CIRM funds $72 million to translate basic discoveries into new therapies, recruit stem cell leaders to California

Los Angeles, Calif., October 21, 2010 – The California Institute for Regenerative Medicine, the state stem cell agency created by proposition 71, today approved funding for 19 awards worth $67 million in its second round of awards designed to move good ideas out of the lab and into the clinic.

The Early Translation II Awards are the second of what CIRM expects to be a 12 to 18 month award cycle for these translational research grants. The research funded by these awards is considered critical to CIRM’s mission of translating basic discoveries into clinical cures. The funded projects are expected to either result in a candidate drug or cell therapy or make significant strides toward such a candidate, which can then be developed for submission to the FDA for clinical trial.

“This second round of Early Translational Awards will strengthen CIRM’s portfolio of future therapies,” said Alan Trounson, CIRM President. “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. These projects will enhance the potential medical options available for patients and hopefully in the near future produce cures for such debilitating handicaps and diseases.”

The awards went to one for-profit and 11 not-for-profit institutions. The for-profit company will take its award in the form of a loan. Three of the awards include international collaborators in Germany. The portion of the projects carried out by these collaborators will be funded by Federal Ministry of Education and Research (BMBF), the science ministry in Germany, which will fund up to $2 million for this round of awards.

The 29-member governing board also voted to approve the second Research Leadership Award, given to aid in recruiting Peter Coffey from the University College London to the University of California, Santa Barbara.

“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,” said Robert Klein, chair of the CIRM Governing Board. “Bringing world level scientists to California will directly accelerate the ability of California research to reach patients with breakthrough therapies for chronic disease and injury.”

This $4.8 million award over six years will fund Coffey’s groundbreaking research 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. Coffey is already part of a disease team working toward a therapy for macular degeneration led by Mark Humayun at the University of Southern California.

Early Translational II Awards

Application PI Name Institution Funding
TR2-01749 Arturo Alvarez-Buylla        University of California, San Francisco $1,752,058
TR2-01756 Michele Calos Stanford University $2,325,933
TR2-01767      Brian Cummings University of California, Irvine $1,708,549
TR2-01768 Sophie Deng University of California, Los Angeles $1,654,058
TR2-01771      David DiGiusto City of Hope National Medical Center $3,124,130
TR2-01780   Dan Gazit Cedars-Sinai Medical Center $1,927,698
TR2-01787 Roslyn (Rivkah) Isseroff University of California, Davis $4,526,900
BMBF Partner Jose Egana Technical University of Munich
TR2-01789  Catriona Jamieson University of California, San Diego $3,341,758
TR2-01791 Noriyuki Kasahara University of California, Los Angeles $3,370,607
TR2-01794 Henry Klassen University of California, Irvine $3,855,277
TR2-01814 Alysson Muotri University of California, San Diego $1,491,471
TR2-01816            Markus Muschen Children’s Hospital of Los Angeles $3,607,305
BMBF Partner Andreas Hochhaus University of Jena
TR2-01821 Bruno Peault University of California, Los Angeles $5,391,560
TR2-01829             Peter Schultz Scripps Research Institute $6,792,660
TR2-01832    Yanhong Shi Beckman Research Institute of City of Hope $1,731,750
BMBF Partner Oliver Bruestle University of Bonn
TR2-01841      Leslie Thompson University of California, Irvine $3,799,817
TR2-01844             Michael Venuti iPierian, Inc. $5,665,887
TR2-01856       Xianmin Zeng Buck Institute for Age Research $6,016,624
TR2-01857       Mark Zern University of California, Davis $5,199,767
Total $67,283,809

Research Leadership Award

Application PI Name Institution Funding
LA1-02086 Peter Coffey University of California, Santa Barbara $4,880,116

A list of all CIRM-funded institutions and a searchable list of all CIRM awards are available on our website.