Wednesday, February 04, 2015

Trounson Named as Advisor to California Cord Blood Firm

A California cord blood firm yesterday appointed Alan Trounson, the former president of the $3 billion California stem cell agency, to its newly formed scientific advisory board.

Cord Blood Registry of San Bruno, which says it is the largest “family bank” in the world, announced yesterday that Trounson is one of four members of its science board. It said the panel would help expand the scope of therapies that it is developing.

Alan Trounson, UCSD photo
Trounson last year left his post as president of the agency, formally known as the California Institute for Regenerative Medicine(CIRM). Seven days later, he joined the governing board of StemCells, Inc., a firm that had received $19.3 million in funding from CIRM. The move surprised the agency and generated a flap over revolving-door conflicts of interest.

Cord Blood Registry has not received any funding from the stem cell agency. In response to a question, Kevin McCormack, senior director for CIRM communications, said today the firm has “no connections whatsoever” with the agency.

It is not clear whether the firm plans to seek financing from CIRM in the future. Cord Blood announced last month that it is involved in an effort with a CIRM-funded, Cellular Dynamics International of Madison, Wisc., to reprogram cord blood and umbilical tissue into reprogrammed pluripotent cells.

Cellular Dynamics, founded by famed researcher Jamie Thomson, has a a facility in Novato, Ca., and was awarded more than $16 million from CIRM in 2013.

Heather Brown, vice president of scientific and medical affairs at Cord Blood (CBR), said in a press release,
"The (scientific board) will provide strategic guidance on current issues that will contribute greatly to CBR's continued progress in research and clinical development."
The company’s press release said,
“CBR is dedicated to advancing the clinical application of newborn stem cells by partnering with leading research institutions to establish FDA-regulated clinical trials, requiring CBR processed cord blood….” 
The company has been in business since 1992 but yesterday’s announcement marked the formation of its first scientific advisory board. It is headquartered in the San Francisco Bay Area, but it stores its cord blood in an 80,000-square-foot facility in Arizona.

Last month, Geoffrey Crouse, CEO of the firm, told Karen Garloch of the Charlotte Observer that some private cord blood banks have“overstated the state of the research” involving cord blood.

He made the comment in connection with the formation of the national Cord Blood Association. He said that he expects the association to “bring the industry to a higher standard.”

According to an April 25, 2014, article in the Wall Street Journal, the blood cord banking business globally runs about $4 billion a year and has had its share of problems. The piece by Dionne Searcy and Christopher Stewart said,
“A Wall Street Journal analysis of government inspections and a review of lawsuits in the U.S. found problems in the loosely regulated cord-blood-banking business, including dirty storage conditions, leaky blood samples and firms going out of business. 
“Some private cord-blood banks are essentially marketing websites that lure customers, collect fees, then outsource the processing and storage of what is touted as biological life insurance for children.”
Sphere: Related Content

No comments:

Post a Comment