Monday, February 11, 2008

CIRM getting truthful in its old age?

In a post titled Bean Town Perspective: California Still Waiting for Stem Cell Results , californiastemcellreport finally includes a quote showing what we knew all along--no realistic chance of therapies in ten (10) years:

"'It's too early,' said Alan Trounson, president of the California Institute for Regenerative Medicine, the agency charged with administering the stem cell funds. 'There are very few substantial developments [in medical science] that have happened in less than 25 years. There have been some, but they tend to be rare.'"
[Tod Wallach quoting Dr. Alan Trounson, now of CIRM, but in Australia at the time of the vote Proposition 71]

Hmmm, where was Dr. Trounson when Laurence Baker of Stanford University promised all those patent royalties to California taxpayers? In Australia, of course. Where was californiastemcellreport or Don C. Reed? IPBiz has humorously referred to this business as bait-and-switch[Ad campaign for California's Proposition 71 as a bait and switch? ] It's actually worse; for example, Baker did not even discount future patent royalties to present-day dollars. Of course, that's "deck chairs on the Titanic", if there are no future royalties to discount.

Some Prop 71 supporters have pointed to the Bayh-Dole Act as a model. Apart from the presence of divergences, it's not clear that it is such a "good" model to emulate. Fortune on Bayh-Dole: a litigious scrum of data-hoarding and suspicion

An IPBiz reader had some further comments:

I get so pissed when I see DOE national labs step FAR beyond their charter, going to any and all areas of science...and then they get a patent, which kinds tells me "don't go down that path, the patent will be a problem". (And of course, a national lab will not bring something to market, but their image has been polished and it tells headquarters "we did something". Should patents be issued to organizations with no interest in bringing to market??? Or did I just put the national labs into the category of patent trolls?

The reader is suggesting that patents from government programs might diminish the interest of private enterprise in the area, sort of the exact opposite of the intention of the Bayh-Dole Act.

Separately, when californiastemcellreport gets to the truth of whether Yamanaka did or did not get a CIRM grant, we will probably begin to understand the truth of CIRM's sad performance in the area of intellectual property. No patent royalties to California taxpayers, BUT some benefits for other people. The "other" side of the IPBiz reader's comment pertains to what happens when patents are issued.


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