Neurotech industry in Portfolio magazine

In Porfolio magazine, David Ewing-Duncan wrote a meaty feature on the neurotechnology industry, the big business behind new mind drugs, neuroprosthetic implants, and other efforts to fix broken brains and even augment healthy ones. (Duncan is the author of The Geneticist Who Played Hoops With My DNA.) The online version of the article is accompanied by a terrific interactive feature looking at research in the field. From The Duncan's article, titled The Ultimate Cure:
These firms are trying to adapt groundbreaking research into the basic workings of the brain to new drugs for ailments ranging from insomnia to multiple sclerosis. Some companies are trying to regrow portions of the brain using stem cells. Others have developed implants to insert into a person’s head to control seizures and restore hearing. Cyber­kinetics Neurotechnology Systems, a Foxborough, Massachusetts, company, implanted electrodes into the brain of a quadriplegic that allowed him to operate machines with his thoughts...

Neurotech’s returns are already enormous. In 2006, the industry brought in more than $120 billion–about $101 billion from drugs and the rest from neurodevices ($4.5 billion) and neurodiagnostics ($15 billion)–up 10 percent from the previous year, reports NeuroInsights, a market research and investment advisory firm. But industry analysts insist that this figure hardly begins to suggest the potential. For Alz­heimer’s, a disease currently without an effective treatment for about 4.5 million sufferers in the U.S., 40 companies–including behemoths like Eli Lilly, GlaxoSmithKline, and Wyeth, as well as Targacept and a gaggle of similar upstarts–are testing 48 new drugs in human trials in a quest for the Prozac of dementia. The push has brought many small to midsize biotech firms together in partnerships with larger pharmaceutical companies to pursue everything from pain-control compounds derived from chili peppers to an antistroke medicine developed from vampire-bat saliva. There is so much activity in neurotech that last fall it got its own index, NERV, on the Nasdaq, tracking the performance of 30 leading brain companies based in the United States. Analysts estimate that the sector should continue to grow by about 10 percent a year, which would produce a brain-industrial complex worth more than $300 billion in the next 10 years.
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