Wednesday, May 22, 2019

Looking Back and Forward at the California Stem Cell Agency: 1,000 Awards, $2.6 Billion, 1,200 Patients in Clinical Trials

A CIRM slide from tomorrow's presentation
on the stem cell agency's work.

The California stem cell agency has whomped up a fulsome presentation on its progress since it was created in 2004 and plans to unveil it at a public meeting tomorrow in Oakland. 

The presentation covers everything from cell therapy to de-risking stem cell investing for biotech companies. Maria Millan, CEO of the $3 billion enterprise, will run through the agency's 1,000 awards and 53 clinical trials during tomorrow's meeting of the governing board of the research effort. 

Her presentation comes at an increasingly critical time for the agency. It expects to run out of cash for new awards later this year. It is attempting to raise $220 million privately to help tide it over until November 2020, when it hopes to persuade California voters to give it another $5 billion. 

The agency, known formally as the California Institute for Regenerative Medicine (CIRM), is making the meeting available to the public through its usual Internet audiocast in addition to teleconference meeting sites in Riverside, La Jolla, South San Francisco, Fresno, San Diego, Palo Alto and two in Los Angeles.  That is in addition to the main meeting site in Oakland. (Full directions are on the meeting agenda.) The public can also ask questions via the Internet or the teleconference locations. 

Also up for tomorrow's meeting is discussion of possibilities of changes in CIRM's operations that might be embodied in a ballot initiative in 2020. Two governing board committees mulled over a wide range of options at a session last week, but no decisions were made. The measure is yet to be written but will need to be officially filed later this year. 

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