Comments from readers are always welcome on the California Stem Cell Report. They can either be filed directly on an item by clicking on "post a comment" at the end of each item or by sending them to firstname.lastname@example.org. Here is the commentary on the direction of the stem cell agency.Scientis
"With the funding of Quintiles the last piece of the puzzle falls into place. Randy Mills is very proud of the fact that he transformed the company Osiris, which was research oriented, into a product-oriented company.
"Everything he has done since he became president of CIRM has been strategy to turn it into a product-oriented business.
"From start to finish, Mills is refashioning CIRM as a business. The grant applications have now become 'partnering opportunities,' and the researchers receiving those grants take on a role as subcontractors under CIRM’s control rather than independent scientists.
"With grantees as partners and subcontractors, the next stage in commercialization is to hire a CRO (contract research organization) to funnel through all of the promising products, taking them out of the grantee’s hands. Quintiles is a huge organization and the $15 million grant is insignificant for them -- they subcontract for drug companies to run clinical trials. They have no stem cell experience.
"Subcontracting a CRO is a business strategy to avoid investing in employees and technologies the company needs. The selection of grantees has also become business-oriented: CIRM is recruiting companies outside California to fund so they can be added to its corporate profile. Companies have also become the preferred recipients of CIRM grants, even if they are virtual companies set up by academics for the purpose of obtaining CIRM funding.
"CIRM is morphing into a corporation with centralized control, with the hope that the product pipeline will yield something that makes money. The question is: was this the intention of Prop. 71? If so, why wasn’t it always a corporation?"
(Editor's note: Prop. 71 is the ballot initiative that created the stem cell agency in 2004.)Sphere: Related Content