Stocks have shown a … lack of direction over the course of early trading on Tuesday, as traders weigh largely upbeat economic data against … lingering concerns about the EU debt crisis. The major averages have been bouncing … back and forth across the unchanged line.
The biggest news for the universe is Geron’s (NASDAQ:GERN) exit from Stem-Cell Therapy research citing the cost of research … http://www.scimitarequity.com/blog/2011/11/15/geron-gern-exits-stem-cell-research-to-focus-on-cancer-treatments
Mid-Day: The NASDAQ is UP +19.21 (+0.72%) to 2,676.43. The Dow is UP +40.08 (+0.33%) to 12,119.06.
What’s new in the regenerative medicine/stem cell market …
Geron’s (GERN) announcement … My OPINION … and … Bottom Line:
Geron said that its move did not reflect a lack of promise for the controversial field. Rather, it said, with money scarce … it had decided to focus on its experimental cancer therapies, which are further along in development. Still, the move is expected to be widely seen as a setback for embryonic versus adult stem cell research; because of GERN’s central and early role. There will be a lot of concern GERN’s exit and speculation will create fits, rebounds and share price depreciation … for a while … for the stem cell universe. But, it has cast a pall over existing research field. A specific issue that is still paramount … managing and controlling the cells as well as the manufacturing capability. I believe the FDA bears some responsibility in that it has inhibited research invoking “holds” and trial approvals. I could have used another title … “FDA kills human embryonic stem cell (hESC) research” invoking the song by the BUGDLES, 1979 hit …”Video Killed the Radio Star”. It celebrates the golden days of radio, describing a singer whose career is cut short by television. The biggest credibility hit, could be taken by the California Institute of Regenerative Medicine (CIRM) which was supposed to provide matching funds to help GERN finance clinical trials of its experimental stem cell therapies. Yet, another factor is the new CEO, John Scarlett who was brought in at the end of September replacing long time CEO, Tom Okarma … who had to make some tough decisions. At the end of the day, as enticing as the upside could have been … it was also impractical to carry cell therapy and cancer research programs. One has to wonder about Advanced Cell Technology (OTC BB: ACTC) as the only stem cell company conducting active clinical trials on human embryonic stem cell-based products. That’s not to say that all stem cell research is … toast. Work continues in embryonic stem cells and “adult” stem cells treatments forged from cells that already have differentiated into specific functions like heart muscle as well as induced pluripotent stem cells, adult stem cells returned to an embryonic-like state and manipulated in the lab to form specific cells. So, how many other business plans are about to change and evolve …?