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“Penn was perfectly positioned to tackle the issue,” Caplan remarked. “Here, we have pioneering researchers at Wistar and CHOP. We have one of the world’s best business schools. The handful of drug companies that still manufacture vaccines are right in our backyard. And we have a great Law School whose dean (Michael Fitts) grasps the strategic imperative and potential of integrating all of this expertise.”

Coincidentally, Feldman, who in addition to his faculty position at the Law School is a senior fellow at Penn’s Center for Bioethics, had been developing a project on legal and ethical issues of vaccination with Ronald Bayer, professor of Sociomedical Sciences and co-director of the Center for the History and Ethics of Public Health at Columbia’s Mailman School of Public Health, and Bayer’s colleague James Colgrove. Feldman and Bayer have collaborated on widely publicized research on HIV, national blood supplies, and tobacco products, and have known Caplan since the 1980s, when all three of them worked at the Hastings Center. In just one conversation, their shared interest and enthusiasm crystallized: Caplan, Feldman, and Bayer are all principal co-investigators on the Penn project.

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