HR likely telling the truth, they don't know where it is in the pipeline and sympathize with you - hence the look elsewhere.
Suggest to keep it on the backburner - if and when it comes you reassess. In the meantime explore your options...
Is the private sector doing some research relevant to stem cells? Cleveland Clinic is hiring? Others?
There's always healthcare / life-sciences consulting as a route but nature of job isn't for everyone... Booz & Co., PwC, Deloitte and others have teams that may require someone with your profile and expertise.