An MIT scientist helps with the concocts and Oprah with the promo

Remember the outrage at the recent news that China uses popular pregnancy tests to harvest DNA from around the world? Hardly.
You probably remember even less about this story. It has been first revealed by The Intercept in 2016, at the peaks of the Trump hysteria (first edition), so no one paid it any real attention, even though a good chunk of mainstream media picked up on it, I even found it on CBS News.
Now we’re in the middle of the Afghanistan ‘debacle’, but I hope some of us learned a few things in the meantime and will receive this as it deserves, because first fires shot landed in no-man’s land and you can bet a finger this business model has since been improved and diversified.

SOURCE

Below you have the original Intercept article that broke the story:

CIA’S VENTURE CAPITAL ARM IS FUNDING SKIN CARE PRODUCTS THAT COLLECT DNA

by Lee Fang
The Intercept, April 8 2016, 1:04 p.m.

SKINCENTIAL SCIENCES, a company with an innovative line of cosmetic products marketed as a way to erase blemishes and soften skin, has caught the attention of beauty bloggers on YouTube, Oprah’s lifestyle magazine, and celebrity skin care professionals. Documents obtained by The Intercept reveal that the firm has also attracted interest and funding from In-Q-Tel, the venture capital arm of the Central Intelligence Agency.

The previously undisclosed relationship with the CIA might come as some surprise to a visitor to the website of Clearista, the main product line of Skincential Sciences, which boasts of a “formula so you can feel confident and beautiful in your skin’s most natural state.”

Though the public-facing side of the company touts a range of skin care products, Skincential Sciences developed a patented technology that removes a thin outer layer of the skin, revealing unique biomarkers that can be used for a variety of diagnostic tests, including DNA collection.

Skincential Science’s noninvasive procedure, described on the Clearista website as “painless,” is said to require only water, a special detergent, and a few brushes against the skin, making it a convenient option for restoring the glow of a youthful complexion — and a novel technique for gathering information about a person’s biochemistry.

clearista-1

A screen grab from the Clearista website.

In-Q-Tel, founded in 1999 by then-CIA Director George Tenet, identifies cutting-edge technology to support the mission of the CIA and other intelligence agencies, and provides venture funding to help grow tech firms to develop those solutions.

“Our company is an outlier for In-Q-Tel,” Russ Lebovitz, the chief executive of Skincential Sciences, said during an interview with The Intercept. He conceded that the relationship might make for “an unusual and interesting story,” but said, “If there’s something beneath the surface, that’s not part of our relationship and I’m not directly aware. They’re interested here in something that can get easy access to biomarkers.”

Still, Lebovitz claimed he has limited knowledge of why In-Q-Tel selected his firm.

“I can’t tell you how everyone works with In-Q-Tel, but they are very interested in doing things that are pure science,” Lebovitz said. The CIA fund approached his company, telling him the fund shares an interest in looking at DNA extraction using the method pioneered by Skincential Sciences, according to Lebovitz.The CIA fund has described human skin as a “unique, underutilized source for sample collection.”

Beyond that, Lebovitz said he was unsure of the intent of the CIA’s use of the technology, but the fund was “specifically interested in the diagnostics, detecting DNA from normal skin.” He added, “There’s no better identifier than DNA, and we know we can pull out DNA.”

Perhaps law enforcement could use the biomarker extraction technique for crime scene identification or could conduct drug tests, Lebovitz suggested.

Carrie A. Sessine, the vice president for external affairs at In-Q-Tel, declined a media interview because “IQT does not participate in media interviews or opportunities.”

(Officials at the venture capital firm have, in fact, given interviews in the past.)

Though In-Q-Tel operates in the open, it has often kept key details of its activities out of public view, beyond required annual reports. After a SecureDrop source told The Intercept about a gathering in San Jose for In-Q-Tel executives and start-up companies backed by the fund, The Intercept attempted to attend, but was denied access.

Skincential Sciences was among several presenting companies.

The shroud of secrecy around In-Q-Tel belies a 17-year effort to build ties between the CIA and the biggest names in Silicon Valley. Gilman Louie, a video game executive known for publishing best-sellers such as Tetris, Falcon, and Civilization II, was brought on as the first chief executive of In-Q-Tel. The popular mapping tool Google Earth was created around technology developed by Keyhole Corp., an In-Q-Tel-backed company that was later acquired by Google.

physiological_intelligence-3

A graphic from the “IQT Quarterly” summer 2010 issue on the new modalities in sampling and sensing collection.

Graphic: IQT Quarterly

Still, little is publicly revealed about the use of In-Q-Tel-backed ventures and their relevance to the goals of intelligence agencies. Many of the fund’s investments are not publicly revealed. The fund is reviewed by the CIA’s inspector general and reports directly to the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence, which frequently conducts business through classified briefings.

David Petraeus, while serving as the director of the CIA in 2012, remarked, “Our partnership with In-Q-Tel is essential to helping identify and deliver groundbreaking technologies with mission-critical applications to the CIA and to our partner agencies.”

Despite the association with computer and satellite technology, In-Q-Tel also maintains a long-running interest in developing advanced genetic analysis, biological technologies for detection and diagnostics, as well as research into what is known as physiological intelligence, which, in a 2010 article, the fund described as “actionable information about human identity and experience that have always been of interest to the Intelligence Community.”

The article, which is no longer available on the fund’s website but is preserved by a cache hosted by the Internet Archive, argues that advances in medical research into biomarkers can be leveraged by intelligence agencies for a variety of uses, from airport security to next-generation identification tools.

A diagram in the article calls human skin the body’s largest organ and a “unique, underutilized source for sample collection.” The author, Dr. Kevin O’Connell, then a “senior solutions architect” with In-Q-Tel, notes, “The DNA contained in microorganisms in a person’s gut or on a person’s skin may contain sequences that indicate a particular geographical origin.”

clearista_process

A screen grab from the Clearista website describing the resurfacing process of its product.

Image: Clearista.com

In-Q-Tel has invested in several companies working in this realm, in addition to Skincential Sciences. In 2013, In-Q-Tel publicly announced a strategic partnership with Bio-NEMS, a firm that developed a semiconductor device used to analyze DNA for a variety of diagnostic and human identification applications. Claremont BioSolutions, a diagnostics firm, and Biomatrica, a firm that specializes in preparing biological samples for DNA testing, are also backed by In-Q-Tel.

Skincential Sciences did not start out as a beauty company. The firm was founded in 2010 as DX Biosciences, which was developed around a patent by a team of scientists including Dr. Samir Mitragotri of the University of California, Santa Barbara. Mitragotri has published research into the use of biomarkers as a “window to body’s health.”

The company gained early backing from Frontier, a venture capital company, among other investors.

While the technology has potential for a variety of medical diagnostics, including early melanoma detection, Lebovitz said the company quickly realized it had immediate value as a cosmetic. The application of the detergent developed by the firm could be used easily to diminish blemishes and dark patches on the skin. And unlike similar treatments at aesthetic spas, the technology developed by Dr. Mitragotri and his colleagues did not require acid or any discomfort.

In 2013, the firm relaunched and recapitalized as Skincential Sciences, with Clearista as its primary brand of beauty products.

Lebovitz says he intends to continue developing the technology so that it may be medically relevant, but he is also focusing on breaking into the multibillion-dollar skin care market. While Skincential has won measured success for its Clearista brand products by landing coverage on television and through social media, the company has not yet been able to compete with mainstream skin care companies.

Jamie Walsh, a blogger who runs Glam Latte, a beauty website, endorsed a Clearista product on her YouTube channel, noting that with only one application of the cream, her skin improved and was “glowing.” Walsh said Skincential Sciences sent her the product for a testimonial, and noted that like many independent brands, she did not know about the company’s funding.

Skincential hopes to license its product with a major distributor, or even one day become acquired by a larger beauty company. “We’ll take any of those,” said Lebovitz.

The chief executive noted that he is proud of the In-Q-Tel support, calling the fund “great partners.”

At the gathering in February for In-Q-Tel portfolio companies, Lebovitz joined a crowd that included a number of In-Q-Tel executives, along with senior members of the intelligence community. Presenting speakers included Federal Bureau of Investigation Director James Comey, Deputy Secretary of Defense Robert Work, and John Maeda, design partner of Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers, a leading Silicon Valley investment firm.

“Not only was I the odd man out,” Lebovitz said, “but almost every woman at the conference wanted to come up to me to talk about skin care.
– The Intercept

FAST FORWARD TO 2021

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Can’t wait to make a video and see if YouTube bans this!

Remember “The Good Cabal” who “fortified the 2020 elections” in US, according to TIME? You think they stopped after successfully hi-jacking the US Government?
However, this group below has been described by mainstream media as “The Good Club”. Right.

Stacy Palmer, editor of the Chronicle of Philanthropy, said the summit was unprecedented. “We only learnt about it afterwards, by accident. Normally these people are happy to talk good causes, but this is different – maybe because they don’t want to be seen as a global cabal,” he said.

  • May 26, 2009, 11:57 AM ET

Billionaires Try to Shrink World’s Population, Report Says

buffettgates0526_E_20090526111421.jpg

Last week’s meeting of the Great and the Good (or the Richest and Richer) was bound to draw criticism.

The New York meeting of billionaires Bill Gates, Warren Buffett, David Rockefeller, Eli Broad, George Soros, Ted Turner, Oprah, Michael Bloomberg and others was described by the Chronicle of Philanthropy as an informal gathering aimed at encouraging philanthropy. Just a few billionaires getting together for drinks and dinner and a friendly chat about how to promote charitable giving.

There was no agenda, we were told. And no plan for a follow-up meeting.

But in an age of fallen wealth idols, it was inevitable that a meeting of billionaire minds would draw scrutiny. Surely all that money and power in one room had to spell trouble for the rest of us.

An article in the Times of London, headlined “Billionaire Club in Bid to Curb World Population,” said the issues discussed in the top-secret meeting included health care, education and–by far the most controversial–slowing the global population growth.

“Taking their cue from Gates they agreed that overpopulation was a priority,” the article said, adding that “this could result in a challenge to some Third World politicians who believe contraception and female education weaken traditional values.”

Such a stand wouldn’t be surprising. Mssrs. Gates, Buffett and Turner have been quietly worrying about Malthusian population problems for years. Mr. Gates in February outlined a plan to try to cap the world’s population at 8.3 billion people, rather than the projected 9.3 billion at which the population is expected to peak.

But some right-leaning blogs have started attacking the billionaires as forming a kind of secret sterilization society or giant ATM to fund abortions. It fed into time-honored fears of the rich using their wealth to reshape mankind in its preferred image. Some are raising the specter of eugenics.

I am not taking a stand on population control. But from what I was personally told about the meeting–and what the Times spells out further down in its story–population control was just one of many items raised during the meeting, as each philanthropist talked about what they were working on. It wasn’t the reason for meeting and there are no real plans for a follow-up confab.

The notion that this secret gathering was aimed mostly at shrinking the world’s population just doesn’t ring true.

That said, almost all of the attendees are politically liberal. Do you think this Star Chamber of Philanthropists is something to worry about or something to be grateful for?

Oprah Winfrey’s charity challenge

Eleven of the world’s wealthiest people, including Warren Buffett and Bill Gates, met in secret a fortnight ago to discuss the future of philanthropy in light of the continued global economic crisis.

By The Telegraph UK
Last Updated: 7:41PM BST 21 May 2009

Other attendees included Oprah Winfrey, the billionaire chat show host, Michael Bloomberg, mayor of New York, Ted Turner, the media mogul, and George Soros, the man who “broke the Bank of England” in 1992.

Although details of the meeting are only now emerging, it is believed the group met to brainstorm how best to bolster charitable giving in spite of the recent reduction in wealth.

Despite market conditions, the 11 attendees still share a combined fortune of $120bn (£76bn), based on the Forbes 2009 list of the world’s richest people.

The meeting was held on May 5, at the private residence of the president of Rockefeller University on New York’s exclusive Upper East Side.

It is not known if the attendees discussed working together on a charitable basis, although all present have been involved in philanthropy in some shape or form.

Mr Gates has bestowed the majority of his $37bn fortune to the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, while Mr Soros last week pledged $50m to the Robin Hood Foundation.

Article deleted and retrieved with the Wayback Machine:


Wednesday May 20, 2009 
America’s Top Philanthropists Hold Private Meeting to Discuss Global Problems
By Chronicle of Philanthropy 

In a quiet meeting closed to the news media and the public, Bill Gates, David Rockefeller Sr., Oprah Winfrey, and other leading philanthropists met in New York this month to discuss ways to promote charitable giving and make their philanthropy more effective in fighting problems at home and abroad.
The unusual event, which occurred May 5 at Rockefeller University in New York, was an unprecedented gathering of the world’s wealthiest — and most generous — people. Together, the philanthropists in the room have committed a total of more than $72.5-billion to charitable causes since 1996, according to Chronicle of Philanthropy tallies.
While the meeting and its hush-hush nature has triggered intense speculation by the news media about what was discussed, Patricia Q. Stonesifer, former chief executive of the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, said it was simply a gathering of people who have a common passion for helping others.
“A group of philanthropists came together to discuss their giving,” said Ms. Stonesifer, who attended the meeting. “There’s really no secret about that. It was an informal get-together and a chance to exchange ideas about what motivates them and what they have learned so far.”
“There was an enormous amount of enthusiasm and excitement around their giving and that was a very big part of what they were there for,” she added.
Among the high-profile participants were Ted Turner, Warren E. Buffett, George Soros, Peter G. Peterson, Eli Broad, and New York City Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg. (All of those philanthropists have appeared at one time on The Chronicle’s ranking of America’s most-generous donors.)Mr. Buffett, Mr. Rockefeller, and Mr. Gates called together the elite group, sending a short letter of invitation to each of the guests. Mr. Rockefeller arranged the location — the private Manhattan residence of Rockefeller University’s president. (Mr. Rockefeller is an honorary member of the institution’s Board of Trustees.)
Ms. Stonesifer, who helped coordinate the meeting, said it started at 3 p.m. and lasted through dinner. Given the personalities in the room, the meeting touched upon a variety of philanthropy topics, said Ms. Stonesifer, who is currently chairwoman of the Smithsonian Institution’s Board of Regents.“
It was a wide-ranging conversation,” she said, “but they each shared what motivates their giving, their areas of focus of their work, the lessons learned, and thoughts on how we might increase giving.”
Indeed, the philanthropic interests represented on that day were rather diverse. For example, Mr. Peterson, co-founder of a private-equity firm, is focused on changing the government’s financing of social programs and other fiscal issues, while Ms. Winfrey has primarily given money to education efforts in South Africa and elsewhere.
Ms. Stonesifer — and others who attended the event — declined to say what was specifically talked about. The former Gates foundation leader did say that the attendees are not working on a major collaborative charitable project but do plan to continue to talk to one another.“
It was a really great discussion, and we agreed to continue the dialogue in the future, but there were no specific action items out of the meeting,” she said.
With such a powerful guest list, some blog writers have fixated on the meeting as the origins of some international conspiracy. But Ms. Stonesifer objected to the meeting being described as a “secret” event with mysterious intent.“
It was a private gathering. There are often opportunities for each of these individuals to discuss their giving in public — and they often do. But this really was a conversation among friends and colleagues.”
She added: “People are automatically curious about these types of things. But they were all quite matter-of-fact about why they were there. It was like a gathering that you and I have, but it was just a different group of friends and colleagues discussing what they care about.”

But you’re crazy to suspect anything malicious.

To be continued?
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! Articles can always be subject of later editing as a way of perfecting them

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