Funding stem cell research

Helen Palmer Nov 8, 2006
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Funding stem cell research

Helen Palmer Nov 8, 2006
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SCOTT JAGOW: In Missouri, voters decided stem cell research should be protected. That includes the use of human embryos. The vote was very close. This debate will go on, especially since more money is pouring into stem cell research. Helen Palmer reports from our Health Desk at WGBH.


HELEN PALMER: The federal government continues to restrict funding for embryonic stem cell research, but there is a growing pot of money coming from other sources.

China’s invested nearly $250 million. The UK over $190 million.

And some half dozen US states are putting cash into stem cell research. Maryland, Illinois and New Jersey have each committed $15 million. The big spender is California. It’s investing $300 million a year for the next 10 years.

But so far the biotech industry’s investment is modest, says William Caldwell, the CEO of Advanced Cell Technologies.

WILLIAM CALDWELL: It’s less than $100 million. Because of the restrictions the venture capitalists have not moved in.

Caldwell thinks venture capitalists will continue to avoid the whole area unless the political restrictions on stem cells are eased.

Meantime the only people yet to actually make money are the owners of the stem cell patents. They charge up to $400,000 for a license.

In Boston, I’m Helen Palmer for Marketplace.

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