Tuesday, June 10, 2008

CIRM back in the propaganda business?

In CIRM Dredging Up Old Economic Controversy, californiastemcellreport notes that CIRM is spending $49,900 (going to the Analysis Group of Palo Alto) to discuss the economic benefits of Proposition 71.

Californiastemcellreport mentions a Feb. 2007 piece in Slate (plugging Eliot Spitzer in the first paragraph!) which questioned the earlier Baker/Deal ("Analysis Group") report on the benefits of Prop. 71. One paragraph from the David Hamilton piece:

This sort of claim appears to have originated with a study produced in the run-up to the 2004 vote on California's initiative. The authors, Stanford University health economist Laurence Baker and Bruce Deal of the Analysis Group, concluded that stem-cell research would generate state revenues and health-care savings of $6.4 to $12.6 billion over the 30 years it will take to pay off the state bonds used to fund it. California's $3 billion investment would not only pay for itself and another $2.4 billion in bond interest payments, it would also turn the state a profit of at least $1 billion.

Hamilton's punchline:

At this stage of basic research, private funding is in short supply precisely because it's not clear where the payoff lies. This is where the federal government should come in. But a 2001 executive order from President Bush prevents federally funded scientists—that is, the bulk of academic biomedical researchers in the United States—from creating new embryonic stem-cell lines or even studying new lines developed elsewhere. So, the states are right to ante up where the federal government has failed to. They just shouldn't expect to do well while they're doing good.

Note that IPBiz had discussed the Gilbert critique of Baker/Deal in January 2007: Within that Jan. 2007 post is the text:

Separately, LBE had written in 88 JPTOS 239 back in March 2006:

States wishing to fund research in the area of embyronic cell
transfer, or in any area of cutting-edge research, will be well advised to note the
difficulty in assessing the validity of work at early stages. Further, states
should also note that the probability of securing money from patent royalties from
patents on early stage work is not high
. Further, in the area of work regulated
by the FDA, the broad scope of protection from patent infringement offered by
35 USC 271(e)(1) may render early patents in a developing area of low economic

which text anticipates Hamilton's conclusions.

See also

Berkeley's Gilbert challenges Baker's forecast of large Proposition 71 patent royalties

To summarize, CIRM has gone to the same well to hire the "Analysis Group," whose earlier
optimistic forecasts of economic benefit to California taxpayers have been roundly criticized.
Separately, for advice on intellectual property, CIRM contracted a person who is NOT a registered
patent attorney. Are California taxpayers being shafted by CIRM? You bet.

One IPBiz reader noted:

the issue of CIRM paying a group to "explain" CIRM advantages
(presumably, this second time around), raises an interesting point.

A) Federal agencies themselves cannot "lobby" Congress to get more
$$. The National Labs get whatever $$ DOE receives from the Fed budget
Congress passes.

B) By contrast, a private firm (ie, [X]) CAN lobby that
more $$ be given to National Labs. (I know of at least one time [X] did

this, and [X] earned "good will" from the labs. Never mind we also get
separately from those same labs.)

So per CIRM:
A) it is a state, not federal agency. Is that a significant
B) Is this $$ from CIRM to Analysis Group for information pertinent
"lobbying", or just "public information"? Or is this $$ a quid pro


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