Thanks for speaking with me this morning. CIRM's Governing Board has
set conflict of interest standards that exceed the requirements of state
law, and Mr. Klein has exceeded even these standards by refraining from
holding any financial interest in biotech companies during his tenure.
I understand that your story will suggest that Bob Klein should have
recused himself from the Board's consideration of an application
submitted by iPierian for a Basic Biology II Award because iPierian is
backed by Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers, one of whose principals is
John Doerr who, along with his wife, contributed money to the Prop. 71
campaign. I strongly disagree with your suggestion that Mr. Klein's
participation in the Board's consideration of the iPierian application
creates a conflict. Here are the facts:
1. The Board awarded a Basic Biology II grant ($1.48 million) to
iPierian in April 2010.
2. KPC&B invested $20 million in iZumi in July 2008.
3. iZumi merged with Pierian to form iPierian in July 2009.
4. In 2003 and 2004, John and Ann Doerr contributed to the Prop. 71
5. Chairman Klein had no knowledge that: (a) KPC&B had invested in
iZumi; (b) iZumi had merged with Pierian to form iPierian; (c) KPC&B
became an investor in the new company as a result of the merger; or (d)
that George Daley was associated with iPierian (although had he known,
it may have increased his respect for the company).
6. Chairman Klein has no financial interests in biotech companies and
has pledged to refrain from holding any financial interests in biotech
companies as long as he is Chairman.
7. California conflict of interest law does not require recusal under
these circumstances. Indeed, the connection is so attenuated, it is
difficult even to understand how this could ever rise to the level of a
8. In order to advance CIRM's mission, it is critical that venture
firms like KPC&B invest in stem cell companies so that these start-up
companies have the funds necessary to bring therapies to the market.
Bob also asked me to relay to you that he has great respect for John and
Ann Doerr, who contributed to the Prop. 71 campaign and to other
research institutions to support their efforts to find a cure for cancer
and other major diseases.
Thanks for your consideration of these points.
James C. Harrison
Remcho, Johansen & Purcell, LLP
201 Dolores Ave.
San Leandro, CA 94577
Wednesday, June 16, 2010
Text of CIRM Response on iPierian Grant and Campaign Contribution
Here is the text of an email June 15, 2010, from James Harrison, outside counsel to the California stem cell agency, concerning the iPierian grant.