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Time To Start

In a recent interview with Forbes' Matthew Herper, Dendreon's retiring chief scientist, David Urdal, weighs in on the lack of new drugs in the past few years. When Herper asks him why the drug business is "in such a profound innovation drought," Urdal says the dynamics of drug innovation have changed from when he began to work in the biotech industry. Decades ago, it was much easier for a small company to get venture capital funds to develop a new drug, but now, Urdal says, "you need to be to the point of having complete clinical validation before you can expect an IPO to go out." So, he asks, if the bar is being constantly raised for a company looking to get funds to develop a drug, how does it get funded in its early years in order to be able to do the work and get the sufficient data needed to please a venture capital firm? "I worry a lot who's going to be developing the drugs that are going to be of benefit for my granddaughter, they need to start now because it's going to be 30 years down the road," Urdal adds.

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.