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Former Biogen CEO George Scangos is launching a new biotech startup called VIR Technology set to focus on fighting infectious diseases like HIV and TB.

Background check: Scangos founded the third-best performing biotech stock, Exelixis. Even though Biogen has engaged in risky research ventures that have fumbled investors, sales at Biogen more than doubled under his leadership.

Who is paying: The Gates Foundation gave a nod to the new venture and will help fund it. VIR is also seeking funding that will likely amount to hundreds of millions of dollars, per Forbes.

Why it matters: Other drug companies have been backing away from working on infectious diseases. In 2013 there were only four big pharma companies researching treatments for ID, according to The Infectious Diseases Society of America (IDSA).

Go deeper

Mike Allen, author of AM
29 mins ago - Politics & Policy

Manchin's next power play

Photo: "Axios on HBO"

Sen. Joe Manchin (D-W.Va.), America's ultimate swing voter, told me on "Axios on HBO" that he'll insist Republicans have more of a voice on President Biden's next big package than they did on the COVID stimulus.

The big picture: Manchin said he'll push for tax hikes to pay for Biden's upcoming infrastructure and climate proposal, and will use his Energy Committee chairmanship to force the GOP to confront climate reality.

Why picking a jury for the Derek Chauvin trial is so hard

Illustration: Eniola Odetunde/Axios

The tough task of selecting a jury for former MPD officer Derek Chauvin's trial for the killing of George Floyd is set to begin Monday.

The state of play: "This case may be the most highly publicized criminal trial in a long time. ... That means that it's harder to find people who really have an open mind," Richard Frase, University of Minnesota Law School professor of criminal law, told Axios.

Why it's so hard to sign up for vaccinations online

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

The verdict from Americans trying to get the COVID vaccine is in: the sign-up websites are awful.

Why it matters: Appointment systems are a vital part of getting Americans vaccinated, but a series of missed opportunities, at every level, left local governments scrambling. And the frustrating, confusing process now carries the risk that some people will simply give up.