Friday, February 20, 2015

California's Bob Klein Proposes $100 Billion, International Stem Cell/Genomics Venture

The man some consider the father of the California stem cell agency has come up with another grand research plan – a $100 billion, 14-nation effort plus California, along with creation of a federal research “trust.”

The proposal comes from Robert Klein, who led the 2004 ballot campaign to create the $3 billion state stem cell agency. He was also its first chairman and a figure revered by some.

Katherine Connor of the San Diego Transcript reported today on Klein’s quest for a “new paradigm in funding scientific research.” During remarks at an oncology symposium yesterday at UC San Diego, Klein said his collaborative venture is needed given the current state of federal research funding. 

Connor wrote,
Robert Klein
“Klein is working on spearheading such a collaboration, where 22 different partners -- including 14 nations, the NIH and the state of California -- commit to long-term funding of scientific research on stem cells and genomics via a World Bank bond. The money invested by each partner would be used to fund work by that entity." 
Connor continued,
“He said if Congress would appropriate a long-term commitment to support this international bond, the research community could leverage it up to a $100 billion program with surplus funds around 35 to 40 percent more than what each individual country or partner could raise from the same amount of money.” 
Klein is a California real estate investment banker who works closely with bond financing. He said his proposed research venture “would go a long way in diffusing the ingrained competitive attitude toward funding.”

Connor continued,
“'The fundamental problem here is that, long term, we have difficulty holding these interest groups together,' Klein said. ‘In California, with Prop. 71, the way it approached that was if you have a unitary decision, you’re either for the bond or against the bond. You can’t go and say 'I want my appropriation,' you have a unitary decision -- it brings all those groups together as a coalition, they have to work together.’”
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