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The California Institute for Regenerative Medicine is about to give $7.9 million to UC Davis, already the recipient of $131 million from CIRM, which David Jensen of the California Stem Cell Report describes as an “Oakland-based stem cell agency.” Near the end of his report, he helpfully notes CIRM was created by the 2004 Proposition 71 “which also provided $3 billion in state bond funding.” He fails to mention that CIRM promoters promised life-saving therapies for Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s and other diseases, and a steady flow of royalties to the state treasury. That was 13 years ago, but as Jensen notes, “CIRM has yet to finance a therapy that is available for widespread use.”
In other words, a ballpark figure for the number of cures and therapies is zero. On the other hand, CIRM worked well as a sinecure for politicians such as former state senator and Democratic Party boss Art Torres. After hiring the non-scientist, CIRM hired immediately tripled his salary. CIRM paid president C. Randal Mills a salary of $573,000, higher than the President of the United States and more than three times the $173,987 salary of governor Jerry Brown.
CIRM also excels as the California Institute for the Redistribution of Money. Taxpayers should note that CIRM handed 90 percent of its grants to institutions with links to past or present board members. This largesse produced no cure or therapy and no stream of royalties. As Jensen notes “CIRM is expected to run out of cash for new awards in mid-2020.” CIRM bosses now want another $5 billion. A ballpark figure for what they should get is zero, same as the number of promised cures. Taxpayers won’t hear it from David Jensen or Art Torres but CIRM is a $3 billion bust. The best move would be to shut it down completely and let private citizens invest their own money in medical research as they see fit.