Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Private funding drying up for embryonic stem cell research?

The Associated Press has a long article on how the daunting economic climate could effect funding for embryonic stem cell research.
But even before this fall's financial meltdown, investment in early-stage stem-cell companies was steadily declining. Venture capital investment in biotech startups — which includes stem cell developers — has fallen more than 65 percent to $443 million in the most recent quarter, from a high of $1.3 billion in late 1999.

With a deep recession on the horizon and continuing doubts about the commercial viability of stem cell therapies, analysts say startup companies will be hard pressed to get funding. While adult stem cell treatments could be approved in the U.S. within five years, analysts don't expect embryonic stem cell therapies to become available for much longer.

"Even if one of these companies was going to be successful, I doubt you'd have a new embryonic stem cell product on the market in the next 20 years," Leerink Swann analyst Bill Tanner said. "In this kind of capital market, it's just going to be a struggle for them to get funding."
The article ends by noting that drug companies could be where embryonic stem cell researchers get their money in the future.

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