Thursday, October 04, 2007

Stem Cell Bond Offering Attracts Media Attention

The $250 millon California stem cell bond offering today has triggered some unusual coverage of the state's research agency throughout the country.

Ordinarily the issuance of bonds by California attracts virtually no media attention. But since State Treasurer Bill Lockyer has created a program under which small investors can easily buy the bonds, stem cell bond news has a bigger audience.

Both CIRM and the state treasurer's office were a tad slow on picking up the idea of generating favorable publicity on the stem cell bonds, given that the cause of stem research has some nearly fanatic followers.

But in the last couple of days, press releases rippled across the country, generating stories including one notable video piece on CNBC. The segment was long – seven minutes and 39 seconds – but more than one of the participants needed to do additional homework.

The CNBC anchor who introduced the topic about California issuing stem cell bonds began with this question: "Do they have this right?" No one really answered the question, but, of course, the answer is yes. Another participant said that government is not in the business of funding "speculative" research, apparently not aware of the billions already provided for research by the NIH. As usual with many TV news interviews, some heat was generated during the discussion among the four participants. Perhaps some light also. But for the most part, the CNBC effort demonstrated the shallow level of knowledge about stem cell research and the California stem cell agency.

For those small investors who may have missed out on today's offering, another round is certain to come up probably relatively early next year. Watch this space for details.

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