“This looks like payback to Alan Trounson for all of the money that CIRM paid out to Irv Weissman (founder of StemCells, Inc.) and his friends at Stanford while Alan was president of CIRM. Many people have pointed out that Alan seemed to be biased toward Stanford in his public and private comments. The facts bear that out: Stanford and StemCells, Inc., have had more than $300,000,000 of CIRM's $3 billion in funds awarded to them in grants. Are they really more than twice as good as UCSF ($132,650,363), and three times better than USC ($104,858,348) and UC Irvine ($98,591,836)?”
“Prior to the genomics round Trounson had acknowledged he had a conflict-of-interest in connection with another Weissman-related proposal. In 2012 in a round not connected to genomics, Trounson, who has visited the Hood-Weissman ranch as Weissman's guest, recused himself from the board's public discussions of applications from StemCells, Inc., a company founded by Weissman.
“Under CIRM's procedures, Trounson does not vote on applications during the review process. But beginning last year the board gave him and his staff new authority to make recommendations on applications after they were acted on by reviewers.”
“I think he's (Clarke) an extraordinary good researcher, and I think the Stanford people are terrific at that.”
Since the agency's inception in 2004 questions have been raised about conflicts of interest at the agency, mainly due to the composition of its board. Roughly 90 percent of its grants have gone to institutions that have been linked to members of its board. The Institute of Medicine, in a $700,000 study commissioned by the agency, said that the board members essentially make proposals to themselves about what should be funded. And in 2008 the journal Nature editorialized about "cronyism" at the agency.