Biotech Firms Begin Plans to Collect Money for Stem Cell Research

One week after proposition 71 was approved, biotech firms and research universities begin to discuss plans on how to allocate the fund for the research project.

Ralph Snodgrass, president of VistaGen Therapeutics Inc., a small stem cell research company, indicates that the research fund will help his company to grow both economically and scientifically.

"We expect this bill to have a significant (impact) on our ability to grow the organization, both in infrastructure and scientific staff," he said.

Meanwhile, officials at the University of California at San Francisco are initiating plans to use research funds to enrich the university’s programs and facilities including the construction of a $65 million stem cell laboratory.

California has become the gold mine for biotech firms as many research institutions are considering relocating to the Golden State to receive additional funds for stem cell research projects.

According to the passage of Proposition 71, California will use $3 billion from tax-free state bonds in a period of 10 year to fund for the project. Starting in 2005, California’s $300 million in municipal bonds will be used each year, giving a projection of about $6 billion for taxpayers to payback over 30 years.

Many scientists claim embryonic stem cells, derived from excess embryos created during in-vitro fertilization, have the potential to cure spinal cord injuries, diabetes, Parkinson's and many other diseases. Proposition 71 was proposed to generate state funding for the embryonic stem cell research project.

Opponents told Reuters that the bonds could lead to a further decline in California's credit rating, higher taxes, and a depletion of funds for other state services to pay off the massive debts. In addition to that, they also claim the promise of stem cells is far off in the future, and the research requires destruction of human life.