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Not Too Bad

The biotech sector in four established areas — the US, Europe, Canada, and Australia — performed well financially in 2011, says a new report from Ernst & Young. However, Reuters adds that smaller companies are having a hard time finding funding. "The revenue growth of public companies in the four established clusters returned to double-digit territory for the first time since the advent of the [financial] crisis," the report says, adding that "while this is still a far cry from the high double-digit growth rates the industry delivered through much of the last decade, companies are also operating in a new reality now, with more cautious regulators and increased pricing pressure from payers." Spending, which Reuters notes is a sign of companies' confidence in the future, rose 9 percent in 2011, though companies' net income fell 5 percent, which may be due to higher spending after cost-cutting in 2009 and 2010.

The Scan

Pig Organ Transplants Considered

The Wall Street Journal reports that the US Food and Drug Administration may soon allow clinical trials that involve transplanting pig organs into humans.

'Poo-Bank' Proposal

Harvard Medical School researchers suggest people should bank stool samples when they are young to transplant when they later develop age-related diseases.

Spurred to Develop Again

New Scientist reports that researchers may have uncovered why about 60 percent of in vitro fertilization embryos stop developing.

Science Papers Examine Breast Milk Cell Populations, Cerebral Cortex Cellular Diversity, Micronesia Population History

In Science this week: unique cell populations found within breast milk, 100 transcriptionally distinct cell populations uncovered in the cerebral cortex, and more.