Wednesday, September 05, 2012

Appeals in $243 Million Stem Cell Round Climb to a Record 11

A Stanford researcher is seeking to overturn reviewer rejection of his application for $20 million in the California stem cell agency's largest ever research round and bringing to a record 11 the number of appeals in the round.

The previous record number of appeals in a round was nine in 2010. In the current $243 million disease team round, 11 of 15 applicants rejected by reviewers filed appeals, nine in July and two since then, including the Stanford researcher. Two of the appeals were successful in July. And it appears that three more appeals will be approved, albeit with conditions, later today. 

In his petition to the agency's governing board, Albert Wong of Stanford said,
“This science has been favorably reviewed by CIRM in the past and was on the cusp of funding. Moreover, three recent publications support our approach.”
He said that his team can “refute nearly every negative comment made either through referencing available scientific information or our application.”  Additionally he indicated that his team did not fully understand the opportunities for appeals during the application review process.

Wong and CIRM did not disclose the score on the application (5373), but it was listed next to last on the CIRM list of reviewer summaries.  Generally, those summaries are listed in order of their scientific score ranking.

Wong's appeal is on the agenda for today's meeting of the CIRM governing board, which is expected to act tonight on all the appeals filed in the $243 million disease team round. The $35 million basic biology round is expected to be acted on tomorrow.

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