You may have seen images of roses or flowers growing in the cracks of a sidewalk. In New York, there is another mysterious sprouting adding some beauty (and healthy deliciousness) to a random unexpected place: the East River near the Brooklyn Bridge.

A kayaker found two tomato plants in wood pilings in the East River, with 16 red, yellow and green tomatoes. How the plants got there is a bit of a mystery, but scientists think their stories likely began with a seagull. We’ll let you use your imagination.

While we are fond of tomatoes, and happy the East River is not as polluted as it once was, we’ll stick to the farmer’s market for our caprese and enjoy The Week That Was.



 We know obesity has been tied to increased risk for heart issues. Now, there’s evidence finding that weight loss surgery reduces such ailments. A study of 2,200 patients with obesity and type 2 diabetes who underwent weight loss surgery found that surgical intervention may have an impact beyond just the weight reduction alone. The surgery lowered rates of heart-related events and death rates from any cause by ~40% over 8 years.


 The measles outbreak in New York is over with no new cases since mid-July. The news comes as social media platforms ramp up efforts to divert users away from misinformation about vaccines. Last week Pinterest announced it will only return results from public health groups when users search “measles,” “vaccine safety” and other related health terms. On Wednesday, Facebook and Instragram debuted pop-up windows driving to websites from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and World Health Organization when users search for vaccine-related content, groups and pages or hashtags.


 ♪ “I’m high as a kite, I just might stop to check you out” ♪  More US clinical researchers may soon be checking out cannabis and psychedelics for their medicinal properties. Johns Hopkins is spending $17M on a Center for Psychedelic and Consciousness Research to boost study of hallucinogens such as LCD and psilocybin for mental health conditions. And, the US Drug Enforcement Administration will review dozens of pending applications from entities seeking registrations for manufacturing marijuana for researchers. Supply challenges had previously been a hurdle for clinical study of these substances.


 Pharma companies have long been collaborating with payers to develop value-based agreements to help patients access gene therapies which come with high price tags. Now, payers are announcing new business models that help employers afford these therapies. The Wall Street Journal reports Cigna will let employers and insurers pay “per-month fees” for a service that will cover the cost of gene therapies and manage their use. The article features perspectives from other insurers, too. We recommend a full read. 


 When does a person’s biological clock stop ticking? Perhaps, never. A 74-year-old woman in India gave birth to twins this week. The babies were conceived through IVF using a donor egg and the sperm of her 82-year-old husband. The ages of the couple have raised ethical concerns. When we’re 74, you’ll find us relaxing with a cocktail at the beach and not at mommy & me class.

The state of healthcare IPO market: Do still waters run deep?

By Eric Laub

There are questions looming about the condition of the market for companies seeking to go public since investment banking and financial services company, Cowen, released a report this week highlighting decreased investor interest in IPOs. The report found ~70% of investors surveyed had ‘decreased’ or greatly decreased’ interest in buying into IPOs as compared to last spring.

So, what should – or shouldn’t -- we read into this for the life science IPO market conditions? Here’s our take:


In the first half of 2019, it appeared that we may be on track for a record year for biotech IPOs. Then, the market went cold in mid-July -- spooking some. But worriers should remember that the IPO market has “fits and starts,” and one contributing factor is seasonality. Typically, July and August are not ideal times of year to hold the attention of institutional investors. As a result, bankers will normally steer company managements away from listing during summer months in the hopes of a higher valuation in the fall.


Healthcare has historically been an attractive investment area. And more than half of the IPOs priced this year were from the healthcare industry (58 of 101).* But, the industry is facing several headwinds, most notably, the highly charged political environment and drug pricing debates. An election cycle will add kindling to the fire– and can make quantifying the risks of investing in biotech IPO’s more daunting.

Investors have options

Overall, IPOs remain a good option relative to other forms of investment. The average year-to-date return from the issue price has been 30.88% vs the NASDAQ year to date return of 21.15%* But, IPOs can also be a gamble. Of the 101 IPOs this year, 61 are trading higher and 40 trading lower than their issue price.* 

In a marketplace with many options, can you blame investors for looking beyond IPOs? There are lots of established companies with solid track records, which are looking more attractive over the past quarter to help ensure yearly returns.

The net/net

IPO’s have a “window” with investors.  Sometimes the window is open for a long time, however, when investors shut the window, it’s unequivocal.  In healthcare, we are not there, at least not yet. Reduced interest does not mean there is no interest. Investors will heighten their scrutiny but companies with strong fundamentals, great science and solid leadership still have investor interest. There’s currently four life science IPO’s expected to price this month (see below).* We’ll be watching! 

  • IGM Biosciences $152MM,
  • Springworks Therapeutics $152MM,
  • Satsuma Pharmaceuticals $92MM,
  • 10X Genomics $362MM

*According to

Who wrote this? The managing editor of TWTW is Randi Kahn, who is hoping the Mets give her a win on her birthday this weekend. Thor is pitching so it has to be a good game, right?

Syneos Health Communications' Reputation & Risk Management Practice is a team of healthcare communications consultants, policy-shapers and crisis response specialists. We provide unique solutions to the evolving communications challenges in today’s healthcare industry, using evidence-based approaches to help our clients successfully navigate the most sensitive of situations.

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Image credits: Heart by ibrandify from the Noun Project, Measles Vaccine by Jason Dilworth from the Noun Project, Drug by Susannanova from the Noun Project, insurance by jhon from the Noun Project, Baby by Joris Millot from the Noun Project, dollar sign by AlfredoCreates  @  flaticondesign. com from the NounProject

And now please enjoy this disclaimer that prevents our team from getting in a heap of trouble: This report may contain links to external or third party websites. These links are provided solely for your convenience. Links taken to other sites are done so at your own risk and Syneos Health accepts no liability for any linked sites or their content. Syneos Health makes no warranties or representations, express or implied about such linked websites, the third parties they are owned and operated by, the information contained on them or the suitability or quality of any of their products or services. Syneos Health does not authorize the infringement of any intellectual property rights contained in material offered through these linked sites. Please refer to the use agreement and/or copyright statements of any external site you visit, or the terms and conditions of any externally provided web site for instructions, restrictions, and guidelines. If you have a question, please contact the webmaster of the external site.

About the Author:

Randi Kahn is a Senior Media & Content Director in our Reputation & Risk Management Practice, where she helps clients build and protect their brand reputations through executive thought leadership, public affairs, and issues preparation and response. She has worked for clients throughout the healthcare ecosystem including payers, providers, patient groups and pharma.