Agency lures biotechs with $20M for stem cell teams

California's stem cell agency is mapping out ambitious plans to provide $20 million to each of 10 to 12 research teams that can be in the clinic with a new therapy inside of four years. And the agency's chief expects a biotech company to be included in the teams.

Agency president Alan Trounson says that it's time to start moving stem cell work out of the lab and into human trials. And he says that this is the right time to partner up with biopharma companies that are being lured into the stem cell field.

"Pharma is moving into this space in a big way," Trounson told Bloomberg in an interview. "They're now generally interested in cell therapy. That's a big change."

California's Institute of Regenerative Medicine has spurred big joint investments in new research facilities in the state, leveraging its $3 billion in grant money in partnerships with state universities. But after the $3 billion runs out, the agency may be able to continue to operate using industry funds. And these initial stem cell teams are a step in that direction.

- read the report from Bloomberg