Businesses Oppose Stem Cell Revenue-Sharing Policy
Several biotechnology companies and business groups are opposing a proposed California Institute for Regenerative Medicine policy that would require grant recipients to share their discoveries with other scientists and pay royalties to the state, the San Jose Mercury News reports. Voters in 2004 approved Proposition 71, the $3 billion stem cell bond measure that created CIRM.
In February, CIRM tentatively adopted a revenue-sharing policy for not-for-profit research institutions and universities. Under the policy:
- The state would receive a 25% royalty on any revenue exceeding $500,000 from discoveries funded by Proposition 71 grants;
- Medicines or other products developed using grant money would have to be provided to Californians at prices set by Medicare; and
- Researchers must share their discoveries at no charge with other scientists.
CIRM is beginning work on developing a policy for the private sector and hopes to complete a policy this year.
The Washington, D.C.-based Biotech Industry Organization in a letter to CIRM wrote, "These provisions substantially reduce or eliminate the incentives to commercialize patented stem cell-related technologies and products even in spite of the generous funding provided by Proposition 71."
Biotech and business groups say such a policy could deter them from developing stem cell therapies.
A letter to CIRM from several biotech firms stated, "It is very unlikely that any for-profit entity would license a research-related invention that cannot be protected in the research environment and that must, in all circumstances, be provided to all California researchers for free" (Johnson, San Jose Mercury News, 6/30).