Stem Cell Institute Faces Royalties Dispute
The University of Wisconsin Alumni Research Foundation, which claims broad patent rights to all embryonic stem cell lines in the U.S., has said it will require payments from the California Institute for Regenerative Medicine, the Los Angeles Times reports.
The foundation's demands "could spur a bitter court fight, even as pending litigation has so far kept the state from issuing" Proposition 71 funds, according to the Times. State voters approved Proposition 71 in November 2004 to fund stem cell research.
Ed Penhoet, vice chair of the Independent Citizens' Oversight Committee, said lawsuits brought by UW could "[t]heoretically ... close down research activity in California."
A spokesperson for the Wisconsin foundation said talks with CIRM are continuing.
In related news, representatives of private biotechnology companies on Wednesday told CIRM board members that leading research companies are unlikely to seek Proposition 71 funds if too many regulations are imposed.
The industry's main concerns include rules that would:
- Allow the state to determine how much a company can charge for new treatments;
- Permit the state to maintain the right to patent technology if companies do not seek patents; and
- Require companies to share developments they consider proprietary.
Wednesday's meeting was the first of three to determine grant policy for private companies that receive Proposition 71 funding.
CIRM President Zach Hall said the guidelines could be amended in the future as necessary (Romney, Los Angeles Times, 3/30). This is part of the California Healthline Daily Edition, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.