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StemCells, Inc. To Reduce Workforce By 30%–What’s Wrong With Investors Today-Opinion

Posted May 04 2011 8:26pm

Well I guess it’s time to ask this question.  When I see a company that is working on clinical trials for spinal cord injuries and macular degeneration for curing and treating image diseases as such, why do we see millions and millions just thrown at algorithmic social software?  Here’s a company who is working on some very important research and beginning clinical trials on crippling diseases and treatments for helping people not go blind. It is a publicly owned company and being used as an example here of what types of companies we should take seriously. 

I read in the news all the time about social network companies (new algorithms aggregating web data) getting millions just almost by walking in the door and when you see research like this struggling and working hard to keep a lid on every penny, not to mention job losses, what gives here?  I could live without a few more social network programs but if I had spinal cord problems or macular degeneration I would certainly be a lot more interested in what these folks are doing, and you I guess even without either of those afflictions I’m still more interested in what they are doing versus having to look at another algorithm that aggregates more social information on the web.  The one that even investors have talked about is one called Color, who received $40 million and last I read from a review from Mike Arrington it’s out in beta and has not done much, user interface is hard to use and people can’t figure it out, so again this doesn’t make sense.  image

Mike Arrington asks how many Mulligans does the company get?

I like technology and sure I’m not saying stop all the tech innovations by any means but can we get some balance here?  Only 1 out of 100 funded succeed and then all the people hired for those companies that don’t make it are out looking for jobs again.  With a long term investment like research for cures, unless they are having to watch pennies like here, have the potential of a longer lasting job too.  Tech does create new jobs but in the start up area it’s a gamble and those jobs come and go so thus we don’t seem to make a big enough dent that way.

image

Sure there are biotechs that take a dump too but nowhere near the number of tech companies that fly in the wind.  Actually for start ups in healthcare with consumer products we could use a few less of them and a bit more collaborating as we end up with a bunch of stuff that does one thing or runs one type of query and consumers don’t use it. We have so much of this and code-a-thons which create a simple program that everyone cheers and then it dies and goes away. Some of the code written on those days might have some value and I hope it does get used but the applications die a quick death. 

Also too with new social network programs I have to take a hard look and see what data they are scraping out there too as we know the data selling game is huge.  I would just like to see some balance here and perhaps see some of the money squandered on the tech side maybe fall over to science for some research and development as when I see especially stem cell companies stretching out their funds that hold the answers to cures, I just don’t get the fascination with web based algorithms and actually am growing of a lot of it. Sure they belong in the world but when you see nothing but “algorithms” for communicating out there with their only tangibles being a lot of servers to hold and distribute information, don’t you want to scratch your head and ask what’s up with this?  image

We have hospitals struggling to stay in business and find money, doctors who’s income is going down and with all the tech being dumped at them today as far as administrators drill down, they are not happy and in the tech of a technological boom we have to have “scribes” to help them. 

Doctors Have Become One of the Largest Software Beta Testing Groups–”Magpie Healthcare” Unfortunately Still Thrives

This is a good post below that has a lot of detail on the subject.  In a few years are the tech folks going to look around and ask about what happened to all the doctors and hospitals that used to be around?  Why don’t' some of these folks crack code for genomics as there’s tons of need in Life Sciences right now.  Take a look at the link below and look what a doctor goes through to admit you to the hospital and what treatment error might come up with coding errors, they can kill you accidentally. 

I would like to see these folks get some serious help as they too are an issue that needs to be addresses before we all suck eggs.

Back over on the healthcare side we have experts that do these extensive reports as to why patients and consumers don’t jump on the mobile health bandwagon and I can bet that nobody on the tech side has any interest here either as it’s not fun either.  So we have our lost souls over hear that keep digging around for the same old answers over and over.  If the tech folks could share a bit of ingenuity with the healthcare folks, perhaps they could learn what drives consumers as again the non participant leaders in healthcare have no clue, and these are not the biotech folks, this is specific to those trying to grab the consumer with all the applications dumped out in groves that nobody wants.    Below is a good post where I have my suggestion to provide some value here.  It gets ignored by luddites pretty much. 

Again all I am asking for is maybe a little balance here so as country we don’t end up on a real short end of a stick.  We still need to invest in tangibles and the technology that gets us there, like drugs.  If I am sick, I need to go get a pill normally to cure an infection for a simple example, not run to a social network as I won’t find what I need there.  So just give this some thought, do you want to throw millions at social algorithms as they appear or do you maybe want a cure for macular degeneration that would also allow for more stability in the job market?  I have been wanting to pose some of these questions for a while and I guess today was the day it happened.  We have lost our balance and can’t seem to get it back and I don’t know if it is entirely greed running all of it or perhaps we have just flat out forgotten what is important and what builds stable wealth. 

Algorithms alone for intelligence are not the entire answer and inflated values I’m afraid are going to deflate one day and as you can see the economy outside of Wall Street is no better off because of this.  The connection built between Wall Street investors and the algorithms too are growing dangerously into areas not explored before and we saw what happened in 2008 when formulas fell flat without wealth behind them with mortgages and I hope I don’t have to sit in a theater some day and watch a sequel to “Inside Job” as it scares me to death and just as I was finishing off here the White House puts out a notice about selling off their excess property to save money, so again what’s more important today?  Think about it.  BD  

PALO ALTO, Calif., May 4, 2011 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- StemCells, Inc. (Nasdaq: STEM - News ), a leading stem cell company developing and commercializing novel cell-based therapeutics and tools for use in stem cell-based research and drug discovery, today reported financial results for the first quarter ended March 31, 2011. The Company also announced it is reducing its US-based workforce by 30 percent to reduce its cash burn rate and extend its financial resources in order to focus on advancing the clinical development of its lead product candidate HuCNS-SC(R) cells (purified human neural stem cells) as a potential treatment for spinal cord injury, myelination disorders, age-related macular degeneration, and other central nervous system disorders.

"While decisions of this nature are never easy, we believe we are taking the necessary and appropriate steps to execute our clinical agenda and thereby maximize shareholder value," said Martin McGlynn, President and CEO of StemCells, Inc. "For the past several years, we have been investing significant resources to conduct the extensive research and preclinical studies needed to advance our HuCNS-SC neural stem cells into human clinical testing, and to manufacture a sufficient number of cGMP compliant cell banks to conduct those clinical trials.

Now, with multiple clinical trials underway and others soon to begin, we will be generating clinical data regarding the therapeutic potential of our HuCNS-SC cells as these trials run their course. We anticipate that this reduction in force, combined with other initiatives to reduce our infrastructure and overhead costs, will put our burn rate on a downward trajectory for the next several years as we reap the rewards of those earlier investments."

The Company has completed patient enrollment in a Phase I trial in Pelizaeus-Merzbacher disease (PMD), a fatal myelination disorder in children, and results of this trial are expected to be reported in early 2012. In addition, the Company plans to file an IND in the fourth quarter of this year to initiate a Phase I/II clinical trial of HuCNS-SC cells in age-related macular degeneration, which is the leading cause of vision loss in people over the age of 55.


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