Friday, January 23, 2009

Geron Stock Soars 20 Percent on Approval of Clinical Trials

Today is a big, big day for California's Geron Corp., which has received federal approval to begin "the world's first study of a treatment based on human embryonic stem cells."

The Associated Press covered the basics of the action. An early version of its story said said,
"The company gained federal permission this week to inject eight to 10 patients with cells derived from embryonic cells, said Dr. Thomas Okarma(see photo), president and CEO of Geron Corp. of Menlo Park, Calif.

"The patients will be paraplegics, who can use their arms but can't walk. They will receive a single injection within two weeks of their injury.

"The study is aimed at testing the safety of the procedure, but doctors will also look for signs of improvement like return of sensation or movement in the legs, Okarma said."

Andrew Pollack
of the New York Times provided a nuanced, comprehensive piece. He reported on the political and scientific implications and quoted Robert Klein, chairman of the California stem cell agency, on the move.

Klein said the FDA approval was tied to the Obama Administration although that was denied by an FDA spokesman and Geron.

Geron's stock rose 20 percent early this morning, hitting $6.26 at 9:47 a.m. EST, close to its 52-week high of $6.55.

Here are links to the Geron press release and other stories about the much-delayed trial: Geron (includes video), Wall Street Journal , AFP and Financial Times.

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