works with the Advanced Medical Technology Association (AdvaMed) to produce one of the most important meetings focused on medical devices and diagnostics, and which brings together more than 1,500 key MedTech executives from companies in every sector of the industry. It is the premier conference, exhibition and partnering event for medical device, diagnostic and health information companies. In the past, internationally respected voices, such as former Presidents George Bush (Sr.) and Bill Clinton, have been featured as plenary speakers.
I am eagerly anticipating September 26-28 when AdvaMed 2011 will be held in Washington, DC. Following are some insights and highlights from our discussion with Ray about how to get the most out of this year’s event:
Q: AdvaMed 2011 promises to be an action-packed three days. What discussions, events, or talks are you most looking forward to this year? What will be 2011’s most pressing issue?
A: I’ll answer that in three parts:
- First, I’m always interested in the CEO Spotlights at the conference. We get some of the top names in the industry that literally sit on a barstool and have conversations with our attendees. This year, look for discussions from industry leaders such as Steve MacMillan, President & CEO, Stryker Corporation; Joe Almeida, President & CEO, Covidien; and Jeff Binder, President & CEO, Biomet, Inc., to name a few.
- Second, I value opportunities to hear from former presidents of the United States. This year we’ve got former President George W. Bush. In the past, Presidents Clinton and Bush (Sr.) have spoken – you could have heard a pin drop during their talks.
- Third, because the global financial situation is contributing to continued turbulence in financial markets, I’m interested in sessions that focus on investment in our industry – everything from venture capital to private banking dollars. I want to learn: What’s happening to the money? Who is getting investments? This is also the answer to what I believe is the most pressing issue to be discussed at the conference overall this year. I expect discussions on economic development incentives to continue to foster the industry within the United States. There is an opportunity to help support, create, and nurture an industry that pays high wages and employs highly skilled people.
Q: As you mentioned, plenary speakers at the AdvaMed Conference are very important and influential people, and this year is no different. What issues will the speakers, including former President George W. Bush and Maryland Governor Martin O’Malley, address? How did they get involved in this year’s event?
A: With respect to Governor O’Malley, we invited him because there is such a large medical technology industry in Maryland; it’s a key part of the O’Malley Administration strategy to get to know the industry and to foster its growth. We saw that and invited him – and we are pleased he is willing to make the trip to Washington. While a lot of Marylanders think about the bioscience medical industry in the state, Maryland is also home to many device and diagnostic companies such as BD and Qiagen.
As for President Bush, his family has a long history of personal experience with medical devices, which helps provide a personal connection for him as a speaker.
The U.S. Secretary of Health and Human Services, Kathleen Sebelius; the FDA Director of the Center for Devices and Radiological Health, Dr. Jeffrey Shuren; and Counselor to the FDA Commissioner John Taylor will also be part of the meeting this year.
Q: In Vitro Diagnostics is a new Program Track at this year’s conference. What should we expect to hear about in this discussion? Why was it added?
A: AdvaMed has been around for more than 35 years. Last year, the association started “AdvaMedDx” to focus solely on the regulatory, payment, and legislative needs of its in vitro diagnostics (IVD) members. AdvaMed is very proud that all 10 major diagnostic manufacturers are members of AdvaMedDx. The members asked us to make sure AdvaMed 2011 was the de facto meeting for AdvaMedDx – and it is. We added a dedicated track and a great deal of other programming specific to the diagnostics industry.
Q: I’m particularly interested in new tools being developed to address inefficiencies in the healthcare system and believe this is a general strategy that will be quite profitable to those companies that execute well. What are your thoughts on this front?
A: In the current budget environment, all parts of the health care industry are being asked to do more with less. Medical technology delivers tremendous patient value so AdvaMed member companies are uniquely situated to help improve value across the continuum of care.
We’ll be educating attendees about proposed government changes. We’ll feature 60 company presentations, many from early-stage companies seeking to address healthcare system inefficiencies. Our members know the importance of medical and economic value in the care setting. This theme will permeate the conference.
Q: AdvaMed conferences bring together people of varied backgrounds with a stake in the MedTech industry. How does this impact the value of the conference?
A: Our conference features investors, seasoned business leaders, and niche service providers with the right experience – we have it all. For attendees, this isn’t about finding a needle in a haystack but rather it’s an efficient way to connect with others who can help them. Like Delta Airlines uses Atlanta as a hub, everyone flies in for our conference and our MedTech Partnering software system allows companies to match needs with skills. It is unique to have such a huge cross-section of the industry, and its senior leadership, represented in one place. We provide efficiencies to small companies who accomplish a lot by attending the MedTech conference.
Q: What advice would you offer first-time attendees for how to make the most out of the conference?
A: The key is to prepare in advance of the conference. Opt-in to the partneringONE® MedTech Partnering system we have as part of the conference. This will open you up to a searchable database to look at anyone else who opted in. You can post a profile, describe your company, and explain your reasons for attending the conference (e.g., to meet with potential strategic partners, to secure funding, to gather regulatory advice). You can search for those who fit your profile and find the right people with which to meet. Look at the schedule in advance and lock down much of your days. During open times, go to a session and introduce yourself to a speaker.
If you don’t plan in advance, you’ll still get your money’s worth, but you are leaving more to chance. Our telephone number is 202-434-7213 and our web address is www.advamed2011.com. Attendees are welcome to call us for more planning tips to ensure you get every ounce of benefit from coming to the conference.
Are you attending this year’s conference? Will your company be participating in MedTech Partnering? I’d be happy to meet up with anyone interested. Please feel free to share your contact information, comments, or your own questions for Ray Briscuso below.
Tags: AdvaMed, AdvaMed 2011, Advanced Medical Technology Association, diagnostics, medical devices, Popper and Co, Ray Briscuso
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Having a pulse on global trends in the biopharmaceutical industry requires a wide range of insights from experience in pharmacological research and technology development through to the core operations of large-scale and startup life science businesses. With this in mind, I’m pleased to welcome Dr. Andreas Muehler as our second strategic advisor. Dr. Muehler’s experience with preclinical and clinical development, major product launches, licensing, business development, and marketing provide him with a unique combination of technical and business perspectives.
In the United States, Dr. Muehler developed and managed multiple startup medical device and medical technology companies. Among them were 3TP LLC d/b/a CAD Sciences (White Plains, NY), a medical software company that was sold to iCAD Medical in 2008. Dr. Muehler was also President & CEO of MicroMRI Inc (Langhorne, PA), a medical device company that received FDA clearance for both hardware and software components during his tenure. Dr. Muehler has also been managing director of a German healthcare private equity fund, Palladius Healthcare GmbH in Munich, which acquired distressed medical device companies. Read the rest of Dr. Muehler’s impressive bio here.
Dr. Muehler’s role as a strategic advisor to Popper and Company, along with Dr. Mills who we wrote about earlier this month, provides a wonderful opportunity for us to convey a truly global view of the industry on behalf of our clients. We’re especially excited about Dr. Muehler’s in-depth knowledge of the medical device marketplace, and look forward to featuring his insights via our blog. I was able to spend a few moments with Dr. Muehler recently and following are some of the highlights of our discussion about his background and experience:
CP: You were trained as a physician. How did you first enter the industry side of things? Was it a deliberate move from medicine to industry? Would you have done anything differently?
AM: When I went to medical school, what interested me and was exciting to me was the technology involved in health care. When I started in radiology – CAT scans were new, MRI was brand new – and the technology was of interest to me. After doing clinical work during the day, the most exciting time for me was after 5 p.m. when I could do new things with technology. So, I went to UCSF for a post doctorate fellowship to see what it was like to focus on technology all day. From there, I stayed with what I really like to do.
CP: You’ve engaged in many roles within the industry. Which was your favorite and why?
AM: I very much enjoyed serving as CEO of a medical device company dealing with diagnosis of and therapy control for osteoporosis. When I came in, the company was building large, expensive-to-develop devices. It was a difficult time. I was able to work with the people holding the technical expertise while at the same time I tried to understand the market, leveraging good people and positioning the company as a provider of software and algorithms, which was less expensive. Implementing change was at first a tough decision for the founder, but then he was supportive and we were successful. A year later, results of the new strategy were evident with an FDA approval of the software package. The employees were on board and the company was going in the right direction.
CP: Are there examples of business leaders others should emulate?
AM: There are lots of excellent leaders out there. Learn from them and take the best from each. As a leader, you have to have versatility and flexibility. You have to be able to listen and convince others—win their hearts and minds. You have to make tough decisions quickly and you have to adapt to situations with your own leadership style in a thoughtful way. And you must be careful to avoid generalizing. Examples from other business leaders work well in some situations but not others. You have to learn, but adapt as you go. And be aware of your own myopia sometimes as one often duplicates where you had success in the past. Don’t rely on assumptions of how it should be done.
CP: What’s your key business philosophy?
AM: I’ve mainly been involved in startups and early growth settings. I’ve met a lot of people who want to be involved in startups or form their own companies. I always tell them, it can be very rewarding. They usually say “I know” because they’ve seen examples of amassed wealth. But, I always warn people not to get involved in startups only because they believe it will lead to wealth. You’ll see that only one in five turn out to be successful and even then, it’s a rare example when one gets lost in wealth. Basically, you should get involved early so you can experience the excitement of a startup. Look back every two months or so and you’ll be amazed and how much you’ve contributed versus working in a larger company. It has to be more than the money. Enjoy what you do and where you are doing it. The financial rewards will come eventually.
We’re fortunate to have Dr. Muehler working along with us, lending his wealth of knowledge and international experience. We’ll provide more on his take on the differences in the device markets between the U.S. and EU soon. Until then, please feel free to let us know what you think about the European and U.S. markets for new medical technologies. Processes and legislation are constantly changing so it’s an ever-changing course. What agencies, trends, topics are you watching? Share your thoughts here.
Tags: business, Dr. Andreas Muehler, leadership, life sciences, Popper and Co, startups, Strategic Advisors
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Today’s post is an exciting one for me as I introduce our new strategic advisor, Dr. F. John Mills. With an extensive background that includes more than 25 years at the board and executive levels of major international corporations, Dr. Mills adds profound insights to our expanding operations and provides a new resource of vital information for our clients.
It’s difficult to encapsulate his entire career in a few short paragraphs and I encourage you to review his bio in the About section of our website. In brief, Dr. Mills served for three years as corporate senior vice president and president of clinical support services for Covance, Inc., where he was responsible for a $300 million per year clinical services division that employed more than 2,000 staff members globally. Prior to that, he was based in the United Kingdom as corporate vice president for Covance’s European clinical division. Earlier in his career, Dr. Mills held senior positions in Asia and Europe with Janssen Pharmaceutica, a division of Johnson & Johnson, Inc. His expertise includes extensive knowledge of clinical research outsourcing, pharmaceutical development, and global business management.
Dr. Mills received his medical degree from Cambridge University and his doctorate in endocrinology from Surrey University in the United Kingdom. He holds diplomas in pharmaceutical medicine, aviation medicine and marketing, and has authored more than 40 scientific papers, as well as a textbook on aviation medicine. He is currently Chairman of the Board of BioStorage Technologies, a company he co-founded, where he works with the board to determine the strategic direction, quality standards and client service values that position BioStorage Technologies as the benchmark in biological sample management.
Having Dr. Mills assisting us as strategic advisor is a wonderful opportunity for Popper and Company and for our clients. Here, I’m pleased to share with you some takeaways from a recent conversation I had with him, including some words of wisdom about the globalization of our industry. Stay tuned for more from Dr. Mills as we are pleased he has agreed to serve as a guest blogger.
CP: First, Dr. Mills…what led you to a career in biopharmaceuticals?
FJM: I originally was in the Royal Air Force and pursued aviation medicine and endocrinology. When it became apparent that the UK wasn’t going to be investing significantly in aviation, I began looking for another career. Paul Janssen, founder of Janssen Pharmaceutica, who was a great drug pioneer, interviewed me to establish a UK sleep/pharmacokinetics lab. We set that up and it eventually led to the birth of risperidone, which became a major antipsychotic drug. I held several roles within Janssen Pharmaceutica, moving through leadership positions in medical and medical marketing, and eventually to be Regional Director for Southeast Asia, based in Singapore.
CP: You have incredible international experience. What perspectives can you share from participating in the international biopharmaceutical marketplace for the last 20 plus years?
FJM: From 1988-1991, there wasn’t much pharma work going on in the Far East. Today, everyone is expanding in China. There’s a general globalization of the pharma industry (from U.S. to E.U. to Eastern Europe to Asia) in search of patients to participate in clinical trials and in the study of Eastern diseases such as hepatitis and nasopharyngeal carcinoma.
There are also significant economies to launching a product globally, although it’s not easy due to the complexities of dealing with different regulatory authorities in each country. When I was in Asia, GlaxoSmithKline was the one company that “got it” from a market perspective. They did a great job with the worldwide launch of Zantac®, for example.
I now believe that the companies and CROs who truly operate globally will be the winners.
CP: What insights can you share from your Covance experience?
FJM: I ran the clinical business in Europe and grew the company significantly with staff booming from 100 to 800 in a short period of time. I learned a lot about getting the right people for the right jobs; people who could grow with the company.
In terms of lessons: 1) Hire ahead of the curve – i.e., more senior people than you need at that moment, more experience than seems necessary for the job at hand. 2) Think about infrastructure needs: IT growth, for example. Think ahead while you pedal like crazy. 3) Customer service is critical. The CRO industry exists to enhance client capabilities so there needs to be a great symbiotic relationship with excellent service and project management.
CP: What’s it like to run an international company from the United States?
FJM: We faced communications challenges across the globe. When ideas come into the U.S. from another part of the world, for example, they are often condemned, and here I was a Brit running headquarters in Indianapolis and sharing ideas from the rest of the world. One of the first things I did was to work to build a global leadership team. The team needed to be diverse both ethnically and in terms of geography.
By the way, I hate “R.O.W.” as designation for “rest of world.” The rest of the world comes up with ideas that have to be heard when you are part of an international company.
CP: What led you to start a specimen storage company?
FJM: At Central Labs (Covance), we stored millions of samples as a complicated diversion, it wasn’t our core business. Soon, more and more companies were talking about biomarkers in the blood – and I realized that the biopharmaceutical industry would need a very high quality place to store more and more samples for longer periods of time. At BioStorage, we offer impeccable quality, impeccable recordkeeping and impeccable transportation of specimens, a standard above that currently available in industry and academia. Today we have 130 customers, many millions of samples and competitors popping up on the landscape.
CP: What philosophies or words of wisdom would you offer to other entrepreneurs in the biopharmaceutical landscape?
FJM: First, it’s a dangerous mistake to start a business without a large client as your foundation. And as an add-on to that point, it’s amazingly easy to wind up not having enough cash. Cash REALLY is king. Also, if you’re coming from a big company, you may not realize how unimportant you are as a small business owner. Accept that you are small and that you may need to start with small clients. Never forget that customers must always come first. And finally, executives often forget to plan, especially early on in business. Fortunately, we had a business continuity plan from day one. So, when an electrician blew up our electrical system, we had a contingency and didn’t lose a sample! I can’t emphasize enough how critical it is to have a back-up plan early on.
Again, we’re extremely pleased to have Dr. Mills working along with us and I’m sure his influence will be evident in future posts. Let us know your thoughts on some of the interesting global trends happening in your area of biopharmaceuticals. Or, feel free to share below your own questions for Dr. Mills.
Tags: biopharmaceuticals experts, biostorage technologies, business leadership advice, covance, F. John Mills, janssen pharmaceutica, Popper and Co
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According to staffers at The Scientist, “If developing interesting new technologies and products really is the lifeblood of economic health, then the life sciences industry is innovation’s beating heart.”
Are advanced technologies critical to the development of your new life science products and services, or to the companies in which you invest? If so, then you likely are aware of how quickly these technologies are changing and how hard it is to stay on top of these changes.
You also are likely seeing the rapid convergence of technologies that have traditionally served separate and distinct markets. For example, drug development and companion diagnostics are now tightly linked in ways that require you and your company to possess an ever-wider body of knowledge that can directly affect the success of your pipeline, your business, or your investments.
Opportunities for Creative Synergy
I’m interested in the way physicists, computer scientists, chemists, biologists, clinicians and business development professionals are now closely working together. These interactions provide a tremendous opportunity for creative synergy and they pave the way for what is likely to be an extended period of intense innovation, product development, and significant changes in the delivery of health care, all of which are likely to affect your business.
I – along with my colleagues at Popper and Company – spend part of just about every day reviewing the scientific literature and trade journals to keep abreast of developments in the areas of basic and applied science, technology development, and regulatory affairs. I am very interested in all aspects of technology, and I am excited about the opportunity to use this blog to share my observations about recent developments that have an impact on the life sciences industry and your business. These developments are occurring rapidly, often outpacing advances in regulatory affairs and reimbursement practices.
Leveraging Our Network
Our network of life sciences clients and contacts provides an opportunity for us to participate in all of these areas, and has provided a wealth of experience and ideas. I’ll be sharing my observations and ideas with you, informing your work as a life science investor, entrepreneur, business development pro or someone interested in the impact that technology is having on the life sciences industry.
Are there particular technologies you’d like more information on? Can you share an example of a scientific or technological convergence that is having an impact on your business? What do you think of The Scientist’s “Top 10 Innovations 2010” list? I hope you’ll comment here to spark further discussion. Thanks!
Tags: innovations 2010, life science technology, life sciences, Popper and Co, Shane Climie, The Scientist
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