Group Suggests Intellectual Property Guidelines for Stem Cell Institute
The Foundation for Taxpayer and Consumer Rights is expected to release a report on Monday outlining policies it suggests the California Institute for Regenerative Medicine adopt to make stem cell-based therapies developed using Proposition 71 funding affordable and accessible to state residents, the San Diego Union-Tribune reports. State voters in November 2004 approved Proposition 71 to fund stem cell research.
According to the foundation's report, CIRM "must put the interests of taxpayers and patients ahead of private biotech companies who have (a) financial stake in the outcome" of the research.
The foundation also recommends:
- Using a portion of money raised through licensing discoveries to make new therapies available to residents who cannot afford them;
- Requiring biotechnology or pharmaceutical companies to sell therapies developed using Proposition 71 funds to the state at their lowest price;
- Allowing CIRM to retain the right to keep a discovery from being patented if it is determined that it would be more beneficial in the public domain; and
- Creating a three-person board to oversee a pool of all patents resulting from Proposition 71-funded discoveries to make it easier for companies looking to license those patents.
John Simpson, lead author of the report, said a policy that is based on the Bayh-Dole Act -- a 1980 federal intellectual property guideline recommended for use by CIRM by the California Council for Science and Technology -- would charge taxpayers twice for new therapies, and should not be used.
A task force of the Independent Citizens' Oversight Committee will meet on Monday to discuss policies regarding intellectual property rights (Somers, San Diego Union-Tribune, 1/23).
The FTCR report is available online. Note: You will need Adobe Acrobat Reader to view the report.
CIRM "appears to be entering a new era of declining expectations," and research advocates in other states are viewing Proposition 71 "as a model to avoid," the San Francisco Chronicle reports.
Lawsuits have prevented CIRM from "ramping up a bold, $350 million annual grant-making operation," and it is expected that it will take at least 15 months before legal challenges can be settled and grants can be awarded, according to the Chronicle.
CIRM CEO Zach Hall said the institute is trying to raise $50 million for several "baby grants" and training initiatives, as well as "seed grants" at not-for-profit centers and stem cell conferences. However, "there's no money yet for any of that," and it will take an additional $2.5 million in donations to maintain operations, the Chronicle reports (Hall, San Francisco Chronicle, 1/22).