Tuesday, June 15, 2010

The Latest on Calimmune and California Cash

The story of Calimmune and a $20 million CIRM grant has a brief, new chapter this week – an installment that includes the word “mysterious.”

For those of you who may have forgotten, Calimmune, which is based in Tucson, is involved with UCLA in some CIRM-funded research. The young firm has connections to Johnson & Johnson, Australia and former CIRM director David Baltimore, a Nobel laureate. We carried an item with more details last November.

Yesterday, Paul Knoepfler, a stem cell scientist at UC Davis, carried an item dealing with Calimmune on his blog. The piece was part of an ongoing discussion about CIRM funding to businesses. CIRM is barred from funding research out-of-state, be it conducted by business or academia.

He wrote,
David Jensen reported that Calimmune has lab space in Pasadena. The only reference to that that I can find is here, where it is mentioned as a company in the "Pasadena Biosciences Group", a group of tech companies sharing a building in Pasadena.

“Being somewhat puzzled, I inquired with CIRM about Calimmune and they responded that they have verified that Calimmune has a California facility.  So as far as I can tell, all companies with CIRM funding have ongoing science in California.

“Calimmune still seems mysterious to me. Perhaps the most unusual things about Calimmune is it has no website and there is nearly zero information on it on the Internet. No apparent publications. No press releases. No industry analysis. It has been referred to as 'tightly held'...I guess so!”
When we originally reported about Calimmune, Louis Breton, the president of the firm promised more details around the beginning of this year. Nothing was forthcoming at that time, and he failed to respond to an email we sent to him on March 9.

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