Making connections: For-Profit Companies Exhibiting at the CIRM Grantee Meeting

Cynthia Schaffer supports CIRM’s Business Development and Industry Engagement and Commercialization activities. 

CIRM is excited about engaging with the For-Profit sector of cell-therapy companies during our upcoming Annual Grantee Meeting March 6-8th. In 2011, we had a pilot program in which a few vendors from For-Profit support/tool companies exhibited at the CIRM Grantee Meeting in order to engage our grantees and discuss their research needs. CIRM holds a meeting with all of its grantees (500 plus attendees) once every 18 months or so. The purpose of meeting is to bring together investigators funded by CIRM, to highlight their research, and encourage scientific exchange and collaboration.

In 2012, we had a pilot program involving For-Profit companies attending our Bridges Grantee Meeting. The CIRM Bridges Grants fund comprehensive lecture and laboratory courses and facilitate internship placement efforts in stem cell research for undergraduate and master’s level students. The pilot program involved holding a career fair at the Bridges Grantee Meeting and inviting a handful of companies to attend in order to educate the students on the types of career opportunities available within industry (comparable to informational interviews on a group basis).

Our 2013 CIRM Grantee Meeting is fast approaching and we have extended the exhibit pilot program to include a selection of both large and small vendors. We look forward to their participation and anticipate exploring the opportunity for a Pre-Competitive Consortium to develop technology which will assist in overcoming key hurdles in advancing stem cell therapies.

How do these types of opportunities arise? In many ways. CIRM actively welcomes participation from For-Profit companies. For example, we encourage you to become known to us via your inclusion in the Univercell Market list of companies in California.

Sometimes we ask companies for help with our education outreach efforts – including speaking at our webinars and Roundtables. Often we meet with companies at industry events such as the Stem Cell Meeting on the Mesa- Investor & Partnering Forum sponsored by the Alliance for Regenerative Medicine.

In order to expand our industry outreach efforts, CIRM has hired Neil Littman as the Business Development Officer, to work with Elona Baum, VP of Business Development. Elona and Neil are seeking to secure follow-on funding and co-funding for existing CIRM programs as well as identify new funding opportunities within the For Profit sector. Elona recently presented an Industry Engagement and Commercialization Plan to CIRM’s Board.

Your ideas for industry engagement are important to us. Please feel free to contact me at Please also consider attending the CIRM Public Meeting on March 7 and helping with Stem Cell Awareness Day by hosting or attending events in your area.


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