Wednesday, September 10, 2014

Revolving Door Policy Tightened at California Stem Cell Agency

BERKELEY, Ca. -- Directors of the California stem cell agency today approved a measure aimed at easing conflicts of interest involving employees who may seek employment with recipients of the agency’s largess.

On a unanimous voice voice, the governing board  of the California Institute for Regenerative Medicine (CIRM) set a new revolving door policy that says,
“To prevent even the appearance of a conflict of interest, CIRM employees should contact CIRM’s general counsel or deputy general counsel if the employee has begun discussions with a prospective employer that has received or is currently applying for CIRM funding. CIRM’s attorneys will maintain the confidence of this information and advise the employee of his or her obligations under state law, and the employee will be precluded from participating in any decisions relating to the prospective employer.­­"
The new policy is a slight extension of the state law and was offered in the wake of the appointment of former CIRM President Alan Trounson to the board of directors of StemCells, Inc., of Newak, Ca., which holds $18.4 million in awards from the agency. 

Trounson was named to the board seven days after he left the agency and did not inform the agency he was considering a position with the firm. The news triggered a wave of unfavorable publicity for the agency.
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