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The Chinese hamster has led a secret life in science for decades. By one estimate, 11 biotech drugs that are made using Chinese hamster ovary cells generated an incredible $57 billion in sales in 2013. That's pretty incredible, given the hamster's humble beginnings as a pest in Chinese fields. Listen to learn how something so small got so big. This Signal podcast was produced by Jocelyn Gonzales. Illustration by Molly Ferguson for STAT.

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