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Ex-drugmaker CEO turned Senate hopeful: I met with Dimon on health care and like what he’s doing with Bezos and …

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Jamie Dimon’s newly announced health-care venture with Jeff Bezos and Warren Buffett will be good for the U.S., former Celgene Chairman and CEO Bob Hugin told CNBC on Wednesday.

Hugin, who is running for the Republican nomination for Senate in New Jersey, said he spoke with the J.P Morgan chief Dimon last week about the venture with Amazon’s Bezos and Berkshire’s Buffett to lower health-care costs.

“What they’re doing at Amazon and Berkshire is a great thing,” Hugin told “Squawk Box.” “We need to experiment and innovate and try new things. We need to break the system down in components and fix it.”

“I’m going to go to Washington and I’m going to craft specific proposals to reform health care,” he added.

The 63-year-old former pharmaceutical executive has pledged to bring a sense of affordability and responsibility back to New Jersey. In an op-edthis week, Hugin reflected on his nearly 20 years working in the sector and declared that the U.S. is failing to adequately address the increasing inequality of health care.

“We do need reform of the health-care system,” Hugin said Wednesday. “We deliver health care in America like it’s 1960, with acute hospital [at the] center of our care. We need to shift this to payment reform. We have to innovate.”

Hugin’s former company, Celgene, recently agreed to buy Juno Therapeutics for about $9 billion in cash to gain access to Juno’s pipeline of CAR-T cancer drugs. So-called CAR T-cell therapies take a patient’s own immune cells, called T cells, genetically manipulatee them to attack specific proteins on cancer, and infuse them back into the patient.

The deal came as the clock was ticking for Celgene. Celgene will lose patent protection for Revlimid, its top-selling multiple myeloma drug that brought in about 60 percent of fiscal third quarter revenue of nearly $3.3 billion.

When asked about Revlimid on Wednesday, Hugin asserted that the multiple myeloma drug continues to be a valuable asset.

“I can’t speak for Celgene anymore,” he said. “But I can tell you, Revlimid is an incredibly valuable drug for patients. It is so important breakthrough therapy.”

Berkeley Lovelace


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