California Stem Cell Crony Capitalism

Color me wondering why it took so long: The former head of the California Institute for Regenerative Medicine–once in charge of giving away billions of dollars of borrowed taxpayers’ money–has joined a company to which the CIRM gave a big grant. From the (surprising they published it–good for them!) San Francisco Chronicle story:

StemCells Inc.’s board of directors now includes the former president of the California stem cell agency that gave the company $19 million in research funding…

Trounson had led the agency since 2007. In April 2013, the agency awarded StemCells Inc. a $19 million forgivable loan to study potential stem cell therapies for Alzheimer’s disease.

StemCells’ founders include Dr. Irving Weissman of Stanford University, which is also the biggest recipient of funding money from the stem cell agency: about $280 million to date. As a board member, Trounson will receive cash and stock in StemCells, according to a Securities and Exchange Commission filing.

Trounson once lied to misled the Australian Parliament about supposed advances in embryonic stem cell research. But so what? Connections!

CIRM has been rife with conflicts of interest from the start:

Created by voters in 2004, the stem cell agency has been criticized in the past for apparent conflicts of interest. In 2012, the Sacramento Bee noted that roughly 90 percent of its grants have gone to institutions that have been linked to members of its board.

And now, crony capitalism. Kill this money sucker!

Wesley J. Smith — Wesley J. Smith is a senior fellow at the Discovery Institute’s Center on Human Exceptionalism.

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