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Geron Corp. quits stem cell work

 

The Menlo Park-based biotechnology firm Geron Corp. announced recently that it was abandoning its stem cell research in favor of focusing on two cancer drugs.

The motivation appears financial, according to a statement issued by the company.

"The decision to narrow Geron's technology and therapeutic focus was made after a strategic review of the costs, value inflection timelines and clinical, manufacturing and regulatory complexities," the company said.

As a result, 66 jobs -- 38 percent of its workforce -- will be eliminated, the company said.

The news came as a blow to those hoping to benefit from stem cell therapy, a field that held promise for those paralyzed by spinal cord injuries.

Stem cells possess the ability to become any other type of cell in the body, leading Geron's scientists to explore how to grow the cells into replacement neurons that could reverse paralysis.

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