Five years ago, Larry Ellison predicted that Silicon Valley would come to be called "Cell Valley" because he thought biomedicine would overtake tech as the area's dominant industry. Was he right? During our recent trip to Silicon Valley, Pete Najarian did a little investigating.
While programming still yields more profits than petri dishes, the founder of Oracle has once again seen the future. It's a golden era for biotech in the Golden State, says Najarian.
Today, California boasts nearly 3,000 biomedical companies who employ more people than any industry except computer services and generate more than $60 billion in revenue.
Behind that number are marquee biotech drug makers such as Genentech, Amgen, and Gilead, but the greatest promise (and profits) may lie just where Larry Ellison predicted: in human cells.
With advances in stem cell research making headlines every day, scientists envision a time when you can be your own organ donor. "You can take a skin cell, possibly from a patient, turn that into a stem cell line, use that to make, say, liver cells, and then be able to transfer those back into that same patient without having to worry about an immune response or rejection," says Dr. Arnold Kriegstein.
The controversy over stem cell research has long been an obstacle to success but with $3 billion in state funding and a champion in Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger, California is far ahead in the race to succeed in this hot young industry.
Biotech is the most exciting business in the valley today - and now it has leapt from the lab to the living room.23andme.compromises to give you access to your own genetic blueprint - information that could one day lead to new drugs and other discoveries.
And it's not just another start-up: its co-founder is married to Sergey Brin, whose little search engine, Google, is an investor in the project. Founded on the building blocks of technology, Silicon Valley's new mission is the building blocks of life.
Pete Najarian recommends keeping an eye on Myriad Genetics (MYGN) and Cepheid (CPHD).
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Trader disclosure: On Oct 29, 2007, the following stocks and commodities mentioned or intended to be mentioned on CNBC’s Fast Money were owned by the Fast Money traders; Macke Owns (YHOO), (INTC), (SWY), (EMC); Najarian Owns (UA) And (UA) Options; Najarian Owns (BHI) Options, (DISH) Options, (GOOG) Options, (HAL) Options, (MER) Options,(SNDK) Options, (YHOO) Options; Finerman's Firm Owns (MSFT), (TWX), (YHOO), (NMX), (NYX); Finerman's Firm Owns (NVT) And (NVT) Options; Finerman's Firm And Finerman Own (C), (BEAS); Finerman's Firm Owns Russell 2000 Puts; Finerman's Firm Owns S&P 500 Puts; Finerman's Firm Owns (BIIB) Options; Finerman's Firm And Finerman Own (GS), (KFT); Finerman's Firm Is Short (MER) And Owns (MER) Puts