Wednesday, June 08, 2011

The Race for the Chair: Weaning CIRM From Government Support

Cardiologist Frank Litvack, a candidate for chair of the $3 billion California stem cell agency, has suggested that CIRM seriously consider how it could fund its research without relying on the state of California.

In his second statement to CIRM directors, Litvack, who also has a long career in business, on Monday covered much of the same ground that he did last week. But he was more specific when it came to what on Friday he called "evergreening" CIRM. Litvack said,
"Further thought should be given to the concept of getting CIRM to be partially or wholly self-funded in the future. One such method might be getting upside participation in the financial success of its grantees. Recently the federal government was quite successful in this regard during the banking, insurance and auto bailouts. I realize that each of these topics is replete with opinions as well as with controversy. Nonetheless, they need to be further explored and developed."
Taking CIRM or any government agency department private may seem a bit of a reach to some. However, CIRM is one the few state departments that has the legal ability to create a nonprofit organization. Such an organization could serve as springboard for weaning CIRM off government financing. Of course, the tough part is raising the money.

Here is the full text of Litvack's remarks on Monday.Remarks by Frank Litvack to CIRM Evaluation Subcommittee June 6, 2011

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