Friday, August 25, 2017

California Stem Cell Agency's First Royalty Payment: Beginning of a $1 Billion Flood? No One is Saying

The check is in the mail for California's $3 billion stem cell research effort. But it is something of a secret.

So reports Ron Leuty of the San Francisco Business Times concerning the expectation that the agency, formally known as the California Institute for Regenerative Medicine (CIRM), would generate $1 billion in royalties. In an article online yesterday afternoon, Leuty said,
"We are expecting the first check to be delivered to the state very soon," CIRM spokesman Kevin McCormack said in an email.
"Yet even as a public state agency, CIRM officials are holding tight to key information about the first royalty check: How large (or small) is the check? When will the check actually be forwarded to the general fund? And from which CIRM-funded project did it spring?

"'The royalty check is something that is still being worked out so it’s premature to say anything at the moment,' McCormack said in a followup email. 'Sorry to sound so secretive but it is a big deal, the first of what we hope will be many such repayments for the state’s investment.'"
During the ballot initiative campaign that led voters in 2004 to create the stem cell agency, supporters said that the agency's research could generate up to $1.1 billion in royalties. None have yet surfaced. And at least one description of the royalty promise has called it a "cynical ruse."
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