Saturday, January 31, 2015

California's New, Fast-Track Stem Cell Program Draws Applications But Details Missing

California’s new and ambitious effort to speed stem cell therapies into widespread use drew “multiple” applications as it closed out its first round on Friday.

January is the first month of what the agency calls a radical move in its grant-making. Its initial foray is a $50 million clinical stage round that will be accepting applications for funding at the end of each month until the middle of the year.

The promise for those filing Friday is to put money in their hands in roughly four to five months. That compares to an average of 22 months under the agency’s previous grant rounds.

Randy Mills, the president of the agency, devised the fast-track effort and dubbed it CIRM 2.0. He told agency directors on Thursday that “multiple applications” had been received. (See here and here for more on CIRM 2.0.)

The California Stem Cell Report on Thursday and Friday asked for the specific number that Mills referred to. The agency, formally known as the California Institute for Regenerative Medicine(CIRM), however, did not provide a figure. 

The requests from the California Stem Cell Report also sought the following, all of which is public information: the total number of applications, the number from academic institutions, number from nonprofits, number from businesses, figures on the amount being sought on each application and the general nature of the research proposed.

Applications were due by 5 p.m. PST Friday. Presumably the agency will have the complete information assembled by early Monday and will provide it then. 

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