Thursday, October 25, 2012

Viacyte, bluebirdbio Win About $10 Million Each from California stem cell agency

BURLINGAME, Ca – Directors of the California stem cell agency this morning approved $19.5 million in awards to two companies for research aimed at completing an early stage clinical trial within four years.

The cash went to Viacyte, Inc., of San Diego, Ca., slightly more than $10.1 million for a diabetes project, and to bluebirdbio of Cambridge, Mass , $9.4 million for a B-thalassemia effort. CIRM directors approved the awards with virtually no discussion. The agency is limited to funding research by the companies that is performed in California

The awards are part of the agency's push to commercialize stem cell research and engage industry more closely. All of the six applicants came from industry. However, the firms that were turned down were not identified with the exception of Athersys, Inc., of Cleveland, Ohio.

CIRM Director Steve Juelsgaard asked for a discussion of an appeal by Athersys, Inc., of Cleveland, Ohio, whose application was rejected by reviewers who scored it at 60 out of 100. The two winners had scores of 88 and 73. .However, following a brief look at the application, the board rejected Athersys' application along with other proposals turned down by reviewers. .

Click on this link for the CIRM press release on the awards.  

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