Biotech Investing

Donald Trump’s immigration ban has sparked outrage around the world, and biotech executives are speaking out.

On Friday, US President Donald Trump signed an Executive Order temporarily banning refugees from Syria, as well as a 90-day suspension of nonimmigrant entry from citizens of Iraq, Iran, Libya, Somalia, Sudan and Yemen, “[T]o protect the American people from terrorist attacks by foreign nationals admitted to the United States.”
This sparked protests in airports and cities like New York and Washington, as well as criticism all over the globe.

Markets in the red on Monday

The week started off with markets in the red: the Dow fell 208.23 points, the S&P 500 lost 25.28 points, and the Nasdaq Composite dropped 78.07 points. In Canada, the Toronto Stock Exchangewas also down by 94.15 points.
The technology industry, which relies on immigrant workers, is directly affected by the Executive Order, but the science industry is also one that will potentially feel its effects.
According to the National Science Foundation’s report, 18 percent of the science and engineering workforce are made up of immigrants. Further to that, there were big strides in immigrant employment growth from 2003 to 2013 in these three occupations: life scientist, computer and mathematical scientist, and social and related scientist.
The Washington Post also acknowledged that, “[A]ll six of the Americans who won Nobel Prizes this year were immigrants.”

Sentiments from biotech executives

A poll conducted by Endpoints showed that majority of participants in the biotech industry do not favor this move by the new administration.
Acorda Therapeutics (NASDAQ:ACOR) CEO and BIO Chairman Ron Cohen commented that, “this is not merely an issue of 7 particular countries.” Xencor (NASDAQ:XNCR) CEO Bassil Dahiyat also left a comment and said, “[T]alent is hard to come by and closing the door to any sources is bad.”
Brent Saunders, CEO of Allergan (NYSE:AGN) also spoke up on Sunday via Twitter:

CNN wrote that “March for Science” and subsequent satellite marches, were already in the works ahead of the announcement on the Executive Order on Friday. A signature campaign and open letter against the executive order has also been started by members of the academe that include 13 Nobel laureates.
Wired warned that the immigration ban places great uncertainty on the future of science in America – countless students and scientists from the seven predominantly Muslim countries are now in jeopardy.
Trump has only been in office for 10 days, but as he is already aggressively moving towards his promise of “Making America great again.” The immigration ban is temporary, and Trump claims that it is not about religion, but about terror and keeping the US safe.

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Securities Disclosure: I, Pia Rivera, hold no direct investment interest in any company mentioned in this article.


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