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

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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

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Supply Chain Management Association Becomes Supply Chain Canada

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At its AGM yesterday, the Supply Chain Management Association™ announced its name change to Supply Chain Canada™. The association also launched a new website as part of an overall rebranding initiative.

“The new name and look are part of a transformation that we have undertaken as the association enters its second century,” said Christian Buhagiar, President & CEO of Supply Chain Canada. “Today’s supply chains are dynamic and fast-paced. The association for Canada’s supply chain professionals must reflect that.”

Through the rebranding process, the association has also acquired a meaningful new logo and tagline, “Professionals advancing the future.”

The logo’s maple leaf design not only conveys our nationality; it also represents the connectedness of the supply chain, illustrating the networks and collaboration that are so essential to supply chain success, and the interconnectedness of the association’s federation, institutes and members. Its connected dots can be seen, as well, as the complex route of a global supply chain.

“Professionals advancing the future” succinctly communicates both the professional status of supply chain practitioners and their forward-looking perspective. It is intended to:

  1. Elevate the perception of supply chain practitioners as professionals, acknowledging the value they bring to their organizations and to the Canadian economy.
  2. Encompass the several ways that the association and its members “advance” – in their personal careers and knowledge, and for the profession, the country and the economy.
  3. Express the future focus of the association – with its emphasis on the development of skills and policies – and of the supply chain itself, now so focused on AI, blockchain, robotics, automation and so on.

The new website, now at www.supplychaincanada.com, is enhanced with a modern look and new functionality that enables location-based content for users across Canada.

These changes are not simply style enhancements. They are part of a larger plan to strengthen the association. Supply Chain Canada consolidates the organization’s brand across the country under a single name in every province and territory, removing any possible confusion from its federation structure. “The unity that this will ensure will help us improve recognition in the sector, and thereby provide stronger leadership to the Canadian supply chain community,” said Buhagiar.

The association’s transformation began in 2018 with a new vision and mission, as well as an ambitious three-year strategic plan. The new name and rebranding announced yesterday are part of a larger evolution that will continue over the next two years with the introduction of new and revised educational offerings, new initiatives to engage with industry, more value-added membership benefits and more.

 

SOURCE Supply Chain Canada

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Export Portal to Address Best Practices in Sustainable Trade Facilitation at the Asia-Pacific Trade Facilitation Forum

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Export Portal CEO Ally Spinu will be adding her take on the alignment of trade facilitation and sustainable development goals at a session at the 9th Asia-Pacific Trade Facilitation Forum (APTFF) in New Delhi.

“The Asia-Pacific region is a wealth of unexplored opportunities which lay deep in the communities of local businessmen and women that just need support in bringing their amazing products to the world to see and buy,” Ms. Spinu said. “I am looking forward to this event and being a part of the change that will help local businesses from this part of the world sell their products globally. I deeply believe that shifting attention to developing SMEs is the major change international trade and local economies have been waiting for.”

This year’s APTFF will focus on how digital and sustainable trade facilitation measures and practices can bring prosperity in the Asia-Pacific region. The forum will investigate opportunities from trade digitalization for sustainable progress of the area and challenges ahead in materializing such opportunities. APTFF will feature panel discussions as well as interactive and informative sessions. These sessions will allow participants to share experiences and perspectives on different aspects of trade facilitation, including trade finance, cross-border eCommerce and paperless trade, transit, innovative application of emerging technologies, and more. APTFF will bring relevant regional initiatives and implementation cases to each session, making it a unique opportunity to share knowledge and practical lessons. The forum will also include many side-events providing a more in-depth exploration of the pertinent trade facilitation issues.

“Agricultural products are the fastest category and industry growing within Export Portal, and I can say that is just natural that SMEs around the world are actively looking for new ways for selling their products around the world,” Ms. Spinu said. “The role of innovative technologies such as Export Portal is crucial in helping these SMEs integrate within the world supply chain of food with ease and at optimal costs. I want to explain the current issues existing within SMEs’ integration in international trade due to the high cost involved and how technology slowly but surely changes this.”

Export Portal’s trade goals align directly with the purpose of this session, as its international B2B trade platform is an affordable and all-encompassing solution for SMEs all over the world. The features that are available and being developed on Export Portal, such as the panel of experts (EP+), the educational hub (EPU), and data flow insights (EPI), provide SMEs with the resources they need to trade effectively on an international scale safely, securely, and efficiently.

The Digital and Sustainable Trade Facilitation for Regional Prosperity session is co-organized by ADB, ESCAP, Ministry of Commerce, India and Confederation of Indian Industry and will be held on Wednesday, September 18, from 9:00 to 10:45 AM.

 

SOURCE Export Portal

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MIT-IBM Watson AI Lab Convenes Top Researchers for Second Annual AI Research Week

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The MIT-IBM Watson AI Lab (NYSE: IBM) is hosting its second annual AI Research WeekSeptember 16-20, in Cambridge, MA. The five-day conference will explore leading themes in today’s field of AI including neurosymbolic computing and semantic reasoning in machine learning, AI security and safety, inclusive design of AI for all communities, trustworthy and explainable AI, and industry applications of AI.

The MIT-IBM Watson AI Lab is a joint research effort to drive fundamental advances in artificial intelligence. Since its founding in 2017, the lab has become an integral component of IBM’s AI Research strategy and is spearheading 48 AI-related research projects.

WHO:
Dario Gil (Director, IBM Research), joined by top AI researchers:

  • Yoshua Bengio (A.M. Turing Award Winner and Pioneer of AI and Deep Learning)
  • Josh Tenenbaum (Professor, Dept. of Brain and Cognitive Sciences, MIT)
  • Laura Shulz (Dept. of Brain and Cognitive Sciences at MIT, Primary Investigator of the MIT Early Childhood Cognition Lab)
  • Roger Levy (Associate Professor, Dept. of Brain and Cognitive Sciences at MIT, Director of the Computational Psycholinguistics Laboratory)

Additional discussions will feature David Cox (IBM Director, MIT-IBM AI Watson Lab), Lisa Amini (Director, IBM Research Cambridge), and Antonio Torralba (MIT Director, MIT-IBM AI Watson Lab), addressing key topics including: progress of the MIT-IBM AI Watson Lab to date and future goals; transitioning AI research to industry; and self-supervised learning of AI.

The conference will also showcase research and thought leadership from scientists and students affiliated with Massachusetts Institute of Technology; the University of California, San Diego; the University of Maryland, Baltimore County; the University of Illinois, Urbana-ChampaignBoston UniversityRensselaer Polytechnic Institute; the University of Montreal; the University of Massachusetts, Amherst; and the Cambridge and Boston community.

WHAT:
AI Research Week is a technical conference featuring top AI thought leaders from around the world sharing the latest insights on the field of AI. The five-day gathering will also consist of panels, workshops, networking and mentorship all geared towards forging new ideas and discussion around advancements in AI.

WHEN & WHERE: 
September 16-20, 2019, times for events vary. AI Research Week events will be held at MIT and IBM in Cambridge, MA. While many events will occur at the MIT Samberg Conference Center, 50 Memorial Dr, Cambridge, MA 02142, it is best to check the schedule for specific event locations and times.

Conference highlights:

Monday, September 16: Kick-off the week with a poster and networking session where researchers from the MIT-IBM Watson AI Lab and IBM’s AI Horizons Network of university collaborators will showcase projects underway that are shaping the future of AI.

The afternoon will feature a round robin event designed to help match various student communities in the Boston area with a mentor, specifically those in Latinx, BlackinAI, Women in Machine Learning, and LGBTQ. This session will include 15 tables, each with a different topic, and mentors from IBM, as well as other speakers from AI Research Week, designed to connect students with a mentor.

Tuesday, September 17: Yoshua Bengio, full professor and head of the Montreal Institute for Learning Algorithms (MILA), University of Montreal, and Dario Gil, Director of IBM Research, begin the AI Horizons Colloquium with a Welcome Address, followed by a full day of talks and discussion featuring AI experts from academia and industry.

NOTE: The Colloquium (all day) will be livestreamed here.

Other Colloquium speakers include:

  • Saska Mojsilovic, head of AI Foundations, IBM Research and Co-Director of IBM Science for Social Good, will discuss how people can begin to trust AI.
  • Collin Stult, Professor of Electrical Engineering and Computer Science Institute for Medical Engineering and Science and MIT faculty at Harvard-MIT Division of Health Sciences and Technology Cardiologist, will discuss whether useful machine learning will be used clinically in the near future.

Wednesday, September 18: The NASA ISS Program Science Office and the ISS U.S. National Laboratory, along with IBM Research, will launch a unique opportunity to learn about the International Space Station. Guests will be able to speak with representatives and researchers about the future of AI intersecting with the future of research in space. The event also includes a competition and special session where researchers and students can pitch “ISS meets AI” project ideas to a panel of space experts from NASA, the ISS, IBM, and MIT.

 

SOURCE IBM

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