Tuesday, January 15, 2008

Business Wants CIRM Millions

Fifteen businesses – perhaps some from outside of California – intend to seek grants from the California stem cell agency, a response that one agency watchdog says demonstrates that the private sector is "comfortable" with sharing stem cell wealth with the state.

The agency today announced that 57 organizations filed letters of intent last Thursday stating that they expect to apply for the $25 million effort to develop new lines of pluripotent cells, including research into reprograming adult cells.

John M. Simpson
, stem cell project director of the Foundation for Taxpayer and Consumers Rights, said,
"This demonstrates clearly that responsible California companies are comfortable with the the public interest provisions in the stem cell agency’s intellectual property rules. There were those who claimed to speak for the industry, such as the California Healthcare Institute, who warned the regulations would dampen corporate interest. Clearly that’s not the case. This is an endorsement of the sometimes arduous public process that developed the IP rules. I only wish the agency would be as open and transparent in other aspects of its operation. That’s how you build public trust and support.”
Alan Trounson, the new president of CIRM, said,
"We are particularly excited to note that based on the letters of intent we have received there is a good balance between research that derives pluripotent stem cell lines from human embryonic stem cell lines as well as new, highly novel methods such as iPS."
Firms located out-of-state are eligible to compete for the funds if they have a "research site" located in California by the Feb. 5, the application deadline. CIRM did not specify whether any of the letters of intent came under that category.

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