Stem Cell Subcommittee Passes Intellectual Property Policy
Biotechnology companies that receive state grants to conduct stem cell research would have to pay the state a percentage of profits exceeding a certain amount under a policy developed by a California Institute for Regenerative Medicine subcommittee, the Sacramento Bee reports.
The proposed rules would require companies to pay the state 1% to 3% of profit earned from discoveries made using Proposition 71 funds. Voters approved the proposition in 2004 to provide $300 million annually for 10 years to fund stem cell research.
The policy also would give full intellectual property protection to companies looking to market spinoff products from discoveries made with state funding.
The full Independent Citizens' Oversight Committee on Aug. 2 will vote on the proposed policy.
The subcommittee on Friday rejected a proposal that would have required companies licensing and developing improved stem cell research "tools" to provide them at a discount to other researchers receiving Proposition 71 grants.
Some subcommittee members argued that the rule would prevent taxpayers from funding new research tools twice -- once for the initial research and again for future researchers to purchase it from a biotech company. Biotech industry representatives said the policy would remove the incentive of investment and lead to decreased revenues from other California stem cell researchers, who are the companies' main customers (Downing, Sacramento Bee, 7/15).