California’s stem cell institute, a voter-created, bond-financed entity, announced today the disbursement of $271 million in grants to build a dozen new research institutes.

The San Diego Consortium for Regenerative Medicine will receive the second-largest grant, totaling $43 million, according to a press release from the California Institute for Regenerative Medicine. The grant will be accompanied by about $72 million in charitable donations and the institution’s reserves, totaling about $115 million.

A breakdown of the cost to build the new center in San Diego estimated $115 million for construction and $40 million for faculty recruitment and other costs.

My former colleague Vlad Kogan stopped in a year ago for a chat with Larry Goldstein, a lead stem cell researcher at UCSD who played a role in Proposition 71 in 2004, the ballot initiative that created the CIRM.

The CIRM announcement received national attention today. For more, click here for the Los Angeles Times’ take and here for the New York Times’.

Some interesting context, from the LA Times:

New labs are needed to house the growing number of researchers funded by 2004’s Proposition 71, officials at the California Institute for Regenerative Medicine say, even though one of the main pressures on lab space is likely to be lifted after the November election.

All three presidential candidates, all senators — Republican John McCain (R-Ariz.) and Democrats Hillary Rodham Clinton (D-N.Y.) and Barack Obama (D-Ill.) — support human embryonic stem cell research and would be expected to lift restrictions that have forced many scientists to set up dual labs.

Concerned about the destruction of embryos, President Bush in August 2001 limited federal funding for human embryonic stem cell research to stem cell lines that had been developed up to that point. Scientists wanting to study new lines had to find other funding and set up separate labs lest they inadvertently use a pen or a petri dish bought with federal money.


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