Originally posted on TED Blog:

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“We have something that will radically save the pharmaceutical industry,” says Susan Solomon in an interview on the social floor of TEDGlobal 2012, in Edinburg, Scotland. Solomon is the founder and CEO of the New York Stem Cell Foundation. She spoke with the TED Blog about the NYSCF’s new array of automatically created stem-cell lines, which she talked about for the first time onstage at TEDGlobal.

On Wednesday, Solomon gave a talk on the promise of stem cells in research. In that talk, she discussed the process of drug development: it’s spectacularly expensive and time-consuming, taking 13 years and costing around $4 billion for a single drug, which will have a 99% failure rate.  “That,” she says in the talk, “is a terrible business model, but also is a horrible social model.”

Part of the problem is, it’s impossible to test a new drug on a large and representative sample of the…

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