Tuesday, November 26, 2013

December Decision on Sharper Focus at California Stem Cell Agency?

A key panel at the $3 billion California stem cell agency has set the stage for action next month on recommendations that it move “at speed” to sharpen its focus to on six to eight projects likely to come closer to turning research into cures.

The governing board's Science Subcommittee met last Friday to discuss the recommendations from the agency's new Scientific Advisory Board. The proposals were first heard by CIRM directors in early October. No action has been taken so far but the advisory board's report comes up again Dec. 11.

Responding to an inquiry, Kevin McCormack, spokesman for the agency, today said last week's meeting gave the subcommittee and staff a chance to discuss the recommendations and possible action. Some of the recommendations could mean a lessening of financial support for some CIRM programs.

The agency has awarded $1.9 billion and has about $600 million in unallocated funds. It will run out of cash for new awards in 2017 and is working on a plan for future financial support. A consultant is expected to suggest a plan to the board also at its December meeting.

The full text of the recommendations and the staff's response can be found here.

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