Tag Archives: Corporate management

Germany to replace head of its military intelligence agency | World | Instant News

BERLIN (AP) – The head of Germany’s military intelligence agency was replaced as authorities stepped up efforts to root out far-right extremists in the military, the defense ministry said Thursday.

Defense Minister Annegret Kramp-Karrenbauer decided “with his consent” that Christof Gramm would be replaced next month as head of the MAD agency, the ministry statement said. He added that a decision on his successor would be made soon.

Gramm has led MAD since January 2015. The defense ministry praised him for initiating reforms and increasing the agency’s work, but said he and Kramp-Karrenbauer agreed that the next phase of modernization required new momentum that “must also be made visible in personnel terms. “

German officials have expressed concern over the recent discoveries of some far-right extremists in the military. Earlier this year, Kramp-Karrenbauer disbanded a special forces company, saying a culture of right-wing extremism had been allowed to flourish behind a “wall of secrecy”.

The German government has approved a bill that would speed up the dismissal of soldiers involved in extremism or serious crimes.

Copyright 2020 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed without permission.


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Versant Ventures Launches Bright Peak Therapeutics | Business | Instant News

BASEL, Switzerland & SAN DIEGO – (BUSINESS AREA) – 28 Jul 2020–

Versant Ventures today announced the debut of Bright Peak Therapeutics, a biotechnology company that is developing a platform to chemically synthesize and optimize the structure and function of proteins. Versant has made a $ 35 million Series A commitment to the company, which was launched from the company’s Ridgeline Therapeutics Discovery Engine based in Basel, Switzerland.

The Bright Peak technology platform, licensed from ETH Zürich, allows a variety of proteins to be chemically assembled de novo. Unlike recombinant technology, this platform allows specific modifications and conjugations of any atom and in many locations within the target protein structure to optimize its function. Importantly, this technology also allows the introduction of a conjugate handle that can expand optimized proteins into conjugated or multi-target product portfolios.

The company has validated the platform by creating a portfolio of designer cytokines with the potential to advance as new immune-oncology therapies. Among other constructs, this includes IL-2 which is optimized conjugated by targeting antibodies such as PD-1 or PD-L1.

“Cytokines emerge as a fundamental backbone in immuno-oncology,” said Alex Mayweg, Ph.D., managing director on board members of Versant and Bright Peak. “The Bright Peak platform is interesting because it allows us to design and build superior molecules by precisely engineering the desired pharmacological effects and pharmacokinetic properties.”

Precision engineering to make superior therapeutic proteins

Bright Peak’s chemical knowledge comes from the laboratory of one of the founders of Jeffery Bode, Ph.D., and is exclusively licensed to the company. Bode is professor of organic chemistry at ETH Zürich and leader in protein chemical synthesis. He has been developing and optimizing technology for the past few years.

During the two-year stealth period, critical evidence of principle experiments has been executed in four areas of protein engineering. These include the optimization of the biology of various cytokine receptors, half-life, fusion of monoclonal antibodies and a veiled or conditional activation strategy to further exploit the therapeutic potential of this protein.

“This is a true drug chemistry approach to optimizing the structure of protein molecules with biology that is relevant to disease,” Dr. Bode. “It’s great to see technology providing substantial protein specifically designed in our CMC campaign and I hope to explore the breadth of this approach with the team at Bright Peak.”

Internal pipe that grows

The pipeline was developed in the Ridgeline Versant laboratory in collaboration with ETH Zürich. This includes modified versions of IL-2, IL-18 and IL-7 which are optimized for the desired biological and pharmacokinetic profiles. Through further conjugation for antibodies or other parts, each molecule can also be transformed into its own portfolio of next generation therapies.

Bright Peak made three modifications to its IL-2 molecule. The first is to completely block the ability of cytokines to involve the CD25 receptor on regulatory T cells, which dramatically changes the balance of activity towards effector T cells and removes vascular toxicity. The second is to increase the potential for beta / gamma receptors, which adds to the desired effect on CD8 T cells and NK proliferation. Finally, the half-life of molecules is significantly extended through site-specific modifications.

The resulting compound has shown the best properties in its class in various preclinical models. Based on these results, Bright Peak is currently carrying out studies that support IND and has launched a campaign to improve and CMC on the first IL-2 development candidates in hopes of entering the clinic within one year.

Portfolios are being developed by attaching conjugate handles to IL-2 compounds that are optimized for attaching other cytokines or targeted monoclonal antibodies, such as checkpoint inhibitors. The company expects to choose a second development candidate from the program later this year.

The Bright Peak pipe also includes a modified IL-18, also known as an IFN-inducing factor. These cytokines play an important role in innate and adaptive immune responses, but wild-type versions are quickly extinguished by the original IL-18 binding protein. This limits the use of natural proteins in cancer therapy.

Modified IL-18 has been designed to specifically overcome this limitation in natural proteins. Improvements such as extended half-life and further tumor targeting strategies are underway to unlock its full potential as a cancer therapy.

Company leadership and operations plan

Versant has recruited Sef Kurstjens, MD, Ph.D. to join as president and CEO of Bright Peak. Dr. Kurstjens has more than 28 years of experience developing biotech and pharmaceutical drugs, who recently served as chief medical officer at Astellas Pharma Inc., where he is a member of the company’s executive committee. Dr. Kurstjens also serves as president and CEO of Astellas’ affiliate Agensys Inc.

“I am delighted to be able to lead a promising company with the potential to change the field of protein therapy by developing products that have superior properties,” Dr. Kurstjens. “Every molecule that we design can be a portfolio in protein, which talks about the power of this technology platform.”

The Bright Peak internal R&D team is based in Basel and has worked with the founding team of leading scientists who have made major contributions to the field of protein engineering. The company’s scientific founders and advisors include:

  • Jeffery Bode, Ph.D., professor of organic chemistry at ETH Zürich. His group focuses on molecular synthesis and conjugates that are currently outside the reach of conventional synthetic methods, as well as new approaches to produce structural and functional complexity in small organic molecules. Research and teaching Dr. Bode has been recognized by many awards including MIT Technology Review TR35 (2006) and Elias J. Corey Award for Outstanding Genuine Contribution in Organic Synthesis by Young Investigator (2011).
  • John Teijaro, Ph.D., professor in the department of immunology and microbiology at the Scripps Research Institute. Teijaro has published extensively on the mechanism of stimulation and suppression of immune cells. His group recently discovered a mechanism to promote self-renewing T cell proliferation, offering a potential new pathway to enhance cancer immunotherapy.
  • Markus Enzelberger, Ph.D., partner at Versant. Enzelberger has deep expertise in developing proteins and antibodies. He serves as CSO and a member of the management board of MorphoSys AG. He joined the company in 2002 and is recognized as an authority in the field of protein engineering.

Bright Peak will operate in all locations in Basel, Switzerland, and in San Diego, California. This allows new companies to further refine the protein engineering platform and in parallel launch several programs from current candidate channels.

With the Versant anchor investment, the company plans to expand its 20-member team to more than 30 scientists this year and hopes to advance the lead program into clinical testing by 2021.

To capture the growing opportunities in the cytokine therapy field and beyond, Bright Peak will pursue Pharma partners in parallel with financial investors over the coming months.

About Bright Peak

Bright Peak Therapeutics is a biotechnology company with a platform that is able to synthesize chemically and optimize natural proteins such as cytokines. Bright Peak was founded by Versant Ventures, and emerged from Versant’s Ridgeline Therapeutics Discovery Engine in Basel, Switzerland.

About Versant Ventures

Versant Ventures is a leading healthcare venture capital venture company that is committed to helping exceptional entrepreneurs build the next generation of large companies. The company’s emphasis is on biotechnology companies that find and develop new therapies. With $ 3.2 billion under management and offices in the US, Canada and Europe, Versant has built a team with in-depth investment, operations and R&D expertise that enables a direct approach to building a company. Since the company was founded in 1999, more than 75 Versant companies have achieved successful acquisitions or IPOs. Versant is currently investing from a seventh fund, Versant Venture Capital VII, a $ 600 million global biotech fund that closed in December 2018. In parallel the company is investing jointly from Canada’s strategic fund, Versant Voyageurs I and the next phase of biotechnology opportunity funds. Versant Vantage I. For more information, please visit www.versantventures.com.

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CONTACT: Steve Edelson

[email protected]




SOURCE: Bright Peak Therapeutics

Copyright Business Wire 2020.

PUB: 07/28/2020 08:00 AM / DISC: 07/28/2020 08:00



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Name of Special Insurance Berkshire Hathaway Name Dr. Frank Amandi Head of Financial Institutions in Germany | National | Instant News

BOSTON & COLOGNE, Germany – (BUSINESS AREA) – 20 Jul 2020–

Berkshire Hathaway Special Insurance (BHSI) today announced that it has appointed Dr. Frank Amandi as Head of Financial Institutions, for Executive and Professional Lines in Germany.

“We are pleased that Frank is leading our efforts to bring our robust financial solutions to financial institutions throughout Germany. His expertise and deep dedication to helping institutions overcome the challenges of dynamic risk will serve our customers well, “said Andreas Krause, Country Manager, Germany, BHSI.

Frank has more than 20 years of experience in the field of international insurance, underwriting, claims and product development. He was recently the Deputy Head of Global Financial Institutions at Allianz Global Corporate & Specialty SE in Germany. Before that, he spent 10 years at the Chubb Insurance Company of Europe SE, Dusseldorf. He holds a law degree from the University of Cologne.

BHSI offers a complete range of financial product lines for financial institutions in Germany, including Director & Officer Responsibilities, D&C Side, Commercial Crime, Fiduciary Responsibility, Fidelity Bonds, Financial Errors & Negligence, Financial Errors & Negligence, Responsibility for Employment Practices and Liability Insurance Professional.

Frank will be based at the BHSI office in Cologne and can be contacted at +49 221 4555 1918 or by email at [email protected]

In Europe, Berkshire Hathaway Specialty Insurance (BHSI) trades under the Berkshire Hathaway European Insurance DAC (BHEI) and Berkshire Hathaway International Insurance Limited (BHIIL). BHEI, is a Company Designated Activity Activities Ireland, Registration Number 636883 and Registered Office at One Grant’s Row, Dublin D02 HX96. BHEI is an affiliate of Berkshire Hathaway Specialty Insurance Company (BHSIC), a company domiciled in Nebraska USA, which provides commercial, marine, victims property, health professional liability, executive and professional lines, insurance, travel, programs, accidents and health, termination medical insurance and homeowners, and is a subsidiary of Berkshire Hathaway International Insurance Limited (BHIIL), a UK and Wales limited liability company, Registration Number 3230337 and Registered Office at 8 Fenchurch Place, 4th Floor, London EC3M 4AJ, England. BHSIC, BHIIL and BHEI are part of the national insurance group Berkshire Hathaway, which holds the A ++ financial strength rating from AM Best and AA + from Standard & Poor’s. Based in Boston, BHSI has offices in Atlanta, Boston, Chicago, Houston, Indianapolis, Irvine, Los Angeles, New York, San Francisco, San Ramon, Seattle, Stevens Point, Adelaide, Auckland, Brisbane, Cologne, Dubai, Dublin, Hong Kong, Kuala Lumpur, London, Macau, Madrid, Melbourne, Munich, Paris, Perth, Singapore, Sydney and Toronto.

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JoAnn Lee / +1 617-936-2937



SOURCE: Berkshire Hathaway Special Insurance

Copyright Business Wire 2020.

PUB: 07/20/2020 05:00 AM / DISC: 07/20/2020 05:01 AM


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Blue Earth Diagnostics CEO Jonathan Allis Appointed as Chair of the UK Rapid Testing Consortium (UK-RTC) for COVID-19 by the UK Department of Health and Social Care | Corona virus | Instant News


Blue Earth Diagnostics, a Bracco company focused on molecular imaging diagnostics, today announced that its CEO, Dr Jonathan Allis, has been appointed as Chair of the UK Rapid Testing Consortium (UK-RTC) for COVID-19 by the UK Ministry of Health and Social Care (DHSC). The UK-RTC has been formed to utilize the expertise and resources of the life science industry in the UK in a joint effort to design and develop home use antibody tests to determine whether people have developed antibodies (and possibly, potential immunity) after being contracted and recovered from COVID-19 . It combines knowledge from Oxford University with the skills of developing and manufacturing four British diagnostic companies: Abingdon Health in the UK, BBI Solutions in Wales, Omega Diagnostics in Scotland and CIGA Healthcare in Northern Ireland. In his role as Chair of the UK-RTC, Dr. Allis will act as an independent liaison between participating diagnostic companies and the government. Part time involvement has a limited duration, during which Dr. Allis will maintain his responsibilities as CEO of Blue Earth Diagnostics. The Chair of the UK-RTC is independent from the diagnostic company involved, and Blue Earth Diagnostics is not involved in this initiative.

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Jonathan Allis, CEO of Blue Earth Diagnostics (Photo: Business Wire)

“When DHSC invited me to lead a consortium to develop COVID-19 antibody tests based on new technology developed at Oxford University, and given the urgency of the COVID-19 health crisis worldwide, I felt it was my absolute duty to say ‘yes,'” said Jonathan Allis, D. Phil, CEO of Blue Earth Diagnostics. “Testing for the presence of the SARS-CoV-2 virus (antigen testing) and immune response after COVID-19 (antibody testing) may be done in large hospitals and public and private laboratories now, but what we really need is a home test ( somewhat similar to a home pregnancy test), which can be used to test the entire population. This will help us understand how much of the population is exposed to the virus and help determine plans for people who are returning to work. “

Dr Allis continued, “Medical diagnostics are very important to inform patients of appropriate care and care, and I am honored that my industry experience in the rapid development of health diagnostics might be valuable in this effort.”

“This is a great story about how our manufacturers in the UK are increasing the challenge of COVID-19, and I hope this product will have an impact in our battle against this terrible disease,” said Lord Bethell, Minister of Health for Innovation and Testing. “This is a big step in the right direction. People want to know if they suffer from this disease, with tests they can trust.”

Jonathan Allis is the founder CEO of Blue Earth Diagnostics. Prior to this role, Dr. Allis was General Manager for PET at GE Healthcare Life Sciences, and has global responsibility for GE Healthcare PET agents and PET synthesis business platforms. He previously held positions in R&D, Marketing and Product Development at GE Healthcare, Amersham plc, Siemens Medical Solutions and Oxford Magnet Technology, in the United Kingdom, United States and Germany.

Dr. Allis is the Non-Executive Chair of Polarean Imaging plc and previously served as Chair of the Nuclear Medicine Society and the Molecular Imaging Industry Value Initiative. He has a bachelor’s degree in Physics from the University of Cape Town and a doctorate in Biochemistry from the University of Oxford.

About Blue Earth Diagnostics

Blue Earth Diagnostics is a leading molecular imaging diagnostic company that focuses on developing and commercializing new PET imaging agents to inform clinical management and guide care for cancer patients in the areas of unmet medical needs. Formed in 2014, Blue Earth Diagnostics is led by recognized experts in the clinical development and commercialization of innovative nuclear medicine products. The first product approved and commercially available by the company is Axumin® (fluciclovine F 18), a new molecular imaging agent approved in the United States and European Union for use in PET imaging to detect and localize prostate cancer in men with a diagnosis of biochemical recurrence. Fluciclovine F 18 has a wide range of other potential applications in cancer imaging and Blue Earth Diagnostics is investigating molecules for other cancers including neuro-oncology. The company’s pipeline includes an innovative innovative Antigen Special Antigen Membrane (PSMA) -added radiohybrid (“rh”) agent, which is a clinical stage, a class of investigation of theranostic compounds, with potential applications in imaging and treatment of prostate cancer. Blue Earth Diagnostics is a subsidiary of Bracco Imaging S.p.A., a global leader in diagnostic imaging. For more information, visit: www.blueearthdiagnostics.com.

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CONTACT: For Blue Earth Diagnostics (UK)

Clare Gidley

Communication Manager Acting

Tel: +44 (0) 7917 536939

[email protected]

Sam Brown Inc.

Mike Beyer

(M) 1 (312) 961-2502

[email protected] Blue Earth Diagnostics (U.S.)

Priscilla Harlan

Vice President, Corporate Communications

(M) 1 (781) 799-7917

[email protected]



SOURCE: Blue Earth Diagnostics

Copyright Business Wire 2020.

PUB: 01/05/2020 04:00 AM / DISC: 01/05/2020 04:00 AM


Copyright Business Wire 2020.


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Latest: Former member of the Browns team donates to help children | The NFL | Instant News

The latest about the effects of the spread of coronavirus on sports throughout the world:


Former Cleveland Browns teammates Joe Thomas and Andrew Hawkins have donated at least $ 50,000 to feed Ohio children affected by a coronavirus pandemic.

Thomas and Hawkins, who since retiring from the NFL have partnered in popular weekly podcasts, also plan to match every dollar in contributions of up to $ 50,000 to the Children’s Hunger Alliance.

Donations can be made at https://childrenshungeralliance.org/thomahawk/.

CHA serves nutritious food for children in Ohio at risk, helping child care providers, child care centers, local school districts, and after school and summer programs.

Pro Bowler 10 times, Thomas played 11 seasons in Cleveland before retiring after the 2017 season. Hawkins, who played campus football in Toledo, spent three seasons with the Browns and three with the Cincinnati Bengals.


Bobblehead Hall of Fame CEO Phil Sklar will give a virtual check of $ 100,000 Wednesday afternoon to the Association for Healthcare Philanthropy after the Milwaukee-based museum launches a fundraising campaign with Dr. bobblehead Anthony Fauci who became the best-seller ever.

More than 20,000 orders have been entered on Wednesday from 50 states and more than a dozen countries to support the “100 Million Mask Challenge.” Bobblehead Fauci was inaugurated on April 1.

This creation features Fauci wearing a suit as he makes a move that shows how this nation needs to “level the curve” in a coronavirus pandemic.

The museum chose Fauci because many people saw experts talking about coronaviruses as today’s heroes, said Sklar.


TCU soccer coach Gary Patterson and his wife, Kelsey, made a $ 50,000 donation to support the school’s Frog Family Crisis Fund.

Athletics director Jeremiah Donati announced donations in a tweet. This fund supports TCU students and their families in need during times like the current pandemic.

Patterson is the second longest tenured FBS head coach, entering the 20th season next fall to lead the Horned Frogs. He was their defense coordinator three seasons before.


Opening of stable areas and training tracks in Saratoga in northern New York and warehouse areas in Monmouth Park in New Jersey is being delayed due to the coronavirus pandemic.

The Oklahoma training track in Saratoga will open April 15. The New York Racing Association said it had not yet decided the exact date to open it safely.

The delay had no effect at the start of the Saratoga racing season which is scheduled to start on July 16 and run until September 7. The meeting will be highlighted by Travers and Whitney.

In New Jersey, Monmouth Park has pushed back the opening of its stable territory until June 1. That’s a month later than the planned opening. Live racing will begin the Fourth of July weekend.

The heart of the Monmouth Park summer is the $ 1 million Haskell Invitational on July 18. The winner of the 1 1/8 mile race has a place in the Breeders’ Cup Classic. It will also function as a preparatory race for the Kentucky Derby, now scheduled for September 5.


A groom working at Belmont Park has died due to complications from a coronavirus.

The New York Racing Association said Martin Zapata died Tuesday. The 63-year-old native of Panama has spent the last two years working for coach Tom Morley in New York, who was devastated by the pandemic.

NYRA said Zapata tested positive for COVID-19 on March 24 and was hospitalized two days later. He lives and works in Belmont Park.


Sevilla has become the latest Spanish football club to put its players on leave to reduce labor costs during the coronavirus pandemic.

The club said the move was needed because it was significantly affected financially by stopping competition in Spain and Europe.

It said it reached an initial agreement with first team players and coaches regarding their salaries but no details were immediately released.

The club said a total of 360 employees will be affected. It is said workers who can continue to do their work remotely will not continue on leave.

The current contract will remain in effect after the leave is over.

Barcelona and Atlético Madrid have requested government leave to reduce labor costs. They reached an agreement with the players to reduce their salary by up to 70%.

The league said on Tuesday eight teams had requested leave. It is expected that almost all clubs in Spain finally reach an agreement to reduce the salaries of their players.

The Spanish league estimates a loss of $ 1 billion ($ 1.1 billion) if the competition cannot continue.


Former French rugby player Christophe Pras has died after being infected by coronavirus.

Some of his former clubs announced death. 35 years old.

The former French international, under the age of 18, had a brief professional career before becoming a coach.

Pras is survived by his wife and two children.


The group in charge of monitoring tennis gambling and punishing corruption found almost double the number of suspect matches in the first three months of 2020. That is an increase related to the coronavirus pandemic.

The London-based quarterly report on Tennis Integrity Unit said it received a total of 38 warnings from the betting industry that arranged about matches on low-level tours from the beginning of the year to March 22

That’s up from 21 in the same period in 2019.

38 commemorative matches in the first quarter of this year broke down as six from the ATP Challenger Tour and 16 respectively from the International Tennis Tour of the World Tennis Federation of men and women.

The report concluded that the jump showed that entry tennis levels were “deliberately targeted” when the sport moved towards suspension due to the outbreak of COVID-19.

All pro tours were postponed until at least mid-July.


Players and coaches of the Swiss national soccer team have refused to take more than 1 million Swiss francs ($ 1.03 million) payments due from their federation in 2020.

The team is scheduled to play in the European Championship which is now postponed in June and two matches in Qatar were canceled last month due to the coronavirus pandemic.

Closing the game has cost millions of dollars for the Swiss football body.

Federation chairman Dominique Blanc said it was an “extraordinary gesture” from the players.

Blanc tested positive for the virus three weeks ago.

Team captain Stephan Lichtsteiner said, “We want to set an example and show solidarity.”


The president of the International Paralympic Committee said the agency had “cash flow” problems because of the Olympic and Paralympic delays until 2021.

Andrew Parsons said about 5% of spending was being cut from the IPC budget. The 2018 financial report shows a budget of 24 million euros ($ 25.7 million).

Parsons said the problem was partly due to broadcast rights holders who wanted to delay their payment until the product was shipped.

Parsons said this was not a matter of “losing money” but rather because of temporary tightening.

He said “like all of our businesses are severely affected by the COVID-19 crisis.”

He said he was dealing with 150 contracts related to gaming but added “we have no plans to let staff go at this time.”


The world track championship in Eugene, Oregon, has been rescheduled for July 15-24, 2022.

The event was pushed back a year because the Tokyo Olympics were postponed until 2021 amid a coronavirus pandemic.

World tracks were originally scheduled for August 6-15, 2021.

World Athletics President Sebastian Coe said 2022 would be a “bonanza for athletic fans around the world” with the Commonwealth Games starting in Birmingham, England, just three days after the world crossing.

The 2022 Commonwealth Games are scheduled for July 27-August. The 7th and multisport European Championships are currently scheduled for August 11-21 in Munich.

World Athletics has also delayed the bidding process for the 2023 World Athletics Series event. It will now open in November 2020.


Formula One said it would cut half of its staff until the end of May and senior executives would take pay cuts amid a coronavirus pandemic.

F1 has postponed eight races so far this season and the Monaco Grand Prix has been canceled.

F1 said senior leadership figures would take “voluntary salary deductions while continuing to work and not leave.”

CEO Chase Carey will take a “much deeper” salary cut.

The McLaren and Williams teams have put a number of staff on the leave scheme. McLaren drivers Lando Norris and Carlos Sainz have also made salary cuts.

This season is scheduled to begin in France on June 28. F1 management says it still hopes to hold between 15 and 18 races this year in the original 22nd place.


An Olympic finalist twice within 800 meters has died after being infected with the corona virus.

The Italian Olympic Committee said Donato Sabia had died. He is 56 years old.

CONI said he was the first Italian Olympian to die of a virus.

Sabia finished fifth in 800 at the 1984 Los Angeles Games and seventh at the 1988 Seoul Games. She also won 800 at the 1984 European Indoor Championships.

Sabia died in his hometown of Potenza in southern Italy shortly after his father also died of the virus.


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