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Partnership to focus on Alzheimer’s disease, breast cancer, diabetes, obesity

Vlad Poptamas

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Centene Corporation (NYSE: CNC) and Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis announced today a partnership to transform and accelerate research into treatments for Alzheimer’s disease, breast cancer, diabetes and obesity. All are common, debilitating and often deadly diseases that affect millions of people worldwide, at all levels of income.

As part of the partnership, Centene will fund up to $100 million over 10 years in research at Washington University. The funding will galvanize the School of Medicine’s Personalized Medicine Initiative, which aims to develop customized disease treatment and prevention for patients. Innovations that arise from the initiative will be commercialized through the ARCH Personalized Medicine Initiative, a joint venture between the School of Medicine and Centene. Reflecting the philosophy of both institutions, ARCH is designed to accelerate the development and implementation of affordable and accessible health solutions to the public using the intellectual property developed from this research.

“We share the goal of helping to improve the health of our communities through research, education and customized treatment for people suffering from chronic illnesses,” said Michael F. Neidorff, chairman and CEO for Centene. “We believe personalized medicine is the path to ensure patients get the targeted health care they need to fight disease, and we look forward to partnering with such a renowned medical school to initially focus on four diseases that impact millions of Americans, including many of our health plan members.”

The investment will leverage the university’s cutting-edge research and biomedical capabilities, including state-of-the-art technologies such as CRISPR, and internationally known scientists in the areas of the microbiome, immunomodulatory therapies, cancer genomics, neurodegeneration, cellular reprogramming, chemical biology, informatics and others. In addition, the funds will strengthen resources at more than a dozen centers and institutes at the School of Medicine, including the Edison Family Center for Genome Sciences & Systems Biology; the Andrew M. and Jane M. Bursky Center for Human Immunology and Immunotherapy ProgramsSiteman Cancer Center at Barnes-Jewish Hospital and Washington University School of Medicine; the Elizabeth H. and James S. McDonnell III Genome Institute; the Institute for Informatics; and the Center of Regenerative Medicine.

“We will be bringing together world-class resources and intellectual horsepower from every basic and clinical scientific discipline to urgently accelerate the timeline for developing therapies that are more precisely targeted, with aspirations to do so in the next five to seven years,” said David H. Perlmutter, MD, executive vice chancellor for medical affairs, the George and Carol Bauer Dean, and the Spencer T. and Ann. W. Olin Distinguished Professor at the School of Medicine. “I believe the most important advances that will evolve from the personalized medicine paradigm will come from harnessing genome engineering technologies to build better model systems of each human disease, and utilizing deep genomic and clinical characterization to enable more effective and less expensive clinical trials.”

Perlmutter continued, “The partnership supports our global leadership in understanding sequence variants in biological systems that will pave the way for new therapeutic targets, as well as learning more about our own innate biology. Once personalized medicine becomes common practice, health-care workers may examine each patient’s genome — as well as information regarding his or her environment, lifestyle and social network — to identify a customized, affordable approach to optimizing health and medical care.”

Centene and Washington University will host a press briefing at a later date to be determined.

About Centene Corporation
Centene Corporation, a Fortune 100 company, is a diversified, multi-national healthcare enterprise that provides a portfolio of services to government sponsored and commercial healthcare programs, focusing on under-insured and uninsured individuals. Many receive benefits provided under Medicaid, including the State Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP), as well as Aged, Blind or Disabled (ABD), Foster Care and Long-Term Services and Supports (LTSS), in addition to other state-sponsored programs, Medicare (including the Medicare prescription drug benefit commonly known as “Part D”), dual eligible programs and programs with the U.S. Department of Defense. Centene also provides healthcare services to groups and individuals delivered through commercial health plans. Centene operates local health plans and offers a range of health insurance solutions. It also contracts with other healthcare and commercial organizations to provide specialty services including behavioral health management, care management software, correctional healthcare services, dental benefits management, commercial programs, home-based primary care services, life and health management, vision benefits management, pharmacy benefits management, specialty pharmacy and telehealth services.

Centene uses its investor relations website to publish important information about the Company, including information that may be deemed material to investors. Financial and other information about Centene is routinely posted and is accessible on Centene’s investor relations website, http://www.centene.com/investors.

About Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis
Washington University School of Medicine’s 1,500 faculty physicians also are the medical staff of Barnes-Jewish and St. Louis Children’s hospitals. The School of Medicine is a leader in medical research, teaching and patient care, ranking among the top 10 medical schools in the nation by U.S. News & World Report. Through its affiliations with Barnes-Jewish and St. Louis Children’s hospitals, the School of Medicine is linked to BJC HealthCare.

Cautionary Statement on Forward-Looking Statements

All statements, other than statements of current or historical fact, contained in this communication are forward-looking statements. Without limiting the foregoing, forward-looking statements often use words such as “believe,” “anticipate,” “plan,” “expect,” “estimate,” “intend,” “seek,” “target,” “goal,” “may,” “will,” “would,” “could,” “should,” “can,” “continue” and other similar words or expressions (and the negative thereof). We intend such forward-looking statements to be covered by the safe-harbor provisions for forward-looking statements contained in the Private Securities Litigation Reform Act of 1995, and Centene Corporation is including this statement for purposes of complying with these safe-harbor provisions. In particular, these statements include, without limitation, statements about Centene’s future operating or financial performance, market opportunity, growth strategy, competition, expected activities in completed and future acquisitions, including statements about the impact of Centene’s proposed acquisition of WellCare Health Plans, Inc. (the “WellCare Transaction”), Centene’s recent acquisition (the “Fidelis Care Transaction”) of substantially all the assets of New York State Catholic Health Plan, Inc., d/b/a Fidelis Care New York (“Fidelis Care“), investments and the adequacy of Centene’s available cash resources.

These forward-looking statements reflect Centene’s current views with respect to future events and are based on numerous assumptions and assessments made by us in light of Centene’s experience and perception of historical trends, current conditions, business strategies, operating environments, future developments and other factors Centene believes appropriate. By their nature, forward-looking statements involve known and unknown risks and uncertainties and are subject to change because they relate to events and depend on circumstances that will occur in the future, including economic, regulatory, competitive and other factors that may cause Centene’s or its industry’s actual results, levels of activity, performance or achievements to be materially different from any future results, levels of activity, performance or achievements expressed or implied by these forward-looking statements. These statements are not guarantees of future performance and are subject to risks, uncertainties and assumptions.

All forward-looking statements included in this filing are based on information available to us on the date of this communication. Except as may be otherwise required by law, Centene undertakes no obligation to update or revise the forward-looking statements included in this communication, whether as a result of new information, future events or otherwise, after the date of this filing. You should not place undue reliance on any forward-looking statements, as actual results may differ materially from projections, estimates, or other forward-looking statements due to a variety of important factors, variables and events including, but not limited to, the following: (i) the risk that regulatory or other approvals required for the WellCare Transaction may be delayed or not obtained or are obtained subject to conditions that are not anticipated that could require the exertion of management’s time and Centene’s resources or otherwise have an adverse effect on Centene; (ii) the risk that Centene’s stockholders do not approve the issuance of shares of Centene common stock in the WellCare Transaction; (iii) the risk that WellCare’s stockholders do not adopt the merger agreement; (iv) the possibility that certain conditions to the consummation of the WellCare Transaction will not be satisfied or completed on a timely basis and accordingly the WellCare Transaction may not be consummated on a timely basis or at all; (v) uncertainty as to the expected financial performance of the combined company following completion of the WellCare Transaction; (vi) the possibility that the expected synergies and value creation from the WellCare Transaction will not be realized, or will not be realized within the expected time period; (vii) the exertion of management’s time and Centene’s resources, and other expenses incurred and business changes required, in connection with complying with the undertakings in connection with any regulatory, governmental or third party consents or approvals for the WellCare Transaction; (viii) the risk that unexpected costs will be incurred in connection with the completion and/or integration of the WellCare Transaction or that the integration of WellCare will be more difficult or time consuming than expected; (ix) the risk that potential litigation in connection with the WellCare Transaction may affect the timing or occurrence of the WellCare Transaction or result in significant costs of defense, indemnification and liability; (x) a downgrade of the credit rating of Centene’s indebtedness, which could give rise to an obligation to redeem existing indebtedness; (xi) unexpected costs, charges or expenses resulting from the WellCare Transaction; (xii) the possibility that competing offers will be made to acquire WellCare; (xiii) the inability to retain key personnel; (xiv) disruption from the announcement, pendency and/or completion of the WellCare Transaction, including potential adverse reactions or changes to business relationships with customers, employees, suppliers or regulators, making it more difficult to maintain business and operational relationships; and (xv) the risk that, following the WellCare Transaction, the combined company may not be able to effectively manage its expanded operations.

Additional factors that may cause actual results to differ materially from projections, estimates, or other forward-looking statements include, but are not limited to, the following: (i) Centene’s ability to accurately predict and effectively manage health benefits and other operating expenses and reserves; (ii) competition; (iii) membership and revenue declines or unexpected trends; (iv) changes in healthcare practices, new technologies, and advances in medicine; (v) increased healthcare costs, (vi) changes in economic, political or market conditions; (vii) changes in federal or state laws or regulations, including changes with respect to income tax reform or government healthcare programs as well as changes with respect to the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act and the Health Care and Education Affordability Reconciliation Act, collectively referred to as the Affordable Care Act (“ACA”), and any regulations enacted thereunder that may result from changing political conditions or judicial actions, including the ultimate outcome of the District Court decision in “Texas v. United States of America” regarding the constitutionality of the ACA; (viii) rate cuts or other payment reductions or delays by governmental payors and other risks and uncertainties affecting Centene’s government businesses; (ix) Centene’s ability to adequately price products on federally facilitated and state-based Health Insurance Marketplaces; (x) tax matters; (xi) disasters or major epidemics; (xii) the outcome of legal and regulatory proceedings; (xiii) changes in expected contract start dates; (xiv) provider, state, federal and other contract changes and timing of regulatory approval of contracts; (xv) the expiration, suspension, or termination of Centene’s contracts with federal or state governments (including but not limited to Medicaid, Medicare, TRICARE or other customers); (xvi) the difficulty of predicting the timing or outcome of pending or future litigation or government investigations; (xvii) challenges to Centene’s contract awards; (xviii) cyber-attacks or other privacy or data security incidents; (xix) the possibility that the expected synergies and value creation from acquired businesses, including, without limitation, the Fidelis Care Transaction, will not be realized, or will not be realized within the expected time period; (xx) the exertion of management’s time and Centene’s resources, and other expenses incurred and business changes required in connection with complying with the undertakings in connection with any regulatory, governmental or third party consents or approvals for acquisitions, including the Fidelis Care Transaction; (xxi) disruption caused by significant completed and pending acquisitions, including, among others, the Fidelis Care Transaction, making it more difficult to maintain business and operational relationships; (xxii) the risk that unexpected costs will be incurred in connection with the completion and/or integration of acquisition transactions, including, among others, the Fidelis Care Transaction; (xxiii) changes in expected closing dates, estimated purchase price and accretion for acquisitions; (xxiv) the risk that acquired businesses, including Fidelis Care, will not be integrated successfully; (xxv) the risk that, following the Fidelis Care Transaction, Centene may not be able to effectively manage its expanded operations; (xxvi) restrictions and limitations in connection with Centene’s indebtedness; (xxvii) Centene’s ability to maintain the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) Star ratings and maintain or achieve improvement in other quality scores in each case that can impact revenue and future growth; (xxviii) availability of debt and equity financing, on terms that are favorable to us; (xxxix) inflation; and (xxx) foreign currency fluctuations.

This list of important factors is not intended to be exhaustive. We discuss certain of these matters more fully, as well as certain other factors that may affect Centene’s business operations, financial condition and results of operations, in Centene’s filings with the Securities and Exchange Commission (the “SEC”), including Centene’s Annual Report on Form 10-K, quarterly reports on Form 10-Q and current reports on Form 8-K.  Due to these important factors and risks, Centene cannot give assurances with respect to Centene’s future performance, including without limitation Centene’s ability to maintain adequate premium levels or Centene’s ability to control its future medical and selling, general and administrative costs.

 

SOURCE: Centene Corporation

Artificial Intelligence

Personalized Learning Paths Offer Roadmaps to Dream Jobs

Vlad Poptamas

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When moving into a new career or field, determining how your strengths transfer and what additional skills you need to learn can be challenging; Forbes SmartAdvisor bridges this gap.

Experience the interactive Multichannel News Release here: https://www.multivu.com/players/English/8716951-forbes-smartadvisor-personalized-learning-paths-offer-roadmaps-to-dream-jobs/

By utilizing three information points—users’ personality, their current skills, and the skills necessary for the aspirational role they selected—Forbes SmartAdvisor creates a customized learning path. This Learning Path is personalized just for you. It identifies which self-paced course from Learn@Forbes’ library of over 700 courses, specializations, and Learning Pathways in marketing, human resources, leadership, finance and accounting, entrepreneurship, sales, communications, customer service, and project management make sense for the career you’re aspiring to.

How It Works
Forbes SmartAdvisor, which is free, and takes just three minutes to complete. First, you will complete a brief personality assessment. Second, you select the aspirational role you want, and third, you upload your resume (which is optional).

Using Holland’s Occupational Model and Gardner’s Theory of Multiple Intelligence model, in moments, you will receive your personalized and unbiased results. Insights on your learning style(s), working style(s), attributes, and skills are provided in your custom report, as is a learning pathway that maps the Learn@Forbes courses that will teach you the additional skills you need to get the job you want. Each course on your personalized learning path is self-paced. And, you can take as many as you would like at a time.

Next Steps
Forbes SmartAdvisor users can save their results for future reference. Those who would like to start their personalized learning path can do so with a free 14-day trial. Learn@Forbes subscriptions start at $12.50 per month. For additional information, visit learn.forbes.com.

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MRA Group Develops Lab Spaces to Keep Up with Cell and Gene Therapy Demand in Philadelphia Region

Vlad Poptamas

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In response to the growing cell and gene therapy demand in the Philadelphia region, MRA Group (MRA) is pressing onward to deliver by year end, two specialized multi-tenant life science lab buildings: a 65,000+/-SF lab building in the city of Philadelphia and a 72,000+/-SF lab building at Spring House Innovation Park, just outside the city.

“Through this pandemic, we continue to see strong demand from growing in-market life science prospects and out-of-market entrants looking for high-quality lab space,” said Phil Butler, Vice President of MRA Group. “Prospective tenants value speed-to-market, and given the regional demand, we believe pushing forward is the right thing to do.”

While construction slowed due to COVID-19 mandated shutdowns, MRA remains on track to welcome tenants this year to newly developed, state-of-the-art, customizable, hard-to-come-by lab space in the region. Now that Philadelphia is a nationally recognized biomedical cluster, or a Big4Bio region, prospective life science companies attracted to the area have encountered a shortage of available lab space; a concern MRA Group is working to correct.

“A recent study found 98% of commercial lab space is occupied,” said Sam Woods Thomas, Director of Life Sciences and Biotechnology for the City of Philadelphia. “We are excited by and proud of MRA Group’s efforts to broaden our Life Sciences real estate pipeline. Philadelphia scientists and academic institutions are pioneers in innovation, but they need more space to continue,” Thomas shared. “MRA Group’s development efforts are essential pieces to this sector’s continued growth in our city and region.”

Spring House Innovation Park’s new 72,000+/-SF rentable lab building is within the BioLaunch611+ Keystone Innovation Zone and sits on the sprawling, 133-acre, Lower Gwynedd, Montgomery County campus owned and developed by MRA Group.

“When we acquired Spring House Innovation Park in 2017, we sought to create a suburban life science destination,” said Mike Wojewodka, Senior Vice President of MRA Group. “To date, we have approximately 150,000 square feet leased to nearly two dozen tenants, of which nearly half are in the life science industry.  We’ve recently welcomed AnPac Bio, a leading international biotechnology company, while later this summer a gene therapy company, Exegenesis Bio, will be joining our roster which includes Jefferson Institute for Bioprocessing. Based on current leasing activity, we anticipate the 72,000+/-SF lab building being fully leased and occupied by the end of the year, which is why MRA remains focused and bullish on developing these much needed lab spaces for our region.” Companies interested in Spring House Innovation Park, visit  www.springhouseinnovationpark.net.

Additionally, MRA Group, on behalf of a local university, is developing a 65,000+/-SF scientifically advanced, multi-tenant wet and dry lab and office building in Philadelphia.

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Artificial Intelligence

Auto Theft Recoveries Soar During COVID-19 Lockdown

Vlad Poptamas

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LoJack®, a brand of CalAmp (Nasdaq: CAMP) and a leader in stolen vehicle recovery (SVR) and innovative automotive services, today announced auto theft recoveries in the U.S. jumped 15 percent in April 2020 over April 2019 and continued to grow in May, outpacing last year’s number at this time by 11 percent. The report indicates an increase in auto theft recoveries, and highlights changes from the same period last year to date, demonstrating that while auto theft is on the rise during the COVID-19 lockdown, consumers must stay vigilant and protect their vehicles.

While essential workers travel to and from work and others have sheltered in place, auto thieves continue to operate during a global pandemic according to LoJack’s U.S. Recoveries Trends report. The report found that the U.S. — during the rising spread of COVID-19 — saw a big increase in stolen vehicle recovery across the country in April 2020 compared with April 2019. In May, the following states saw a significant increase in auto theft recoveries:

  • California increased 35 percent
  • Colorado increased 20 percent
  • Washington State increased 25 percent

With the Fourth of July holiday approaching, LoJack and CalAmp urge drivers to take these simple precautions:

  • Try to park your car in well-lit areas or within range of security cameras
  • Don’t leave valuables in plain sight in your vehicle
  • Double check to make sure your vehicle is locked
  • Don’t leave windows or sunroofs cracked and don’t leave your car running unattended
  • Be mindful of where you leave your keys or key fob; don’t leave a spare key in the vehicle

“It’s clear that auto thieves have been hard at work during the pandemic,” said Justin Schmid, senior vice president, general manager of LoJack Global. “The cost of losing a vehicle to theft during a time like this where many people have lost their jobs and income builds on already elevated stress levels and an experience that no one wants to face. It’s important to LoJack and CalAmp that we share the facts and equip Americans with solutions that protect their families and bring peace of mind during an already chaotic time.”

Stories across the U.S., including a nurse in Boston who had her car stolen in April from her driveway while between shifts at the local hospital, remind us that no one is immune. With COVID-19 continuing to impact communities, auto theft should be the least of one’s worries, including frontline workers. Between their telematics-based connected car app SureDrive™ and the traditional LoJack® System technology, LoJack offers a variety of solutions to protect vehicles and provide additional support for drivers, with features including:

  • Stolen Vehicle Location Assist: Provides trained U.S.-based agents to coordinate directly with law enforcement to help track and locate a stolen vehicle.
  • CrashBoxx: Sends instant crash alerts to loved ones with trained U.S.-based agents available to help provide timely assistance and facilitate emergency response
  • Tripwire Early Warning: Enables proactive monitoring and alerts consumers of unexpected car movement, such as when towed or stolen.
  • Virtual Boundaries: Allows consumers to set easily configurable boundaries that send notifications when loved ones arrive at their destination.
  • Destination Search: Displays integrated and searchable landmarks such as emergency rooms, gas stations, car washes, or other key destinations.
  • Where’s My Car: Delivers real-time location of your vehicle, whether driving or parked.
  • Speed Alerts: Enables parents to set a speed threshold and receive alerts if a teen driver or other loved one goes faster than they should

The LoJack Stolen Vehicle Recovery System consistently delivers a 90% plus recovery rate on cars, trucks, and SUVs, and over $1 billion worth of LoJack-equipped vehicles have been recovered in the U.S. alone*.

“We are committed to supporting families with innovative solutions that protect their vehicles and loved ones, consistent with the proven LoJack brand promise of safety and security for the road ahead,” said Schmid.

*LoJack® unit activation is contingent upon the vehicle being located within LoJack’s SVRU coverage area that spans counties across 29 states throughout the U.S. and the District of Columbia. You may find LoJack’s coverage areas at www.lojack.com/coverage or by calling 1-800-4-LoJack. Used car values are best estimates derived from NADA Guide web services values and clean retail value from NADAGuides.com for the make, model and year of the vehicle in the month it was recovered.

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