Tuesday, May 10, 2005

Stem cell hub good news for Solano

Article Launched: 05/10/2005 09:01:23 AM

Stem cell hub good news for Solano

By Reporter Staff

It is good news locally that the state's first stem cell research headquarters will be in San Francisco, according to Solano County's top economic promoter.

San Francisco was chosen Friday over Sacramento and San Diego by the California Institute for Regenerative Medicine as the site for a stem cell research center created by Proposition 71 in the November 2004 election. Voters agreed to fund it with up to $3 billion in bonds during the next 10 years.

Mike Ammann, president of Solano Economic Development Corporation, said any location in Northern California will benefit Solano County in the short and long run.

"The location of the source of $3 billion in research and development funding turns into 3 billion reasons to locate in Northern California," Ammann said.

What it means to the region of Solano County is that Northern California becomes the recognized "stem cell central for the world," he said. "Everyone - including bright students, faculty, scientists, researchers and companies - that wants to commercialize stem cell technology will want to come here. Companies will be created and expand as the commercialization process unfolds over the next 10 years."

The center also will spin off dollars into Solano County's economy through construction job payrolls and business services, Ammann said.

He said the first economic impacts will be training grants to educate students and researchers to handle stem cell research, followed by grants for university buildings, since the research cannot occur in federally funded facilities.

"Hopefully, the University of California, Davis will be first in line along with other Bay Area universities to construct facilities," he said. "With facilities and trained researchers, the grant dollars will flow and be used to attract the brightest minds to discover new cures that can be commercialized in Northern California."

Meanwhile, Solano EDC quietly is bringing together the Life Sciences Corridor that runs from San Francisco to Sacramento.

"Solano County is the biosciences manufacturing cluster for Northern California and links the regional resources," he said. "When you think about the Northern California Life Science resources you find that Solano County is right in the heart and provides the best manufacturing site."

In the long term, Solano County's location will be a natural selection for stem cell companies just as it is today for Genentech, Alza, Chiron, BioRad and Cardinal Medical, he said.

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