11 Apr Californian stem-cell efforts get new rules, attract lawsuits
The leaders of California’s $3 billion bond initiative to fund stem-cell research, under pressure from advocacy groups, have voted in new rules against conflicts of interest.
Ten of the initiative’s 29 board members hold significant stock in or serve on the boards of biotech companies, the Sacramento Bee reported. They won’t have to relinquish stock or their positions, but employees of the new California Institute of Regenerative Medicine will have to give up or put in a blind trust any stock in companies that request funds under Proposition 71 or spend more than 5 percent of their research budgets on stem cells.
Some board members expressed worries that the rules, though well-intentioned, would keep scientists from fully participating in their fields.
Meanwhile, opponents of stem-cell research have sued to prevent the state from funding it. The lawsuit, filed by the Life Legal Defense Foundation in Alameda County on behalf of a taxpayer group, alleges that through Proposition 71 the state put its money in the hands of a group not under taxpayer control.
The Argus reported that the legal challenge would likely delay any grants until at least this fall.
Articles in Californian publications
- Stem cell panel OKs anti-conflict rules
Sacramento Bee (subscription)
- Court action has thrown state plans to issue bonds for research into question
- Housing developer leads California’s research effort
San Francisco Chronicle