Wednesday, October 15, 2014

No Appeals Filed Yet in California's $44 Million Alpha Stem Cell Clinic Round

None of the rejected California universities seeking multimillion dollar grants to join the Golden State’s new, ambitious network of Alpha Stem Cell Clinics has yet filed an appeal of the decisions, the state stem cell agency said today.

That word comes from Don Gibbons, a spokesman for the $3 billion enterprise. In response to a query from the California Stem Cell Report, he said, however, the deadline for appeals is Friday.

If appeals are filed as expected, they will handled behind closed doors by the agency’s staff. Under state law, the applicants can also appear publicly before the agency’s governing board on Oct. 23 in Los Angeles to make their case. The board, however, has not responded favorably to most such pitches in the last year or so.

The Oct. 23 meeting will be the first public vetting of the proposals, which are outlined briefly in review summaries. The summaries were prepared by the agency's staff following closed-door meetings in which out-of-state scientific reviewers voted the applications up or down. The board almost never rejects a positive decision by its reviewers. Occasionally, it will approve an application that is rejected by reviewers.

Three applications survived the private review and total about $33.6 million. A fourth is on the fence for $11 million more. The agency refuses most of the time to disclose the names of applicants. But based on the review summaries and other information, the City of Hope, UC San Diego and UCLA appear to be the top-ranked applications. 

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