Calif. gives $150M to stem cell research

In the wake of President Bush's stem cell funding veto, Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger (R) has authorized a $150 million loan to the California Institute for Regenerative Medicine, an agency that aims to spend $3 billion on stem cell development in the next decade. In 2004 Californians passed Proposition 71, a research funding bill that positioned the state to become a leader in the stem cell research. But despite popular support for the Institute, funding has yet to take off because of legal objections by those who oppose stem cell research and the $3 billion price tag it carries. In April a state judge handed the Institute its first legal victory, but more than a year of litigation is expected before the California Supreme Court delivers its final word.

"The governor felt that there was a risk that the industry and movement would be set back by the veto, and he wants California to be a leader in industry," Adam Mendelsohn, Schwarzenegger's communications director, told the San Francisco Chronicle. The loan, combined with another $50 million of funding from private foundations, will expand the Institute's budget to $200 million this year. The agency hopes to push its budget to $300 million in coming years.

- read this article from the San Francisco Chronicle
- see this FierceBiotech special report in which California ranked first in the top five regions targeting biotech business