Friday, January 22, 2010

CIRM Finances On Table Next Tuesday

The financial affairs of the $3 billion California stem cell agency will come under scrutiny next Tuesday at a meeting in Los Angeles headed by California's chief fiscal officer.

The occasion is a session of the Citizens Financial Accountability Oversight Committee, which was created by Prop. 71. By law, the six-member board is chaired by the state controller, John Chiang.

On the agenda next week are the recommendations of the Little Hoover Commission for a restructuring of the CIRM board and other actions to improve the agency's performance. Also up for discussion is CIRM's financial performance, an update on grant awards and the grant process along with discussion of “risk analysis” involving CIRM, which has embarked on an unprecedented $500 million loan program for biotech businesses. The agency projects a $100 million “profit” on the loans despite projected default rates as high as 50 percent.

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