Stem Cell Therapy for the Economy

We are rolling out our 2011 Annual Report stories throughout March. The full report will be posted online and available for download later this month. Today we are introducing a story about the economic benefits of funding stem cell research in the state: Stem Cell Therapy for the Economy.

CIRM’s primary mission is to develop new stem cell-based therapies for disease. But the process of driving those new therapies has other benefits to the state—economic ones.

Scientists and industry have moved to California due in part to hopes of receiving funding from CIRM, and also to support the growing stem cell research industry. With these companies and new labs come jobs, tax revenue and additional non-CIRM grant money.

A few years ago CIRM commissioned a report to find out how many jobs and associated tax revenues CIRM had created for the state. As we say in our annual report story:

Counting only the first $1.1 billion in funding, by 2014 CIRM’s initiatives are expected to have brought in $200 million in tax revenue to the state and created 25,000 job years—that’s economist speak for employing 25,000 people for a year, or 5,000 people for five years. Those jobs each have ripple effects for the state when employed people pay taxes and buy groceries, electronics and homes.

Our story specifically describes research by Robert Wechsler-Reya and Peter Coffey, who set up labs in California to study childhood brain tumors and blindness, respectively.

Wechsler-Reya, who is now director of the Tumor Development program at the Sanford-Burnham Medical Research Institute in La Jolla, moved into the new Sanford Consortium building partially funded by CIRM (read more about the CIRM-funded facilities here). In our story he said that facility and the collaborations it encourages was one reason to move to California from Duke University:

“One of the amazing things about this place is that there are a lot of interactions not only among academic institutions, but also between academia and industry. It is the kind of thing that I could not have done back east.”

Read our story online for more about Wechsler-Reya, Coffey, and The Jackson Laboratory West, which greatly scaled up after receiving a CIRM award in 2009. The most important aspect of these grantees’ work is their progress toward therapies. But it’s good to know that the state’s growing stem cell industry is good for the economy as well as eventually being good for patients.

This is the fifth annual report story we’ve posted. Here are the others:

The full report will be available for download later this month.


4 thoughts on “Stem Cell Therapy for the Economy

  1. Could you please disclose why you would pay Pete Coffey 4 Million dollar to do research which has already been completed and FDA approved for Human Testing by Robert Lanza of Advanced Cell Technologies? It's basically the same science just with and without the patch. Why waste money duplicating the research instead of licensing the technology?

  2. It's all about building nests..their own.

    A “Shocking Disproportion” in Funding of Young and Older Scientists

    That young biomedical investigators are getting a raw deal in the competition for funding against older, more established, competitors is a widely held suspicion these days (and not only among young investigators.) It especially rankles because history suggests that young scientists, not well-connected graybeards, are the ones likeliest to do transformative new science.

    I had no idea just how large the the discrepancy is until Stephen Apfelroth of Albert Einstein College of Medicine told me about some calculations he has done based on information he received from the National Institutes of Health (NIH).

  3. Maybe research is serving the wrong master, too?

    Goldman Sach's Greg Smith Could Just Have Easily Been Telling the Truth About Health Insurers

    In the many executive-level sessions I participated in over the years — including with peers from other companies at trade association meetings — I cannot recall one time in which we talked for a single minute about designing health benefit plans that truly were in the best interest of consumers. We talked instead about making sure policyholders had sufficient “skin in the game” to ensure “profitable growth.”

    Smith soured on common practices at Goldman like persuading clients to invest in mortgage backed securities without mentioning to those clients that the company had already bet against those very same securities. By doing this, Goldman was guaranteeing itself a profit, even as some of its clients were losing a fortune and many of the rest of us were about to lose our homes and our jobs.

    Similarly, I soured on common practices in the health insurance industry like refusing to sell coverage to children and others with “pre-existing conditions,” cancelling peoples' coverage when they got sick and spending less and less every year of policyholders' premiums on their medical care because of pressure from Wall Street analysts and investors.

    As I wrote in Deadly Spin, “when your top priority is to 'enhance shareholder value'… you are motivated more by the obligation to meet Wall Street's relentless profit expectations than by the obligations to meet the medical needs of your policyholders.”

    People would donate to cirm hand over fist if they saw results…you guys blew the gern trials…cirm should have purchased the program from gern and seen it through.

  4. Maybe people are getting tired of this??

    The Nonprofit 1 Percent

    At the other end of the pay scale at the Guild, it's a different story. In 2008, the Guild was paying its CEO, Alan Morse, J.D., Ph.D., a total compensation package of $843,502. Then came 2009, the first full year after the financial crash, which compromised the Guild's revenue streams.

    Instead of going down that year, however, Morse's compensation went up some 82 percent, topping $1.5 million.

    Like many nonprofits, the Guild's financial model is largely based upon receiving government funds in exchange for executing government contracts (in this case, getting Medicaid in order to facilitate services for the blind).
    Or more simply—as several people who have worked there have put it—it's a “Medicaid cash cow.”
    In a September 2011 article, the New York Daily News reported that “Michael Henderson, who once oversaw the guild's procurement, claimed he was fired in 2009 after complaining about irregularities. Henderson said the guild spent $100,000 on imported furniture for Morse's part-time White Plains office and he claimed another officer pocketed $100,000 from the sale of guild property.”

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