Is State Stem Cell Funding Necessary? – Yes, is the answer from Susan Solomon, CEO of the New York Stem Cell Foundation. She gave the response in a speech Friday. While she did not talk about the effort in California, some have asked whether CIRM is needed, given President Obama's moves on stem cell research. She said the proposed federal hESC guidelines are likely to be more conservative than many had hoped. And she said federal funding for the most advanced human embryonic stem cell research will remain limited. The text of Solomon's speech was carried on the Huffington Post.
Sending California Biotech Jobs to China? – Or is it business-building international collaboration? Ask Tergegen of San Diego about the experience. Or ask the 46 employees the firm laid off this year. Peter Ulrich, founder and head of Targegen, told Helen Kaiao Chang of the San Diego News Network,
“The trick in biotech is to survive the period of time when you’re not making any money in product sales. Being able to utilize outsourcing to China enables more companies to survive the neo-natal process and grow up to be big companies. Collectively, they will employ a whole lot more people by surviving than not surviving.”Ulrich was quoted in a piece leading up to Biocom's “CalAsia” conference, which began today in San Diego and runs through Tuesday.
The Stem Cell 'Gold Rush' – Legislation aimed at creating a host of latter-day argonauts for the biotech industry has passed the state Senate and is now before the Assembly. The measure – SB 471 – Sen. Gloria Romero, D-Los Angeles, and Senate President Pro Tem Darrell Steinberg, D-Sacramento, cleared the Senate on a 24-14 vote. The CIRM-backed bill would embed stem cell and biotechnology workforce training in the state's public schools. Mid Valley News quoted Romero as saying,
“California's next Gold Rush will be found in the Petri dishes and laboratories of this great state, but only if we produce the next generation of scientists, technicians and trained professionals capable of translating stem cell research into therapies and cures.”(The vote in the Mid Valley story was incorrectly reported as 21-12, probably because the roll was held open and more votes were added after the initial approval.)