Wednesday, January 18, 2017

$16 Million Expansion of Alpha Stem Cell Clinics Planned for California

California's stem cell agency plans to expand its Alpha Clinic network this year with two more locations, including probably the first in Northern California, and financing the effort with $16 million. 

The proposal comes before the agency's Science Subcommittee one week from today (Jan. 25) and could be of considerable interest to enterprises, both public and private, that are ready to move quickly. The $3 billion agency has set a deadline of May 15 for applications. 

The Alpha Clinic program is aimed at being sort of a one-stop center for clinical trials and stem cell research. Currently sites are all located in Southern California at UC San Diego, the City of Hope in the Los Angeles area, UCLA and UC Irvine

The agency, known formally as the California Institute for Regenerative Medicine (CIRM), said in its proposal, 
"Twenty-nine clinical trials are being conducted at these sites and hundreds of patients have been enrolled. These trials emanate from CIRM’s funding pipeline as well as non-CIRM funded investigator and industry-sponsored projects."
One of the goals of the expansion is to enhance the value of the network. The agency said, 

“Proposed sites could enhance the value by, for example, broadening the network’s geographic reach, providing expertise in new disease areas, providing new/unique technical capability, or other elements that accelerate/support stem cell clinical trials.”

The session next week will provide an opportunity for potential applicants to ask questions and make suggestions. The proposal will also go to the governing board of the agency, but most of the work by board members goes on at the committee level.

Applicants may also be interested in a CIRM symposium on Alpha Clinics scheduled for March 23 at the City of Hope.

Next week's committee meeting will be based at the agency's Oakland headquarters with five telephonic locations, all public, two in Los Angeles, and one each in San Diego, Irvine and La Jolla, where the public can participate. The meeting will also be audiocast with listen-only capabilities. Details are on the agenda.

Also on the agenda are unspecified changes in three other types of CIRM award rounds: Discovery, Translation and Clinical. The agency has not yet posted material spelling out what is to be considered.
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