Senior Writer, Biotech Adam is STAT’s national biotech columnist, reporting on the intersection of biotech and Wall Street. He’s also a co-host of “The Readout LOUD” podcast. By Adam Feuerstein Jan. 25, 2018 Reprints What’s included? Unlock this article by subscribing to STAT+ and enjoy your first 30 days free! GET STARTED Biotech Daily reporting and analysis The most comprehensive industry coverage from a powerhouse team of reporters Subscriber-only newsletters Daily newsletters to brief you on the most important industry news of the day STAT+ Conversations Weekly opportunities to engage with our reporters and leading industry experts in live video conversations Exclusive industry events Premium access to subscriber-only networking events around the country The best reporters in the industry The most trusted and well-connected newsroom in the health care industry And much more Exclusive interviews with industry leaders, profiles, and premium tools, like our CRISPR Trackr. STAT+ is STAT’s premium subscription service for in-depth biotech, pharma, policy, and life science coverage and analysis. Our award-winning team covers news on Wall Street, policy developments in Washington, early science breakthroughs and clinical trial results, and health care disruption in Silicon Valley and beyond. @adamfeuerstein Biogen (BIIB) bought an early-stage ALS drug Thursday, so cue up the “sad trombones” if you were hoping for a blockbuster biotech acquisition.But Spinraza sales rebounded nicely in the fourth quarter and the multiple sclerosis business remains in good shape. Biogen offered 2018 financial guidance a tick higher than consensus. Biogen earnings lack blockbuster acquisition pop, but executives pledge to keep looking Log In | Learn More GET STARTED Tags biotechfinanceSTAT+ About the Author Reprints Biogen CEO Michel Vounatsos Biogen Adam Feuerstein [email protected] What is it?
Updated, 7:45 p.m. ET CHARLOTTE, N.C. – Kevin Kisner is a statistical anomaly, a ShotLink unicorn who for two rounds has defied all that we thought we knew about the new and improved Quail Hollow Club. At 5-foot-10, 165 pounds he’s done what the hard swinging likes of Rory McIlroy, Dustin Johnson and Bubba Watson could not – post consecutive rounds in the 60s and move into a share of the lead with Hideki Matsuyama at the PGA Championship. The PGA Quail Hollow was supposed to be a bomber’s utopia where the game’s biggest and brightest would have an overwhelming advantage. Kisner had other plans. The 127th-longest driver on the PGA Tour, that’s out of 202 players for those keeping track, made the two-hour drive from his home in South Carolina to Quail Hollow last month for a scouting trip and came away with a common impression. “It was raining and wet, and I said, ‘Man, this place is going to be so long; I don’t know how they are going to compete,’” he said on Friday following his second-consecutive 67. Turns out there is a plan for Kisner to play the sprawling North Carolina gem; it just took a little research and a monsoon of patience – which has not always been among the 33-year-old’s strengths. PGA Championship: Scores | Live blog: Day 2 | Full coverage Because of Quail Hollow’s length – roughly 7,600 yards the first two days – and a new set of Bermuda grass greens that McIlroy opined automatically made the layout at least two strokes more difficult than when it usually hosts the Wells Fargo Championship in May, Kisner figured he had four legitimate birdie holes – Nos. 7, 8, 14 and 15. “Those are my holes to score well. If I play them 3 under in the next two days, take that,” he said with a dash of southern simplicity. On Thursday he added birdies at Nos. 6 and 18, to take a share of the Day 1 lead; and on Friday he made an eagle at the par-5 seventh. But lack of length is not what makes Kisner the ultimate statistical outlier this week; although it’s worth pointing out he’s had five drives of 300 yards or more thus far. Where the son of Aiken, S.C., broke the mold is what he’s done with an iron (normally of the mid- to long-iron variety) in his hand. Kisner leads the field in greens in regulation, going 30-for-36 through two rounds, despite having an average approach shot of 186 yards. “It speaks to how well he’s hitting it,” figured Kisner’s swing coach, John Tillery. At least part of that proficiency is a credit to Kisner’s driving accuracy – 21 of 28 fairways hit – but mostly it’s been his ability to temper an admittedly aggressive instinct. “We talked about it and there are holes where he needs to aim away from the flag when he’s got a 6-iron in his hand,” Tillery said. “It used to just drive him crazy to do that, but it’s been a big attitude change at the majors.” There will be those who will wonder if Kisner has the staying power to finish off a major, even after such a strong start. In 11 previous major appearances his best finish is a tie for 18th at the 2016 PGA, a run of events that includes a tie for 58th earlier this year at the U.S. Open. But it was at Erin Hills where the seeds of his new subtle approach took hold. It was following a third-round 76 that Tillery and Kisner’s caddie, Duane “Dewey” Bock, addressed what could best be described as competitive overzealousness. “We talked about his mind set, he was in good form but wasn’t playing well,” Tillery said. “If anything he tends to be too aggressive, so a course like [Quail Hollow] forces him to dial it back.” For Kisner, that means picking your birdie holes and avoiding the kind of miscues that separate majors from your run-of-the-mill events, even if that means aiming 30 feet away from the hole. There’s also something to be said for Kisner’s ability at overcoming the obvious at Quail Hollow. This is where bombers come to play, nearly 4 and ½ miles of winding rough and rugged edges, particularly after a wet summer. Kisner could have lamented his fate, grumbled about course set up and 524-yard par 4s, but instead he devised a plan and for two days has executed that blueprint to perfection. “In years past, he probably would have been that way and we wouldn’t be in the spot we’re in,” Tillery said. “He’s matured a ton.” Call it maturity, call it a major mentality, for Kisner he knows this is the way you win major championships and after a lifetime of professional trial and error he’s ready to take that next step. “I’ve been upset with how I’ve played in the majors so far in my career. I feel like I have the game to compete in majors and tons of 30th- to 40th-, 50th-place finishes,” he said. “That’s kind of been our goal for the year. We haven’t played well in them yet this year but every year you learn more about the majors and how to approach them.” After two days we’ve all learned, thanks to Kisner’s performance, that what we thought we knew about statistics can be wildly misleading.
The Automotive Industry Action Group (AIAG) announced the appointment of Courtney Harvath, senior director, supply chain, Ryder System Inc., and Jeffrey Wagner, corporate quality director, powertrain and global quality director, sealing and gaskets business unit, Federal-Mogul Corp., to its board of directors. More than 20 executives from the automotive and transportation OEM and supplier community currently serve on the AIAG board, representing a cross-section of its member companies.AdvertisementClick Here to Read MoreAdvertisementAIAG’s board of directors is responsible for maintaining the organization’s commitment to a seamless, efficient and responsible supply chain by providing strategic direction and overseeing the organization’s collaborative effort to build and enhance the industry’s competitiveness.“AIAG is in a very unique position to drive sustainable improvements within the automotive industry,” said Harvath. “AIAG provides a robust platform for supply chain stakeholders of all sizes to effectively collaborate and ultimately drive change within the industry.”Harvath notes that AIAG’s ability to facilitate action-oriented work groups that develop new supply chain standards and best practices is paramount to evolving higher-quality, stronger corporate responsibility and more efficient supply chains. “The AIAG leadership team and its network of industry volunteers are reshaping the automotive supply chain.”“AIAG is in a one-of-a-kind position in the transportation industry because it provides the only real and effective connection among all stakeholders in the supply chain,” said Wagner. “AIAG is a clearinghouse of information and best practices and has the experience on how to share those across the industry.”Both executives bring unique interests, experiences and strengths to the board, according to AIAG.Harvath’s experience, which spans 14 years, includes strategic network optimization, operational implementation, transformational leadership and LEAN process integration. He is passionate about developing efficient, cost-effective and transparent inbound material flows and is the first logistics provider to have a seat on the AIAG board of directors.Advertisement“I’m very excited to bring a logistics and transportation perspective to the board of directors,” he says. “Logistics providers play an integral role in corporate responsibility, supply chain risk management and overall quality, through the networks we design and manage, materials and vehicles that we transport, and stakeholders we engage. My goal is to engage logistics thought leadership across North America and evaluate how logistics providers can play a larger role in shaping our industry. AIAG has the ability to provide that platform.”Wagner’s experience includes seven years headquartered in China where he led the growth of several product line technologies for Federal-Mogul, expanding his company’s presence there from a virtual start-up to double-digit year-on-year growth. Throughout a diverse 30-year career with Federal-Mogul, he has held positions from engineering and sales to operations management, product strategy and now quality — a breadth of expertise that mirrors AIAG’s all-encompassing engagement with the supply chain, he says.Wagner is particularly passionate about the role that processes play in optimizing reliability. “The transportation industry is extremely complex, so it is most important to identify the correct processes and make relationships to them,” he says. “The common denominator is that everything is connected to a process. The simpler the process, the more effective it is and the more quickly you can get down to what’s really important.”AdvertisementThrough their service on the AIAG board, Harvath and Wagner look forward to impacting key industry initiatives like the structural changes in the upcoming new ISO/TS global quality standard and working to improve U.S.-Mexico border security and visibility. “AIAG has the ability to provide the platform to address just about any issue that challenges our industry,” said Harvath, “and it’s an honor to be nominated to serve.”“AIAG provides an overview at the grassroots level of what the industry requires and then complements that need with excellent training and events,” added Wagner. “AIAG also plays a key role in escalating any concerns within the supply chain to the attention of OEMs and the governing bodies. AIAG can bridge a lot of gaps so that new standards are effectively implemented, administered and executed, and has a great vantage point from which to do this. I look forward to serving on the board of an organization that really makes tangible improvements to our industry.”