CIRM announced two sets of awards today that both should make major impact including its first clinical trial via Geron and $38 million for 27 basic biology studies.
First Clinical Trial. Today CIRM awarded $25 million to support Geron’s FDA-approved clinical trial for spinal cord injury. This is CIRM’s first award to a for-profit company in support of a clinical trial and represents a major milestone. The funding should help Geron accelerate the clinical trial and is wonderful news.
You can read the grant review here, which is very informative.
Interestingly, for this RFA, this one grant review (the Geron one) is all that is listed. All grant review documents from CIRM RFAs in the past included both recommended and not recommended proposals.
What is unclear is why only one proposal is listed. Did other for-profits such as Advanced Cell Technology (ACT) or iPierian, which both in theory at least should have been eligible, choose not to apply for some reason?
Or did one or more apply (which is what the grapevine is telling me), but the proposals were not funded and the grant reviews are considered confidential?
Basic Biology Gets Big Boost. Today CIRM also awarded 27 Basic Biology Grants, and in this area it was a very good day to be from Southern California. Remarkably, eight of the Basic Biology awards went to UC San Diego, while UCLA garnered six awards so together just these two institutions received more than half of all the awards. As in the past, some venerable California institutions received no awards at all, making for some cranky scientists emailing me.