Thursday, April 12, 2012

Correction: ACT Not Rejected 15 Times by California Stem Cell Agency

A venture capitalist who said earlier this week that the California stem cell agency rejected 15 grant applications from Advanced Cell Technology this afternoon retracted the statement, which he said was incorrect.

Gregory Bonfiglio, managing partner in Proteus Regenerative Medicine, said in an email,
"Although I believed that number to be true at the time I stated it, I have now determined that the number of CIRM grant applications ACT filed as the principal investigator was substantially below 15."
Bonfiglio made the assertion Tuesday at a meeting of the Institute of Medicine panel looking into the performance of the $3 billion California stem cell agency, which has been criticized for its lack of funding of biotech firms.

Here is more of what Bonfiglio had to say in his email this afternoon,
"Unfortunately, your California Stem Cell Report posting on April 11 contains some inaccurate information, for which I appear to have been the source.  As you will recall, I stated during the IOM Panel that Advanced Cell Technology had submitted multiple applications for funding from CIRM, but had been unsuccessful in obtaining any funding from CIRM.  I also stated that ACT had been involved in “15 grant applications” to CIRM.   You highlighted that number in your April 11 California Stem Cell Report posting.   Unfortunately, that number is not accurate.  Although I believed that number to be true at the time I stated it, I have now determined that the number of CIRM grant applications ACT filed as the Principal Investigator was substantially below 15.   The number I quoted in the IOM Meeting on April 10 included applications in which ACT had some involvement, but was not the lead principal Investigator.  ACT has filed several applications for CIRM funding as the lead PI, but the number of CIRM applications in which ACT was the lead PI was far below 15.   Moreover, some of ACT’s direct applications for CIRM funding were withdrawn by ACT, rather than denied by CIRM.

"I would request that you correct this inaccuracy regarding ACT's applications for CIRM funding as soon as possible.  I'm sure you will agree that the regenerative medicine community, and the general public, have a real and significant interest in obtaining accurate information about developments at CIRM, and that the publication of inaccurate information is a tremendous disservice to all involved.  More importantly, ACT is a publicly traded company and the publication of inaccurate information regarding ACT, its technologies, or its funding could have adverse consequences for the company.   Furthermore, as an active participant in the regenerative medicine community who has spent his professional career developing a reputation for honesty, accuracy, and integrity I am very concerned that I might be the source of inaccurate information regarding developments within the field of regenerative medicine.  For these reasons, I would ask that you retract the statement in your April 11 Blog posting that ACT was 'rejected 15 times for funding' by CIRM, and that you refrain from making any other statements to that effect.

"I appreciate your cooperation in this regard, and I would request that you move quickly to correct the inaccuracy in your April 11 Blog posting.   As I am sure you are aware, information in blog postings is sometimes picked up by more traditional media, and I would not want any republication of this inaccurate information regarding ACT’s grant applications to CIRM."
At the time Bonfiglio made his comments concerning ACT, top officials of the stem cell agency were in the room, but did not make any statement concerning his assertion. On the morning of April 11 prior to publication of the item, the California Stem Cell Report asked ACT for comment .

No response has been received from ACT about the figure. CIRM also has not commented since the item appeared.

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