Where the Money’s Gone
According to a spot-check of CIRM’s funding database, Stanford University has received the most funding, at $192.5 million in 50 awards. The three next highest institutions were all schools from the University of California: UC Los Angeles won $148.8 million in 50 awards; UC San Francisco, $114.8 million through 38 awards; and UC San Diego racked up nearly $104.6 million in 44 awards. Rounding out the top-five winners was University of Southern California, with just over $72 million in 20 awards.
Research institutes, by comparison, haven’t fared as well. Scripps Research Institute won $40.9 million in 16 awards, followed by Buck Institute for Research on Aging with $33 million in six awards. More than half of Buck Institute’s money ($20 million) went toward building a CIRM Center of Excellence, set to be fully operational this year. Sanford-Burnham Medical Research Institute captured nearly $31.2 million in 19 awards, followed by Salk Institute for Biological Studies ($28.3 million; 14 awards) and J. William Gladstone ($24.3 million; 14 awards).
Salk, Sanford-Burnham, and Scripps joined with UC San Diego in 2006 to form a stem cell research group; a fifth institute, La Jolla Institute for Allergy & Immunology, joined last year. Sanford Consortium for Regenerative Medicine won a single $43 million grant toward its $127 million “Collaboratory,” which opened November 29.
The consortium and Buck were two of 12 institutions that in 2008 benefited from a key funding initiative, in which CIRM awarded $271 million toward construction of stem cell research facilities totaling 546,000 square feet. All are either completed or nearing completion. According to the agency, the 12 institutions in turn committed more than $800 million from charitable donations and their internal reserves.
Businesses have won only a small share of CIRM’s funding to date; a total $48.3 million was won by 12 companies, according to the database. A 13th company, Geron, repaid with interest the $6.42 million it received from a $25 million loan awarded last May, after the company announced in November that it was terminating its stem cell development programs and reducing its workforce by 38%. Geron, which had the most advanced stem cell program, won the loan toward a Phase III trial of a cellular therapy derived from hESCs and later won a $106,239 planning grant for preclinical development and first-in-human testing in advanced heart failure.