Wednesday, September 07, 2016

Text of Irv Weissman's Comments Re Trounson Compensation

Stanford University stem cell researcher Irv Weissman has sent along the following comment in the wake of the publication of the Sept. 2, 2016, story concerning Alan Trounson's compensation from StemCells, Inc., a company co-founded by Weissman, who also served on its board of directors.
"I would like to correct some information that can be verified by CIRM officials and employees. I have known Alan Trounson for years before he came to CIRM both as a scientist and once on a fishing trip. After he got settled into his position at CIRM we met socially, and agreed to go on another fishing trip together. From that time forward he recused himself on all grants and CIRM related activities that involved either my lab or Stem Cells Inc. This was unfortunate for me, as there were times when he was the field expert and could have suggested appropriate reviewers, or mistakes in review, for grants coming from me at Stanford or Stem Cells, Inc. Although you mention the many successes we have had with CIRM grants, there were many more times when I failed to reach a funding score that was sufficient, sometimes with what I thought were inaccurate reviews,and sometimes with reviewers that I would have asked to be removed for conflicts outside of scientific expertise. I am happy to answer any questions on these issues for all grants on which I am a principal investigator, or as on the stem cell genomics grant, a participating but minor investigator who was the only person with purified stem and progenitor cells.
"I hope you dig into the actual current value of his or my stock, so that the public will know the real numbers. At least up to the wind-down of the company I believe I have never sold stock I hold, as I felt I always could have had information not generally available to the public, even when it was legal by SEC standards. In the early days of the company I contributed personal money to the company for stock so that the company could meet its payroll, and also I never sold those stocks. All of my SCI stocks are worth no more than and probably much less than 10% of that single contribution."
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  1. Anonymous3:30 PM

    Couldn't we have predicted trouble? See what Alan did in Australia:
    "Political science has gotten so bad that a few biotech advocates have resorted to outright misrepresentation. One of the most notorious of these cases occurred in Australia where Alan Trounson, a leading stem cell researcher (as reported by the Australian on August 27, 2002) admitted that he released a misleading video to "win over politicians" during that country's Parliamentary debate over embryonic stem cell research. The video depicted a disabled rat regaining the ability to walk after being injected with embryonic stem cells--or so Trounson claimed. In actuality, the experiment used cadaveric fetal tissue from five-to-nine-week old aborted human fetuses, an altogether different approach..."
    The Weekly Standard. June 10, 2004

  2. I remember reading about this when Trounson first started at CIRM. I don't remember CIRM mentioning it- did they?