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Consortium FAQ

How does Sanford Consortium for Regenerative Medicine operate?

Sanford Consortium for Regenerative Medicine is a California non-profit corporation and a 501(c)(3) exempt organization.
It operates as a “collaboratory” that brings together under one roof  scientists from five world-class research institutions – the La Jolla Institute for Allergy and Immunology, the Salk Institute for Biological Studies, Sanford Burnham Prebys Medical Discovery Institute, Scripps Research, and the University of California, San Diego. These stem cell scientists are working side-by-side, conducting multi-disciplinary, basic research that is envisioned to translate discoveries into clinical cures.

How will this facility benefit San Diego?

Sanford Consortium for Regenerative Medicine strengthens San Diego’s leadership position in the global life sciences
industry. Each of the five institutions has research strengths that are being synergistically combined to translate research into clinical cures and therapies for debilitating diseases and disorders. In addition, Sanford Consortium for Regenerative Medicine provides training opportunities and resources for young scientists.  Finally, Sanford Consortium for Regenerative Medicine improves the state and local economy as more grant and philanthropic dollars flow into the region, and businesses expand as discoveries are translated into marketable pharmaceuticals, therapies, and cures.

Who are the key researchers? Do any of these researchers stand to profit from this project?

Scores of researchers from the partner institutions are involved in this work, including Dr. Evan Snyder (Sanford-Burnham Biomedical Institute), Dr. Fred “Rusty” Gage (the Salk Institute for Biological Studies), Dr. Martin Friedlander (Scripps Research), Dr. Larry Goldstein (UC San Diego), and Dr. Anjana Rao (the La Jolla Institute for Allergy and Immunology). As with any research, inventors of new techniques or therapies do stand to gain financially from their inventions. However, the partner institutions all have well-defined and transparent technology transfer and conflict of interest procedures in place. The disclosure and management of all inventions is in accord with patent law and the policies and procedures of the scientists’ employing institutions.

Given that the institutions routinely collaborate, why did this special consortium arrangement advance?

Prior to the opening of Sanford Consortium for Regenerative Medicine facility, collaborative efforts among stem cell scientists in San Diego were constrained due to the fact that there was no identified space for researchers to interact in a daily fashion. The consortium facility allows stem cell scientists to exchange ideas, equipment and expertise. Additionally, this formal collaboration is enhancing the ability of researchers to attract extramural funding from governmental agencies and foundations that might not otherwise be obtained.

When was Sanford Consortium for Regenerative Medicine launched?

Sanford Consortium for Regenerative Medicine was launched on March 17, 2006, when the chief executives of its original
four collaborating organizations – the Burnham Biomedical Research Institute, the Salk Institute for Biological Studies, Scripps Research, and UC San Diego – signed a formal agreement to establish an independent, non-profit consortium dedicated to stem cell research. La Jolla Institute for Allergy & Immunology joined as the fifth organization on October 27, 2011.

How much did the collaboratory building cost, and how was it funded?

The total cost to construct the consortium building was $106,572,300 and an additional $21,028,500 was expended to acquire equipment. Development of the project began in 2007; planning and construction of the facility was led by a partnership between Lankford & Associates and Phelps Development. In May 2008, the consortium, known then as the San Diego Consortium for Regenerative Medicine, received a $43 million grant from the California Institute for Regenerative Medicine (CIRM), the state agency established by the people of California in 2004 through approval of Proposition 71, which authorized the disbursement $3 billion in funding to advance stem cell research. In September 2008, the project received a $30 million donation from philanthropist T. Denny Sanford of South Dakota. In recognition of his generous gift, the collaboratory was renamed the Sanford Consortium for Regenerative Medicine.

Can any of the funding be used to conduct research on human reproductive cloning?

No. Such research is specifically prohibited under Proposition 71.

How large is the building and the site of the “Collaboratory,” and how was the land obtained?

Sanford Consortium for Regenerative Medicine is a 136,700 square-foot
building located on a 7.5-acre site of UC San Diego land that is proximal to all five participating institutions. The University of California (UC) granted the Consortium a 52-year ground lease at an annual lease of $1 per year. Upon termination of the ground lease, title to the facility will pass unencumbered to UC.