As reported during last year's 4th Annual Stem Cell Summit in New York City, industry experts estimate that there are up to 300 firms worldwide engaged in some aspect of stem cell research and commercialization. Of that number perhaps 75 - 100 are creating stem cell therapies and of those a mere handful are toiling in the garden of embryonic stem cell research. And while the vast majority of stem cell companies are focused on developing drugs that can address up to 70 different clinical indications only two have ever gotten the green light from the FDA to proceed into clinical trials. ACTC, a stock trading its shares for less than the price of a stick of gum is one of those two companies. Geron Corporation, whose shares now trade near the $5 mark following their recent financing, is the other.
Forget the new rumors involving interest from large European pharma players who have reportedly taken notice of ACTC, and the fact that just last week, biotech behemoth Cephalon purchased a 20% stake of an Australian stem-cell therapy company in a deal that could prove to be worth $2 billion.
As everyone who read the report from London in last week's Wall Street Journal knows, rising pressure to find new products is prompting big pharmaceutical companies to license or acquire biotechnology companies' experimental medicines when they've barely been tested in human trials.