Monday, June 20, 2005

California "Gold Rush" Discussions at Stem Cell Conferences

This a busy week for biotech conferences around the county, including two that will pay some special attention to California.

In San Francisco on Thursday, California stem cell chairman Robert Klein is scheduled to be the keynote speaker at the meeting of the International Society for Stem Cell Research at the Marriott Hotel.

The society reports that San Francisco, CIRM and various universities are "rolling out the red carpet" for 2,000 delegates. Cost for registration at the conference is $720 at this late date. Sponsorship of the session at which Klein is speaking cost $15,000.

Back east, a huge biotech industry conference, BIO 2005, is expected to attract 18,000 persons in Philadelphia. The program is much larger and California is relegated to lesser prominence.

A panel on Tuesday will discuss CIRM, including an appearance by a member of the stem cell agency's Oversight Committee, Edward Holmes, vice chancellor of Health Sciences and dean of the UC San Diego School of Medicine. Title of the panel is "The New Gold Rush?"

He will share the platform with Tom Okarma, Ph.D., M.D., President, CEO & Director, Geron Corp. and Bob Hariri, Ph.D., President, Celgene Cellular Therapeutics. Chairing the panel will be Alan Lewis, Ph.D., President, Celgene San Diego and Joe Panetta, President & CEO, BIOCOM.

Registration for the conference is now $1,995.

It is not likely that a member of the public can just drop by to take in one of these sessions involving California public employees. This is not unusual. Gubernatorial appearances as well as those involving other public officials generally have limits on who may attend. Nonetheless, such policies have always struck me as a bit of a departure from the idea that government should be close to the people. Sphere: Related Content

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