Thursday, July 11, 2019

Live Online: The 'Inside Scoop' on $3 Billion, California Stem Cell Research Effort?

The headline was provocative, and the question was "now what?"

It is the latest posting on the blog of the $3 billion California stem cell agency, which expects to run out cash for new awards as early as this fall. 

"Getting the inside scoop on the stem cell agency" -- That was the headline for the article, which promoted an online event July 25 involving three of the directors of the nearly 15-year-old agency, formally known as the California Institute for Regenerative Medicine (CIRM). 

"Now what?" is one of the questions they will address during the Facebook Live session. Viewers will have a chance to submit questions during the event and hear the answers. The immediate response is one of the benefits of such an event. Another is that they are preserved online for later viewing, multiplying the potential exposure in a significant way. 

That staying power is a benefit of considerable utility for the agency, which is not exactly a topic at the breakfast table in the homes of California voters. But they are the folks who the agency hopes will approve a proposed ballot initiative in November 2020 for an additional $5.5 billion for the research program. 

CIRM is currently engaged in a bit of an extra effort to educate Californians about the positive aspects of its work. In recent years, it has functioned in the usual obscurity enjoyed by most state agencies. However, unlike most state agencies, it does not survive financially on the usual budgetary process. 

CIR was born in 2004 with $3 billion, but nothing more.  So today the task is demonstrate to the people of California its value proposition. 

Taking up that task online in a couple of weeks will be CIRM directors Anne Marie Duliegeexecutive vice president and chief medical office Rigel Pharmaceuticals; Joe Panetta, president of BIOCOM, and Dave Martinchairman and CEO of AvidBiotics. And CIRM is inviting Californians to join in the Facebook Live session "to understand how we got where we are, how the rest of the field is doing and what happens next."
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