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Leia o texto abaixo para responder à questão.The hard cellTh 26605

Leia o texto abaixo para responder à questão.The hard cellThanks

to politics, stem cell research in the United States is suffering. But

not so in Sweden, which is poised to capture what could be the biggest

new market to hit biotech in a decade.By Stephan Herrera February 13, 2003New York, January 1, 2006:Sweden

announces that one of its biotechnology companies is the first in the

world to enter clinical trials with a new drug that could cure

Alzheimer's disease. Four years ago this type of research was all but

stopped in the United States by political and ethical questions - which

is...61 Sweden now seems in the best position to capture a $25 billion market.   

        Any day now, the U.S. Congress is expected to pass a sweeping

new law that could dramatically inhibit researchers from working with

stem cells taken from human embryos. Such cells, which can be used to

grow a whole host of new cells and organs, could fundamentally change

the way we treat heretofore intractable maladies like Alzheimer's

disease, Parkinson's disease, cancer, stroke, liver failure, and heart

disease. The only problem is that these cells by definition are derived

from human embryos, many of which are cloned or come from unused fetuses

collected at fertility clinics. The argument, from a certain segment of

the American political spectrum, is that...62 methods are morally wrong. They are...63 a form of abortion or an activity that could eventually lead to human cloning.            Those working in stem cell research say the short-term effect of the legislation will be to further chill all forms of scientific inquiry

and commercialization efforts in the field. Entrepreneurs and investors

are already eschewing such research - in large part because of the

additional uncertainty and risk that politics introduce.       

    Of the nearly 50 private stem cell companies in the United States,

only a handful are still viable. Meanwhile, across the Atlantic, Sweden

has avoided many of the political and ethical quagmires surrounding this

type of research. It currently has 40 private stem cell companies, a

number that's growing. Sweden's leading research universities have 32

percent of the world's stem cell inventory, close on the heels of the

United States' 35 percent.            Sweden, say analysts, is

now in the best position to capture a worldwide market for drugs based

on stem cell therapies that could grow to $25 billion in the next three

to five years - nearly equal to the whole biotech industry at present.

This estimate doesn't even address the market for stem cells capable of

repairing damaged vital organs like the brain, heart, and kidneys. If

the United States offers an object lesson of what can happen when

scientific inquiry and investment capital fall victim to politics,

Sweden and its leading stem cell startup, NeuroNova, offer the opposite

example. How odd that the United States, which for generations has been

the envy of the world for its progressive views of science and

commercialization, should now have a biomedical climate chillier than a Swedish winter.   

        One company feeling a lot of pain is StemCells, which at first

glance seems to have it all: founding scientists include Stanford's Dr.

Weissman and Fred Gage of the Salk Institute in La Jolla, California. An

equally well-regarded expert in the treatment of Alzheimer's, Dr. Gage

spent five years in Sweden as a researcher and now sits on a national

committee on stem cell research there. The firm's chairman is Roger

Perlmutter, Amgen's head of research.            Yet over the

past two years, none of management's efforts to help investors and even

critics reconsider the stem cell field have worked. At press time, the

stock was thinly traded and sitting in the neighborhood of 50 cents.

With less than $15 million in cash, the company likely won't exist at

this time next year. (CEO Martin McGlynn, who joined the firm in January

2001, would not talk to Red Herring, despite repeated efforts.)   

        Some observers on Wall Street are asking, If StemCells can't

make it, who can? Geron, the only other publicly held stem cell firm to

speak of, is in a fix, too. The company's stock price is also moribund,

at $3.85 per share. Thanks to some capital infusions a few years ago,

when money came easy, Geron still has $40 million on hand, but by the

end of next year, that too will likely be gone. Once a media darling,

Geron focuses on diagnostic tests and drugs derived from stem cells, a

strategy that's not going well. For the nine months ended last

September, revenue fell 68 percent to $955,000 and net loss widened 18

percent to $26.7 million. The company's financials were also hit hard

after it terminated an agreement with Pharmacia and acquired research

technology from Lynx Therapeutics, which Geron bought in a desperate

attempt to be seen as something more than just a stem cell company.   

        The situation is quite different, however, for Sweden's

NeuroNova, which has 30 academic partners and a staff of 20. NeuroNova

is working on ways to inject stem cells into the human brain to trigger a

process called neurogenesis (the growth of new neural cells), which

could combat diseases like Parkinson's, Alzheimer's, and even

schizophrenia.            If NeuroNova is the first to develop a

drug capable of treating one of several central nervous system

disorders - by far the most lucrative after heart disease products - it

will have done so not because it raised more money or got more media

buzz than the rest. It will have succeeded because the science is solid,

and academe, government, and the investment community are supportive.

Meanwhile, the United States will look on with envy and wonder how it, a

country known for its entrepreneurial innovation, ever got so

short-sighted.(Adapted from http://www.redherring.com/investor/2003/02/biotech021303.html)Para

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