Health

Calif. stem cell agency approves 5-year strategic plan

Close up of an injection of embryonic stem cells in a mouse to set a genetically modified line.
Close up of an injection of embryonic stem cells in a mouse to set a genetically modified line.
ANNE-CHRISTINE POUJOULAT/AFP/Getty Images

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The governing board of California's stem cell agency Thursday approved a five-year strategic plan that commits it to a rapid escalation of its development of potential stem cell therapies.

The board of the  California Institute for Regenerative Medicine unanimously approved the plan at a meeting in Los Angeles. The strategy calls for funding 50 new clinical trials by 2020 - a sharp increase over the 15 the Institute has funded since its founding a decade ago.

The board signed on to hiring experts skilled at moving stem cell research into human trials and to working with the U.S. Food and Drug Administration to ease regulatory rules that the agency considers burdensome, according to Institute President C. Randall Mills.

As part of its new strategy, the agency will offer a $75 million grant to a private firm willing to invest $75 million of its own money to create a stem cell company jointly run with the Institute. Mills says that investor would then have its pick of some of the Institute's most promising research.

The Institute was launched in 2005, after California voters approved a $3 billion bond measure to create it. 

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