The California Institute of Regenerative Medicine recently announced several grants to fund clinical stage research. Importantly, CIRM has many different requirements than those offered under the Bayh-Dole Act. The Press Release states:
South San Francisco, CA – The California
Institute for Regenerative Medicine (CIRM), the world’s largest institution
dedicated to regenerative medicine, today awarded $50.1 million to fund
clinical-stage research projects aimed at advancing stem cell and gene therapy
treatments for a variety conditions ranging from neurodegenerative diseases and
blood cancers to HIV/AIDS.
The awards will support six projects in the Agency’s clinical
program which provides funding for eligible stem cell and gene
therapy-based projects through any stage of clinical trial activity.
The awards include: [Aspera Biomedicines, AcuraStem, Regenerative
Path Technologies and the City of Hope].
Among the awards is a $12.4 million grant to support
Regenerative Patch Technologies LLC in a Phase 2b clinical trial to evaluate
the safety and efficacy of a retinal pigmented epithelial (RPE) implant. The
implant will be evaluated in patients with geographic atrophy, a late-stage
form of age-related macular degeneration (AMD), a common condition that can
lead to vision loss in older adults.
The RPE is an important cell layer that supports the retina
and plays a critical role in maintaining vision. In geographic atrophy, RPE
cells break down over time, leading to impaired vision and a loss of
The stem cell-based implant aims to promote the survival and
function of the retina, protecting the eye from disease progression and
potentially improving vision.
“This award supplies critical funding to support a Phase 2b
clinical trial to achieve our goal of improving vision in patients with
geographic atrophy”, said Jane Lebkowski, PhD, President of Regenerative Patch
Technologies. “We want to thank CIRM for their support of this program.”
Geographic atrophy affects more than 8 million people
worldwide and an estimated 1 million people in the United States. There are
currently no approved therapies that are effective in improving vision in
patients with geographic atrophy.
“CIRM is proud to continue to fund this groundbreaking stem
cell therapy that has the potential to improve outcomes for the millions of
people suffering from geographic atrophy,” said Maria T. Millan, M.D.,
President and CEO of CIRM. “This investment is follow-on funding to CIRM’s
previous support to develop this therapy. It reflects our commitment to
advancing cutting-edge science and underscores our dedication to addressing the
unmet medical needs of those affected by degenerative diseases.”
This month’s clinical awards include two preclinical projects
and four clinical-stage projects. That brings the number of CIRM-funded
clinical trials to 95. For more information on CIRM’s clinical stage program,
please visit our Funding