July 17, 2008
The Boston Globe is reporting that Advanced Cell Technology (ACT), a Massachusetts biotechnology company, is running low on cash and may have to shut down or at least make severe cutbacks. ACT has been in the news in the past (usually first with their own press releases) for claims such as the first cloned human embryo, animal-human hybrid clone, creating organs by gestating clones, and for a technique that supposedly might produce embryonic stem cells without harming embryos. As the Globe story notes, "ACT has been dogged by complaints that it over-hyped its research", and there has also been controversy about the way it has promoted some of its science, including its penchant in some cases for publication via press release. In 2002 auditors found it had mispent grant funds. It is also facing some other recent problems, including departure of many of its executives, including founder Michael West.
Though unrelated to its own troubles, ACT's name was also in recent news about the mayor of Beaufort, SC being charged with insider trading by the SEC. According to the SEC, in 2006 an ACT executive told Mayor William Rauch, who had been a consultant for ACT, about a breakthrough embryonic-stem-cell technique the company was about to make public, after which he bought more than $11,000 worth of ACT stock, which gained 360% after the announcement was made public.