Thursday, January 26, 2012

Magazine Survey on CIRM Shows Mixed Results

The magazine GEN this week produced two relatively lengthy articles dealing with the current state of affairs and the future of the $3 billion California stem cell agency.

Much of the material is familiar to readers of the California Stem Cell Report, but GEN, which says it reaches "221,035 biotech and life science professionals, also produced an online survey that asked its readers: "How helpful has CIRM been in advancing stem cell science?"

At the time of this writing, the results showed that 40.9 of respondents said CIRM was "very helpful."  An identical percentage said "not very" or were undecided. The survey showed 18.2 percent as ranking the agency "somewhat" helpful. The number of respondents was not disclosed.

The two articles (see here and here)by Alex Philippidis also discussed the possibility of a bond issue in a "few years," before CIRM runs out of cash in 2017. Philippidis wrote,
"By then CIRM hopes to have won what ICOC (the CIRM governing board) chairman Jonathan Thomas, Ph.D., has called the 'communications war' the agency is fighting with California newspapers and the CIRM-focused blog California Stem Cell Report. Both have criticized the agency over a host of governance and pay issues."
For the record, the California Stem Cell Report has not criticized the agency in connection with the level of its executive pay. We have pointed out that many California voters have a highly negative and visceral reaction to high public salaries, which is a matter that CIRM must deal with in connection with retention of public confidence. We have also noted that the salaries represent a tiny, tiny fraction of CIRM spending.

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