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Blog Post
6/11/2008
Posted by John M. Simpson
The state stem cell agency is refining the policies that govern the way $3 billion in grants are administered. One proposed change really had me wondering when I read it. The California Institute for Regenerative Medicine (CIRM) just posted a proposed Grants Administration Policy for Academic and Non-Profit Institutions. It will be the subject of...
Blog Post
6/3/2008
Posted by John M. Simpson
Do you want to know what California's stem cell agency is doing with California taxpayers' $6 billion?  Here's one way. Proposition 71 passed by 59 percent of the state's voters in 2004 created the California Institute for Regenerative Medicine (CIRM) to parcel out $3 billion in research money over a decade. With bond financing charges the...
Blog Post
6/2/2008
Posted by John M. Simpson
Dr. Alan Trounson, the California stem cell institute's president, wants to revise the agency's strategic plan.  The effort is needed, but Trounson must remain true to the process that developed the original document. Speaking at last month's meeting of the Independent Citizen's Oversight Committee (ICOC), Trounson said, "I'd like to...
Blog Post
5/28/2008
Posted by John M. Simpson
Despite difficulty mustering a quorum the stem agency's Governance Subcommittee Wednesday approved a 66 percent increase in a contract with its outside legal counsel, Remcho, Johansen and Purcell. The contract for 2007-2008 had been $250,000. The committee increased the pact $165,000 to $415,000 for the fiscal year that ends on June 30. I told the...
Blog Post
5/27/2008
Posted by John M. Simpson
When the California stem cell agency was in start-up mode, the staff had a difficult time making key documents available before oversight committee and subcommittee meetings. I thought those days were a thing of the past, but I was wrong. The Governance Committee is scheduled to meet tomorrow (Wednesday) in San Francisco with phone-in locations...
Blog Post
5/13/2008
Posted by John M. Simpson
The stem cell agency's Biotech Loan Task Force approved a draft loan policy at its meeting last week and sent it on to the stem cell board's finance committee for consideration. Even though the panel was told to expect defaults of up to 50 percent in some loan categories, the prediction was that total assets of the program could grow to between $...
News Release
5/12/2008
CONTACT CONTACT: John M. Simpson, 310-392-0522, ext 317; cell: 310-292-1902
Santa Monica, CA -- An audit of the state stem cell agency by California’s Controller ignores fundamental flaws in Proposition 71 that created the agency, Consumer Watchdog said today. The audit released by State Controller John Chiang found that with a relatively minor exception the California Institute for Regenerative Medicine (CIRM)...
Blog Post
5/9/2008
Posted by John M. Simpson
"All Californians are paying for Prop 71," said Dr. Claire Pomeroy, "so all should benefit from it." Dr. Pomeroy is the Dean of the UC Davis Medical school and has a seat on the 29-member stem cell agency board of directors known as the Independent Citizens' Oversight Committee (ICOC.)  The group met in LA this week and...
Blog Post
5/8/2008
Posted by John M. Simpson
One of the the problems with the California stem cell agency's board is that it is fraught with conflicts of interest. It was, in fact, designed that way in Proposition 71 which voters approved in 2004 with 59 percent of the vote. Thirteen of the members of the 29-member board by law come from universities and research institutions. And guess who...
News Release
4/16/2008
CONTACT CONTACT: John M. Simpson, 310-392-0522, ext. 317; or cell: 310-292-1902
Agency Claimed State Funding Led to Important Clinical Trials Santa Monica, CA -- California’s stem cell agency overstated and hyped the importance of its funding in enabling clinical trials for a drug to treat a severe blood disorder, Consumer Watchdog said today, seriously undercutting the agency’s credibility and alienating those...