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The Research Market and the Business of Genomics

While genomics may be inching toward the clinic, from a business perspective, the research end-market remains the prime target for most entrepreneurs in the space, writes Art Wuster at his Sequenomics blog.

Wuster looked at 72 firms listed on the technology company database Crunchbase, all of which received at least some third-party funding, and found that 38 were companies with customers in research laboratories or in other genomic firms.

"I'm not an economist, but this is hardly what I would have expected from a mature and self-sustaining industry," he says. "Selling mainly to researchers should probably not be the long-term goal of the genomics industry as a whole."

He also found 14 companies that he identified as diagnostics firms, a category that would have been bigger if cancer genomics hadn't been separated as its own category.

"The implication is that most people think that the best way to make money in genomics, other than selling to researchers is to develop diagnostics," Wuster says, although he acknowledges that he does not have any sales data to support that hypothesis.

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.