ddn’s ‘summer of stem cells’

From collaborations between the world’s top pharmas and biotechnology companies, to groundbreaking preclinical research, to the development of new tools to be used in stem cell research labs, ddn has become a veritable “Situation Room” for stem cells.

Amy Swinderman
Drug Discovery Newsis, described in the simplest and most basic way, a newspaper. Diving a littledeeper, it is the job of our editors and writers to monitor trends anddevelopments that impact the business of drug discovery in some way. In thepast year, many of these trends and developments have involved the field ofstem cell research. Therefore, it is no coincidence that in response to a spikein stem cell-related news, we here at ddnhave dedicated a great deal of ink to covering news in this growing researcharea this year. From collaborations between the world's top pharmas andbiotechnology companies, to groundbreaking preclinical research, to thedevelopment of new tools to be used in stem cell research labs, ddn has become a veritable "SituationRoom" for stem cells.
 
This trend in our coverage inspired us to launch a summerfeature series dedicated exclusively to the topic of stem cells. The three-partseries began in our July issue, in which we examined the complex history ofstem cell research and the promise it holds for improving human health. We alsodescribed how the evolution of this still-young area of science has yet toresolve serious moral and ethical concerns with regard to human embryonic stemcell research (hESC)—issues that have divided various levels of government intheir capacity to help fund promising research projects. Finally, we providedreaders with a comparative view of how stem cell research efforts outside ofthe United States are conducted, and how various foreign governments approachsome of the issues we're dealing with on home soil.
 
In the second part of our series, which ran in our Augustissue, we decided to tackle those very issues in a direct way. Assembling apanel of experts—Dr. Theresa Deisher, founder, CEO and chief scientific officerof AVM Biotechnology (and one of the plaintiffs in the Sherley v. Sebelius case); Dr. Verna McErlane, director ofcommercial operations at Sistemic Ltd.; and Dr. Mark Pittenger, CEO and chiefscientific officer of Pearl Lifescience Partners LLC—we asked hard-hittingquestions about hESC research. The participants in our roundtable discussionoffered diverse, but very insightful, comments on the moral and scientificimplications of conducting hESC research.
 
Finally, this month, we are concluding this series with alook at who the major commercial players are in the stem cell market—a sort of"Who's Who of Stem Cell Research." Selecting the companies we chose to profilein this story proved to be a daunting task, as the field is growing by the day.Thus, we teamed up with the market research firm Frost & Sullivan to makeour final selections. While our final list is by no means conclusive, we thinkit's a good depiction of the depth and breadth of stem cell research beingperformed. We also take a close look at some of the United States' top academiccenters that are performing work in this area.
 
Now that summer is over, and we are awakening from our stemcell coma, we'll be taking a closer look at other trends, such as what's new incell biology, as well as providing you with guides to the final conferences ofthe year, such as the Society for Neuroscience's annual show in October. However,we haven't written the last word on stem cells. We will continue to report onthe latest business news in this area and are planning another multi-partseries in 2012. To view all of our stem cell series, as well as our otherspecial reports, visit www.drugdiscoverynews.com/specialreports.

Amy Swinderman

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