Wednesday, May 11, 2005

The Small World of Stem Cells

A scientist who works for the firm that describes itself as the “world's most comprehensive and broadly based manufacturer of health care products” is reportedly being considered for the presidency of the California stem cell agency.

The firm is Johnson & Johnson, which has 111,000 employees worldwide. The man is Per Pedersen, who San Francisco Chronicle reporter Carl Hall identified as a candidate for the CIRM presidency.

Johnson & Johnson also has stem cell investments in California. Reporter Antonio Regalado of The Wall Street Journal has reported that “Johnson & Johnson says it recently made an equity investment in Novocell Inc., a Carlsbad, Calif., company that controls several of the stem-cell supplies endorsed for funding by the White House. Novocell is trying to turn stem cells into insulin-making cells that could be transplanted into people with Type-1 diabetes, replacing tissue damaged by that disease.”

The linkage involving Pederson, Johnson and Novocell is interesting. Whether it is a serious conflict is difficult to tell. But it does illustrate the small world of stem cells. It is probably impossible to find a president for CIRM who doesn't have some sort of ties that could be construed as a conflict of interest.

A couple of footnotes to all this. Novocell, whose web site is under construction, may have moved recently since most reports place it in Irvine, which is near Carlsbad. Johnson & Johnson in Sweden reports that it has no employee by the name of Per Pedersen. And we are told that the person in question is not Roger Pedersen, a noted stem cell scientist.

We are checking further with Johnson & Johnson on Pedersen.

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1 comment:

  1. Jerry Ingle6:22 PM

    The new blog format is attractive but the smaller font of the text is more difficult to read.
    Keep up the good work.