Friday, December 12, 2014

Stanford Pulls Its $10.9 Million Alpha Stem Cell Clinic Application

Stanford University has withdrawn its $10.9 million request to the California stem cell agency to create an Alpha stem cell clinic on its campus, along with a complaint that an illegal conflict of interest was involved in reviewing the proposal.

No further details about the alleged conflict were disclosed by the stem cell agency, which cloaks such matters in secrecy.

The Stanford application last October came before the board of the California Institute for Regenerative Medicine (CIRM), as the agency is formally known. It was pulled from the agenda without a vote shortly before it was to be considered because of the late allegation of a conflict.

The application was to have come again before the CIRM board yesterday but again was removed. Kevin McCormack, senior director for communications, said that both the proposal and the complaint had been withdrawn by the applicant.

McCormack did not disclose the identities of the reviewers in the Alpha round nor the identity of the applicant, which the agency keeps secret. But the California Stem Cell Report has learned that it was Stanford.

The proposal received a low score, 64 or below, from the agency’s blue-ribbon reviewers, all of whom come from out-of-state, and was not recommended for funding. It was a rare loss for the Palo Alto institution, which has been the most successful in the state in winning money from CIRM. It has collected $298.3 million in 90 grants. The figure far surpasses the No. 2 institution, UCLA, which chalked up $215.3 million in 75 grants.

The winners in the $34 million round were the City of Hope in Duarte, UC San Diego and UCLA-UC Irvine. All of the institutions involved have representatives on the CIRM governing board. They are not allowed to vote on applications from their institutions.

In addition to Stanford, the other losing applicants in the round were UC Davis and UC San Francisco. 

See below for a CIRM list of the conflicts of interest in the round involving various directors.

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