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The Associated Press November 14, 2011, 6:39PM ET

Geron halting stem cell research, laying off staff

Money troubles have forced the first company doing a government-approved test of embryonic stem cell therapy to discontinue further stem cell programs and lay off much of its staff.

Geron Corp. said late Monday that it is halting development of its stem cell programs and seeking partners to take on their assets.

Geron, based in Menlo Park, Calif., will focus instead on cancer research, particularly its drugs that are in mid-stage human testing.

The company said it is eliminating 66 full-time jobs, or 38 percent of its staff, a process that will bring about $8 million in costs between now and next June.

Geron in October 2010 began testing an embryonic stem cell therapy in patients with recent spinal cord injuries.

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