Can the biotech and pharma make money in space? That was the question Congress posed at a hearing on the International Space Station's linkurl:future,; held on Thursday (April 24). "I think I can," Tom Pickens, CEO of a spaceflight services company-turned biotech called SPACEHAB, told Congress. SPACEHAB has been sending up science payloads for the past 23 years. The company has mostly worked with government scientists, but when Pickens joined in 2003 as a member of the board of directors, he had a team of engineers assess what kinds of research would be most commercially viable. To fit the bill, experiments had to be cheap to transport and provide an advantage - in efficiency, quality or capability - over what could be done on Earth. Two methods stood out: growing crystals for X-ray crystallography, and linkurl:vaccine production.; So SPACEHAB is going from space transport to drug discovery. The company's "first...

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