|Randy Mills' calculations on cash for future CIRM funding|
Randy Mills, the new president of the $3 billion California stem cell agency, rewrote some of the agency’s history last week and extended the life span of the now nearly 10-year-old enterprise.
“We now find ourselves with the reality that, having started with $3 billion, we are down now to how to deploy our last $600 million….”
“There’s essentially $950 million yet to be awarded, 321 (million) of the concept approved and the 629 (million) of the future.”
“So we’ve been talking for the longest time as if we have three to four years worth of money to spend, right? I asked myself, well, why is that true? Who made that decision that it’s three to four years? That length of time is driven by how quickly we spend our money, not by anything else. So if we spend our money more slowly, we could go for six years or eight years or whatever the number is that you want to pick. It’s all a matter of burn rate.”
“We will be able to fund most anything that meets our criteria.”
“I just think all of us are starting to get concerned about the burn rate. We’re just flying through the money.”
“It’s not that I don’t like the concept of recruiting great people….It’s just we have to make sure we recruit the people we need.”Mills' actuarial exercise was not the first involving CIRM's mortality. Back in 2004, it was widely believed that the agency had only a 10-year life, a belief held by some of its staffers, which would have meant this year would have been the agency's last. That misconception grew out of the agency's 10-year authorization to issue bonds. That authorization is now commonly believed to have begun in 2007 because that was the year litigation about the agency was ultimately resolved. It may well be that the date of CIRM's final reckoning will change once again before its last check goes out the door.