Friday, May 06, 2005 | San Diego’s bid to host the state’s stem cell institute is officially dead after the panel charged with selecting a site picked San Francisco on Friday.

The committee overseeing the California Institute of Regenerative Medicine, the agency responsible for doling out $3 billion in the next decade to fund human embryonic stem cell research, chose the Bay Area city as the center’s administrative headquarters.

No research will be done at the site, but local boosters from the cities considered hailed the anticipated selection for the status it would provide the city, as well as the sway the surrounding region could have when it comes time to choose research sites.

Local representatives from the San Diego Regional Economic Development Corp. and Biocom, the region’s life sciences trade association, among others, were heavily involved in presenting San Diego’s proposal to the 29-member committee.

San Francisco was considered the frontrunner going into Friday’s meeting, having placed higher than the three other qualifying cities – San Diego, Sacramento and Emeryville – in two previous reviews. Each city was permitted to make one last pitch at Friday’s committee meeting in Fresno before a final selection was made.

San Diego offered free rent at a 17,000-square-foot office space centered in the hub of San Diego’s biotechnology district on North Torrey Pines Road.

Although San Diego will not host the center’s administrative center, the region’s life sciences industry can still capitalize on the funds set aside for stem cell research by the state’s voters last November.

“The fact is that regardless of where the administrative headquarters for the stem cell initiative resides, no one can deny the fact that San Diego is uniquely poised to remain the hub for discovery and cross-institutional collaboration,” said Marye Anne Fox, chancellor of the University of California, San Diego.

– Associated Press contributed to this story

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