Wednesday, December 16, 2015

More Info on the $30 Million California Stem Cell Agency Plan for Life After 'Death'

More information emerged this afternoon concerning the California stem cell agency’s $30 million plan for its life beyond 2020, when its funding runs out for new awards.. The agency posted documents late yesterday saying that it had pledges of $7 million from private donors contingent on raising an additional $23 million. One of the presentation slides posted online used the term “wind-down.” Earlier today, the California Stem Cell Report asked the agency for clarification of the sketchy information posted on the agenda for tomorrow’s stem cell board meeting. Kevin McCormack, senior director for communications for agency, responded,
“The $30 million is to help ensure that we have funds to cover the administration of all the awards we make in the next five years. As you know those are multi-year awards so if we can continue making new awards till, say, 2020 we also want to make sure we have enough money in our admin bucket (which is separate fro the research bucket) to cover the supervision and support for those awards.
“We are also but separately working on finding other sources of funding so the agency as a whole can continue funding and administering research after our current money runs out , but that is a separate task.”
Presentation documents posted online made reference to public funding, but had no specifics. Currently the agency survives on money borrowed by the state under the terms of the ballot initiative that created the research program in 2004. However, that $3 billion source is shrinking, and the agency is down to its last $890 million. The online documents made no mention of plans to continue with new awards or loans beyond 2020. Jonathan Thomas, agency chairman, is expected to provide more details tomorrow to the board on the financing plan.

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