Op-Ed

John Simpson
Remember the kid on the playground who threatened to pick up his marbles unless he got his way? Meet the biotech industry. Big biotech firms are telling the Proposition 71 stem-cell committee: Do it our way or we'll pick up our petri dishes and go home.

The stem-cell committee is drawing up rules for the ownership and control of discoveries made by businesses, universities and research institutions that get some of the $3 billion in public money for stem-cell research. Already biotech executives are huffing and puffing about any requirement that fair-public-benefit provisions be linked to the grants.

Their remarks at the most recent Intellectual Property Task Force meeting were little more than a blustering attempt to cow Californians into believing that needed stem-cell research won't happen unless the game is played by biotech's rules. Don't believe them.

Genentech Executive Vice President Stephen Juelsgaard said the biotech industry ``simply wouldn't engage'' if the California Institute for Regenerative Medicine (CIRM) requires companies to share the rewards of Proposition 71 stem-cell research grants. Never mind that California taxpayers are putting up $3...