Thursday, January 29, 2015

California Okays $30 Million in Awards to Help Remove Stem Cell Roadblocks

Directors of the California stem cell agency today approved $30 million to help eliminate bottlenecks in turning stem cell research into cures.

The action gave the go-ahead to awards that were backed by either its blue-ribbon reviewers from outside of California or the agency’s own staff, plus three additional proposals moved forward by the board.  The agency has already spent $52 million to develop stem cell research tools. Today's round was originally budgeted for $35 million.

After a brief discussion, the 29-member board approved, 9-2, an award to UC Davis researchers who had appealed rejection of a $1.8 million proposal by the staff of the California Institute for Regenerative Medicine (CIRM), as the $3 billion agency is formally known.

The agency did not immediately release the names of the winners. It keeps the names of all applicants secret until after the board ratifies the actions of its reviewers, who make the de facto award decisions for the agency behind closed doors.  The agency is expected to issue a press release on the awards later today. (Here is the link to the press release. It does not include a list of recipients.)

The board did not vote on two applications on which appeals were filed involving material misstatement of facts. Those were deferred  until the March board meeting. The final four numbers of those applications are 7836 and 7678.

Here is a link to the document on this "tools and technology" round submitted to the board by its staff. Summaries of the reviews can be found with the document along with the scores on the winners.
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