Funding is one of the main hurdles for regenerative medicine/ cell therapy translation into the clinic. It was suggested in few conferences that government agencies should recognize the importance of regenerative medicine and allocate significant funding. In many countries, the government is a major fund source for stem cell/ regenerative medicine translation. One of the best examples – South Korea.
In US 2 major government agencies – NIH and CIRM – fund pretty much all academic translational stem cell research and regenerative medicine development. This week, during World Stem Cell Summit, Joshua Hunsberger of the NIH Center for Regenerative Medicine (CRM), gave a snapshot on type of stem cell research, funded by NIH in 2011. It was the following:
- human embryonic – 9%
- human non-embryonic – 30%
- non-human embryonic – 13%
- non-human non-embryonic – 47%
- development of CRM – 1%
As you can see, in 2011 NIH funded mostly non-embryonic stem cell research (77%). It would be interesting to look at dynamic trends for the last couple of decades. Unfortunately, we don’t have these data. You can also see how much NIH spend on stem cell research (~ $1.3B). NIH is planning to increase investment in newly created CRM (> $50M in the next 5 years), therefore facilitating clinical translation.
The director of NIH CRM Mahendra Rao, reported the following data this year:
Rao: US government infusion of cash in stem cell translation estimated$800-900M per year #IBC_CT2012
— Alexey Bersenev (@cells_nnm) September 11, 2012
Let’s move to CIRM and look at funding trends in California. The general research funding you can see on this graph:
But if we look at therapeutic applications, which solely represent translation, we can see the following:
As you can see, on therapeutic scene, CIRM funding for embryonic and adult stem cells are equal. According the recent report, historical data for CIRM funds look like this:
(Source: Charlotte Lozier Institute)
As we can see, from 2007 to 2012 there was a great shift from funding embryonic stem cells to adult.
Do government agencies fund industry? The answer is YES!
Recently CIRM announced $30 million to a Strategic Partnership Awards to engage the industry in stem cell research and translation. StemCells Inc was awarded $20M grant by CIRM. NIH also funds cell therapy industry. For example, NeoStem has received $1.2M grant and DiaKine Therapeutics has received $1.8M from the agency this year.
… we have now tracked over $1 billion having been brought in by companies in the cell therapy and cell-based regenerative medicine space this year to-date.
It will be interesting to look at industry data for type of cells, source of funding (government, private, VC…) and historical trends. If you have this kind of information, please share!