Wednesday, April 18, 2012

New CIRM initiative helps move promising therapies into clinical trials

Our ultimate goal at CIRM, from day one, has been to get therapies to the people who need them most, the patients. That’s why our energy is focused on working with scientists in the lab and clinic, and patient advocates to move the most promising research along the development pipeline as fast as possible. This week we unveiled an important new part of that process, our Strategic Partnership Award initiative. (You can read our press release about the news here.)

This new initiative by CIRM represents a $30 million commitment to try and attract industry engagement and investment in CIRM-funded stem cell research. It's one part of a three-part initiative called the Opportunity Funds, which we blogged about when the governing board approved the programs in December.

As CIRM President Alan Trounson says in a news release:
“This initiative is a major new development in the progress towards providing new medical treatments for patients by engaging the most effective global industry partners.”
The hope is that the initiative, by making three or more awards of up to $10 million each, will help create partnerships between researchers and industry to move promising stem cell therapies into early stage clinical trials in patients.

Ingrid Caras, a Science Office at CIRM who played a major role in helping create the initiative, says the announcement reflects the progress that is being made in stem cell research:
“We believe that there are a number of promising candidate stem cell therapies in the research pipeline that are ready for clinical trials. However, trials can be expensive. This Strategic Partnership Awards initiative helps smooth out the path to clinical trials by spreading the cost between CIRM and pharmaceutical or biotech companies.”

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