Small can be at times very exquisite

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It had to be only a small group of dedicated members that was permitted to meet up with each other in the lovely and cool garden of the British Embassy. You know already the reason. It’s because of the Corona crisis, in case you forgot.

Being exterritorial there were no baby elephants present but plenty of signposts reminding you to keep the distance. So elbow crashed with elbow as a form of cordial greeting, the harder the more cordial and Her Majesty’s Ambassador’s staff hid behind huge plastic screens and multicoloured masks. Communication was difficult but our safety was thus guaranteed.

As a way of an introduction we were promised that Corona as in “the beer” and Brexit as in “Get Brexit done”, you know, the thing that has vexed the people across the Channel now for ages, would not be mentioned. So that safely out of the way we turned to the Question: “What is Biotechnology?”

Potential investors in the room upstairs paled behind the sun tan when reminded: Beware! Any novel drug development and clinical research aimed at treating diseases and medical conditions are almost always unprofitable and bring no real revenue. The likelihood for failure is with up to 95% extremely high. But for those who can hold their breath the longest and succeed, the rewards for the investor and the patients can be tremendous! Exhaling loudly potential investors regained their composure.

Peter Llewellyn-Davies’ lively talk captivated the audience as he presented us with the success story of “Apeiron Biologics AG a small company with large achievements”, a company founded 2003 by the world famous Austrian geneticist Dr Josef Penninger, worth €156 million with €17,5 million new financing and no debts.

In the photo gallery that comes along with this article I have placed a series of slides that cover Peter Llewellyn-Davies’ presentation for a better understanding.

Still, two things I would like to highlight what has been said. The first is the often repeated claim by the Corona-negators that the usual flu epidemic kills more people than the corona virus. Peter Llewellyn-Davies pointed out that the mortality rates as per infected person are as follows: Seasonal Flu less than 0.1%; Spanish Flu (1918) greater than 2.5%; COVID-19 around 3%. The second is the development of APN01, which is a soluble version of recombinant human ACE2 (rhACE2). This inhibits the Covid-19 corona virus before the virus enters the lung cells and thus kills the previously ill patient due to severe pneumonia. The drug APN01 is the only drug candidate worldwide that “captures” the corona virus Covid-19 but does not attack the lung cells. For further information please refer to my Photo Gallery.

There is plenty to be proud of as an Austrian. After the presentation and during the Question and Answer Session (dear me, how knowledgeable our members are!) Peter Llewellyn-Davies casually mentioned our superior health care system (for which obviously we pay a lot) and the heart warming revelation that right at the beginning of the Covid-19 crisis the Bundeskanzleramt immediately and without much fuss formed a very effective task force. That clearly impressed him!

After all this we joyfully returned to the cooler garden to Gin & Tonic, Pimms, Aperol and Beer and yes, there was also sparkling wine and water (very British indeed), which was accompanied by a very tasty and ample (what did the Embassy call it?) “Serviced Buffet”. From what I could see the Ambassadorial Staff behind the screen and duly muzzled were kept pretty busy for very long time.

It was dark by the time guests were finally dispersing. To anyone, who was unable to join us last night my usual commiseration: You missed a super event.

Wolfgang Geissler

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