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The RegMed Daily Dialogue, 5/27/11, wish I wasn’t here

May 27, 2011 12:53 PM ET
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The 6 W’s: Who, what, where, when, why and what of it…

Regenerative medicine/stem cell universe stocks are FLOATING  in LIGHT VOLUME (20% – OFF)  mid-day trading on Friday (5/27/11). The NASDAQ is UP 16.08 (0.58%) to 2799.00. The Dow is also UP 66.52 (0.54%) to 12,469.28.  Being that macro initiatives have played such a major role, it is appropriate to mention:

  • US stocks opened higher on Friday after the Group of Eight leaders, at a 2 day summit in France, noting that a … strengthening global economy would lead to debt reductions;
  • Risk backdrop continues to improve despite concerns about the dampened momentum behind the economic recovery, the heightened volatility in the headlines surrounding the fiscal crisis on the European periphery and the stalemate on the debt ceiling.

What’s driving the regenerative medicine – stem cell market … today … A PRE HOLIDAY WEEKEND.  A gauge of consumer sentiment rose in May as expectations improved. The overall sentiment gauge increased to 74.3 in May from 69.8 in April. However, the gauge remains below a reading of 77.5 in February before prices for gasoline spiked. The gauge, which covers how consumers view their personal finances, as well as business and buying conditions, averaged about 87 in the year before the start of the most recent recession. Economists had expected a final May reading of 72.5, compared with an estimate earlier in the month of 72.4.  Some say … the improved confidence could boost the economy in the second half of the year.


So … are we DUE … a positive JUNE which has a  historical bias toward volitility and usually has been  tough on the market!




A push to renew QTDP tax credit:  2 lawmakers are proposing to revive a 1X grant program announced last year that pumped $1B into biotech R&D.    The therapeutic discovery tax credit was passed as a single-shot funding injection under the 2010 federal health reform legislation. Reps. Susan Davis, D-Calif., and Allyson Schwartz, D-Pa., proposed in their bill this week to extend the program’s $1B annual allocation through fiscal 2017. The bottom line, any non-dilutive credit is good money for capital-starved early-stage biotechs, even in sub $1M parcels.


Science Brief, Skin cells turned into neurons: Scientists have managed to convert human skin cells directly into functioning brain cells by manipulating the process by which DNA is transcribed within foetal skin cells to create cells which behaved like neurons. The technique had previously been demonstrated in mice, as reported in Nature. It could be used for neurological research, and might conceivably be used to create brain cells for transplant. The scientists used genetically modified viruses to introduce 4 different “transcription factors” into foetal skin cells. The bottom line, these transcription factors play a role in the “reading” of DNA and the encoding of proteins within the cells showing that it is possible to convert human skin cells directly into cells which look and behave like nerve cells. Scientists found the introduction of these 4 transcription factors had the effect of switching a small portion of the skin cells into cells which functioned like neurons. Unlike other approaches, the process did not involve the reprogramming of the skin cells into stem cells, but rather the direct transformation of skin cells into neurons.


ReNeuron Group plc (LSE: RENE.L) Preliminary results and update on stroke clinical trial: RENE completed dosing of the 1st cohort of patients in the PISCES clinical trial of its ReN001 stem cell therapy for disabled stroke patients; the PISCES study (Pilot Investigation of Stem Cells in Stroke). The last of the 3 patients in this dose cohort was treated with ReN001 and was safely discharged from hospital 2 days later. ReN001 stem cell therapy is being administered to a total of 12 stroke patients who have been left disabled by an ischemic stroke. The bottom line, the aim of the study is to test the safety and tolerability of the treatment in progressive doses while assessing longer term efficacy measures.


France set to uphold curbs on embryonic stem cells:  France could maintain its curbs on human embryonic stem cell research after the conservative government fought off a parliamentary bid to liberalize the country’s bioethics law. The National Assembly voted to uphold the curbs in the 2nd reading of the new bioethics law. Conservative legislators and the Roman Catholic Church had protested after an initial Senate vote to authorize this research. The Senate holds its reading of the bill in early June. If it votes again to allow embryonic stem cell research, the bill will go to a parliamentary conference committee where the National Assembly version of the bill would take precedence. The bottom line, France has one of the stricter laws on embryonic stem cell research in Europe, banning it except for research with imported embryos not used for in vitro fertilization in other countries. 

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