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Special report: Twenty extraordinary women blazing trails in biopharma R&D — Covid-19 and beyond

In the second year of Endpoints News’  budding tradition of highlighting women blazing trails in biopharma R&D, we’ve seen a number of firsts.

For the first time, the biggest story in R&D is also top of mind for a world anxious to end the most devastating health crisis in decades. With its sweeping effects, the Covid-19 pandemic is turning the daily routines for many working women upside down, taking a toll on not just their physical and mental health, but also their career prospects. At the same time, the biotech industry is doing some serious soul searching with a new scorecard and plan for diversity and inclusion.

It is more important than ever to shine light on the growing number of women who have scaled the heights of drug discovery and development even though the odds are stacked against them, breaking open paths in labs and C-suites that can be followed by future generations, some of whom they are also actively nurturing and mentoring.

We set out this year with a dual goal: to celebrate women at the forefront of subduing Covid-19 — either with diagnostics, vaccines or treatments — and to honor those working day in and day out to address other equally pressing medical needs.

Profiles are, by definition, snapshots. Some of the women recognized in our 2019 special report have since become household names: Jennifer Doudna became a Nobel laureate for her pioneering work in CRISPR gene editing and Özlem Türeci helped create the world’s first vaccine proven effective against Covid-19. Even in the short period since we interviewed this year’s honorees, we’ve seen them mark new milestones, from taking a biotech public to scoring historic clinical data and regulatory authorizations.

We hope our profiles capture a unique moment in history as these highly accomplished figures take us with them down memory lane to illustrate what brought them to this moment and how they are helping other women do the same — if not even more.


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