Stem cell institute to foster start-ups with loans

Wanted: Biotech companies with no cash flow, facing a high risk and in need of money to back translational development efforts. California's stem cell institute has been putting out just that kind of call, looking to loan money to developers aiming to push products closer to marketing and the orbit of traditional venture backers.

Robert Klein, chairman of the California Institute for Regenerative Medicine, tells the San Diego Union-Tribune that a lending program could help them leverage a $500 million portfolio into $1.5 billion over 21 years. A task force is working out the details and no doubt plenty of biotech companies are waiting to take part.

"In the biotech industry, if you're an early-stage company and not yet at the stage of commercialization, you're always out there trying to obtain money and looking for alternative funding sources," said William Caldwell, chief executive of Advanced Cell Technology in Alameda.

- check out the report from the San Diego Union-Tribune