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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

Positive Framing of Genetic Studies Can Spark Mistrust Among Underrepresented Groups

Researchers in Human Genetics and Genomics Advances report that how researchers describe genomic studies may alienate potential participants.

Small Study of Gene Editing to Treat Sickle Cell Disease

In a Novartis-sponsored study in the New England Journal of Medicine, researchers found that a CRISPR-Cas9-based treatment targeting promoters of genes encoding fetal hemoglobin could reduce disease symptoms.

Gut Microbiome Changes Appear in Infants Before They Develop Eczema, Study Finds

Researchers report in mSystems that infants experienced an enrichment in Clostridium sensu stricto 1 and Finegoldia and a depletion of Bacteroides before developing eczema.

Acute Myeloid Leukemia Treatment Specificity Enhanced With Stem Cell Editing

A study in Nature suggests epitope editing in donor stem cells prior to bone marrow transplants can stave off toxicity when targeting acute myeloid leukemia with immunotherapy.