The Niche

How new California bond funds might flow to CIRM

Several sources of new bond funds might be coming into the California Institute for Regenerative Medicine (CIRM), but CIRM’s Don Gibbons emphasizes that none of them are yet “done deals.”

The first funds are expected to be allocated from $6.5 billion in tax-exempt bond sales that occurred through the state two weeks ago, as reported by the San Francisco Chronicle.

The state’s investment board is meeting on April 15th to decide how those funds will be distributed, and CIRM hopes some of those funds will be used to pay off some prior debt and to award $43 million pending for one of CIRM’s facilities grants, says Gibbons.

The state is scheduled to begin selling more bonds, this time taxable bonds, on April 20th, and CIRM hopes to use funds from those sales to cover new research and educational grants. But neither the amount to be sold nor its allocation has been determined yet, says Gibbons. “We’re not going to presuppose how much we’ll get.”

And CIRM is also moving ahead with plans to issue its own private bonds, says Gibbons. Under current law, any CIRM-funded projects that yield products will need to pay some portion of revenues back to the state. That requirement means that the bonds issued will have to be taxable. Such bonds, he says, might be easier to place privately than publicly.

As previously described in the Great Beyond, the state has authorized the sale of $400 million in private bonds by CIRM, and CIRM’s Board has met to discuss funding priorities, based on expectations that $100 million bonds would be sold. For example, it decided to delay funding of $40.6 million in grants awarded in January destined for graduate students, postdoctoral and clinical fellows already working in stem cell research labs.

Gibbons acknowledged the possibility that some programs might need to be scaled back, but said that CIRM was not obsessing over the bond sales. “The feeling here is that the money will come through for us when we need it. That someone will find a way.”

California’s plans to sell taxable bonds are described in The Bond Buyer . And the Los Angeles Times. I found both articles through the California Stem Cell Report, which has several posts on April 6 and 7 discussing how these funds might be applied to the California Institute of Regenerative Medicine.

See also a previous post on CIRM finances and private bond sales.


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