Tuesday, August 27, 2013

Future Financing Plan for California Stem Cell Agency Coming Up in December

The California stem cell agency today released the $150,000 contract and proposal from James Gollub Associates to create a “strategic road map” for the $3 billion state program, which is scheduled to run out of cash for new grants sometime in 2017.

The goal of the road map, according to the contract, is to develop a “preferred model for a public-private sponsored entity to fund the most desirable translational projects in the CIRM portfolio.” That would appear to rule out future funding for basic research and training, which the agency has supported well during its nine-year history.  It would also be an acknowledgement that the agency cannot count on $300 million a year for grants as it has in the past.

Under the terms of Prop. 71, which created the agency in 2004, the effort is currently financed by state bonds, money borrowed by the state of California that flows directly to the agency without oversight by the governor or legislature. Authority to issue the bonds expires in 2017.

The contract calls for an initial report from the Gollub by Nov. 30 with the agency to decide by March 1, 2014, on whether it wants an operations and business plan from the Tiburon, Ca., firm.  Presumably the agency’s governing board would hear recommendations from Gollub at its December meeting.

The contract, signed July 16, specifies that Gollub will conduct at least 20 interviews with stakeholders to evaluate four possible models that it will develop. The stakeholders will include “investment, academic and government groups” and possibly others to be determined later.

The proposal presented by Gollub contains more information on the firm and the persons who will be working on the project. In addition to Gollub, they include Steve Marshall, Amy Rassen and Annika Barnes, all Gollub employees. The contract and proposal can be found below.

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