Monday, February 04, 2008

Another scam from CIRM?

One can read the article at the Union-Tribune. Here's text from the first comment:

The stem cell institute, understaffed and not in the lending business, wants to get into the lending business because venture capital investors are overly (rightfully) skeptical, and not terribly eager, to risk "their" money in this field. The institute wants to fund (with taxpayer dollars) the "translation of research into clinical therapies....helping these therapies closer to public markets." And they want to do this (make loans) before the research produces viable therapies...with cash-strapped companies dealing in high-risk products (future therapies)? Of course Biotechnology companies are interested. They won't have to sell their risk to vcs, but to government funded decision makers. The task force loan program "offers a return by helping to get products (still in the research stage) to market, and by being a (potentially) self-perpetuating funding source." Sounds good!! Especially if your playing with OPM. John Simpson inserts reality into this proposal. Good description of the loan process..."a wink and a nod." Risk-free loans made by a government funded entity. 30-40% failure rate? And while I don't have knowledge of the Federal National Mortgage Association and state Housing Finance Agency, I'd want to know the roles they played (or should have played) in regards to the current mortgage crisis.

If there really were going to be therapeutic treatments based on human SCNT in the next ten years, this might be interesting. As it is, this CIRM proposal is a tragic misunderstanding of the current scientific realities. Further, in the pharma area, the cost of obtaining regulatory approval is FAR GREATER than the initial research. Is the tail wagging the dog?


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