Feb 21, 2023 - Space drugs

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This startup makes drugs in space

A startup with a spacecraft full of drugs is preparing to land on Earth today (February 21)… is something I never thought I’d write.

But apparently, startups using microgravity for manufacturing pharmaceuticals is a thing.

The one at hand is called Varda, whose mission is to build the world’s first industrial space manufacturing platform and earth re-entry logistics. It had a win recently when the U.S. government approved Varda’s spaceship to land on U.S. soil — the first time the FAA has licensed a commercial company to do so (even SpaceX has to land in the ocean).

Onboard the craft is crystals of a drug used to treat HIV/AIDS. We’re not pharmacists or astrophysicists, but based on this NASA page, it sounds like microgravity may provide some benefits around the quality of drugs.

We’ll be watching Twitter for updates on the landing.


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Talking points from Planet Internet

🦜 Unhinged birds: A green bird has taken over social media. You know the one, probably because you’ve seen him go viral everywhere — it’s Duolingo’s bird mascot, Duo. We already knew the bird was a master of social media, but seeing the company’s rocketship growth on a chart is a creator’s dream. Oh and don’t miss Duo’s Super Bowl ad.

😲 Not just a Disney star. Disney kids of the naughties might feel their mouth drop reading that Disney star Bridgit Mendler raised $6.3 million in seed funding from a16z for her space startup that wants to produce ground stations that communicate to satellites. Not surprising if you knew that Mendler recently earned a Harvard Law degree last year, co-led the Harvard Space Law Society, and is pursuing an interdisciplinary Ph.D. from MIT.