Monday, February 04, 2008

On the absence of evidence that Yamanaka accepted a CIRM grant

Christine Vestal at had written:

Now that grant money is flowing, the California Institute of Regenerative Medicine (CIRM) reports it has wooed more than two dozen of the world's top stem-cell scientists, including Japanese scientist Shinya Yamanaka, who lead the most recent skin-cell discoveries at the University of Kyoto. Yamanaka accepted a state grant in August 2007 and began working part-time in San Francisco to avoid stem-cell restrictions in Japan.

There was no footnote in the Vestal article to document Yamanaka's acceptance. There is no evidence that Yamanaka accepted a CIRM grant in August 2007 (or at any other time). There is evidence that Yamanaka was wooed by Gladstone with $1.5 million from Whittier (not money from CIRM). There is evidence that Gladstone explicitly said that Yamanaka would (at least initially) NOT BE FUNDED with CIRM money BECAUSE OF uncertainties with the intellectual property policy at CIRM.

Vestal also wrote:

In January 2004, New Jersey was the first to underwrite embryonic stem-cell research, appropriating $10 million and taking on a role historically held by the federal government's esteemed National Institutes of Health (NIH). Califor-nia came next with its November 2004 voter-approved fund of $3 billion and immediately outstripped all other investors.


New Jersey becomes the first state to fund embryonic stem-cell research, appropriating $10 million over 10 years for research grants. It also enacts a law permitting human cloning for research purposes. (January)

New Jersey became the first state, in 2004, to support stem-cell research, earmarking $10 million to be distributed over 10 years to university, non-profit and commercial labs in the state. Since then, lawmakers have appropriated another $15 million for grants and $9.5 million to cover administrative costs of the program. So far, the state has distributed $7.6 million, $899,000 of which has gone to embryonic studies. In 2007, Gov. Jon Corzine (D) signed legislation for another $270 million to build and equip five stem-cell and biomedical research facilities. In the 2007 elections, New Jersey voters said "no" to Corzine's proposed $450 million bond measure for continued funding, a proposal opposed by anti-abortion group New Jersey Right to Life.

IPBiz notes that the Vestal account is not entirely accurate. For example, the $450 million bond measure was for buildings, NOT for continued funding. Some New Jerseyans have questioned why the other $270 million was NOT on the ballot. Vestal ignores the opposition to the NJ bond measure based on economic grounds. [Note that NJ has not had an elected Republican senator in more than 30 years, and is generally not considered Bush country.]

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