Board approved 19 awards worth $67 million and $4.8 million to bring Dr. Coffey from London to California.

The California Institute for Regenerative Medicine (CIRM) approved funding for 19 awards worth $67 million under the Early Translation II Awards program. The 29-member governing board also voted to approve the second Research Leadership Award of $4.8 million, given to aid in recruiting Peter Coffey, D.Phil., from the University College London to the University of California, Santa Barbara.

The Early Translation II Awards are the second of what CIRM expects to be a 12- to 18-month award cycle for translational research grants. The funded projects are expected to either result in a candidate drug or cell therapy or make significant strides toward such a candidate.

“We are looking for ways to complement our leading edge of stem cell-based treatments for patients, and these projects will load our frontline portfolio with promising studies on autism, muscular dystrophy, Canavan disease, and liver disease,” says Alan Trounson, CIRM president.

The awards went to one for-profit and 11 not-for-profit institutions. The for-profit company iPierian will take its award in the form of a loan. Three of the awards include collaborators in Germany. The portion of the projects carried out by these collaborators will be supported by the Federal Ministry of Education and Research, the science financing agency in Germany, which will fund up to $15 million for this round of awards.

The $4.8 million grant under the Research Leadership Award program will be spread over six years and will back Dr. Coffey’s research on maturing embryonic stem cells into retinal pigment epithelial cells to treat macular degeneration and other forms of vision loss such as diabetic retinopathy and retinitis pigmentosa. Dr. Coffey is part of a team working toward a therapy for macular degeneration led by Mark Humayun, M.D., Ph.D., at the University of Southern California.

“Recruiting internationally renowned stem cell experts such as Dr. Coffey builds a critical mass of stem cell leadership in California to drive the creation of innovative therapies for patients suffering from chronic disease or injury,” notes Robert Klein, chair of the CIRM governing board.

Below are details for the Early Translational II Awards:

  • Arturo Alvarez-Buylla, University of California, San Francisco: $1,752,058
  • Michele Calos, Stanford University: $2,325,933
  • Brian Cummings, University of California, Irvine: $1,708,549
  • David DiGiusto, City of Hope National Medical Center: $3,124,130
  • Dan Gazit, Cedars-Sinai Medical Center: $1,927,698
  • Roslyn (Rivkah) Isseroff, University of California, Davis, and Jose Egana, Technical University of Munich: $4,526,900
  • Catriona Jamieson, University of California, San Diego: $3,341,758
  • Noriyuki Kasahara, University of California, Los Angeles: $3,370,607
  • Henry Klassen, University of California, Irvine: $3,855,277
  • Alysson Muotri, University of California, San Diego: $1,491,471
  • Markus Muschen, Children’s Hospital of Los Angeles, and Andreas Hochhaus, University of Jena: $3,607,305
  • Bruno Peault, University of California, Los Angeles: $5,391,560
  • Peter Schultz, Scripps Research Institute: $6,792,660
  • Yanhong Shi, Beckman Research Institute of City of Hope, and Oliver Bruestle, University of Bonn: $1,731,750
  • Leslie Thompson, University of California, Irvine: $3,799,817
  • Michael Venuti, iPierian: $5,665,887
  • Xianmin Zeng, Buck Institute for Age Research: $6,016,624
  • Mark Zern, University of California, Davis: $5,199,767
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