In my previous post I detailed how devastating it is to the embryonic stem cell industry that Geron Corporation has abruptly abandoned it.
Now only one other U.S. company, Advanced Cell Technology, is running a clinical trial using embryonic stem cells with the hope of a commercial payoff.
Private investors are avoiding embryonic stem cell research because 1) it’s controversial; 2) it’s risky – there is no guaranteed pay-off, certainly not in the short term; 3) noncontroversial adult stem cells (iPS) with the same chameleon nature as embryonic stem cells have been recently discovered; and 4) adult stem cell research and treatments are reaping phenomenal new results almost on a daily basis.
Particularly after Geron’s departure, embryonic stem cell research appears salvageable only if financed by taxpayers.
The Obama administration has already shown it is perfectly willing to invest the people’s money in commercial ventures that are not financially sound but suit his liberal ideology.
And then think Geron.
Last year under the “Qualifying Therapeutic Discovery Project” included in Obamacare, Geron was awarded five cash grants totaling $1.2 million. Three of those grants, valued at $735,000 altogether, were for embryonic stem cell research. Advanced Cell Technology was awarded four grants totaling $980,000, two for embryonic stem cell research, valued at $490,000 altogether. Both received the maximum amount allowed.
What were the qualifications? Per Geron’s own press release:
[P]rojects must show reasonable potential to result in new therapies to treat areas of unmet medical need….
In addition, preference was given to projects that showed the greatest potential to create and sustain (directly or indirectly) high quality, high-paying jobs in the United States, and advance United States competitiveness in the fields of life, biological, and medical sciences.
When Geron announced it was getting out of the embryonic stem cell business it also announced it was cutting 66 full-time positions, or 38% of its workforce.
Fiscal conservatives should join social conservatives to protest as loudly against wasting taxpayer dollars on embryonic stem cell research as they protest against wasting taxpayer dollars on the green industry.
The amount of money the Obama administration wasted on Geron may seem small, but it’s part of a huge chunk being wasted on embryonic stem cell research altogether – $434 million since Obama took office (2009 $143 million; 2010 $165 million; 2011 $126 million).
That’s almost half a billion.
[HT: Dr. David Prentice of Family Research Council]