Stem Cell Agency To Vote on Rules for Grant Recipients
The California Institute of Regenerative Medicine is considering rules that would require for-profit grant recipients to pay to the state general fund a percentage of profit from treatments developed using CIRM grant funds, the San Francisco Business Times reports (Levine, San Francisco Business Times, 11/27).
CIRM was created in 2004 when California voters approved Proposition 71. The measure provides $3 billion over 10 years for stem cell research (California Healthline, 11/16).
The proposed rules call for for-profit grant recipients to pay to the state general fund:
- 300% of grant money for innovations that generate $500,000 in annual revenue;
- 600% of grant money for developments that account for $250 million in annual revenue;
- 900% of grant money for products that yield $500 million in revenue; and
- 900% of grant money and 1% of revenue for treatments that account for more than $500 million in revenue annually.
The rules were approved earlier this month by the Intellectual Property Committee of the Independent Citizens' Oversight Committee, which administers CIRM. The full ICOC board will consider the rules at its Dec. 7 meeting. If approved, the rules would be posted for 45 days of public comment, likely beginning in January 2007 (San Francisco Business Times, 11/24)
"Politicians are right that stem cells hold the promise of medical progress," Sigrid Fry-Revere, director of bioethics at the Cato Institute, writes in a Los Angeles Times opinion piece, adding, "But we won't achieve the promised results if we insist on public funding of the research."
According to Fry-Revere, California "will end up forking over more than $6 billion for less than $2.8 billion for stem cell research" because of administrative costs and interest on the state-issued bonds. He writes that private groups "almost always step in to take up the slack" for research funding if government money is not available, adding that "private funders are also more efficient than government at doling out research money" (Fry-Revere, Los Angeles Times, 11/28).