The governing board of California's new multibillion-dollar stem-cell research program meets today in Palo Alto to adopt policies in two critical and controversial areas. These are probably more important to protecting Californians' interests than who eventually gets research grants.

After months of pressure from public-interest groups and legislators, the policies to be considered finally address many of the concerns raised by the critics. But some essential gaps remain to be filled.

The first proposal addresses the question of how to manage profits from products developed with funding from the new California Institute for Regenerative Medicine.

he policies the CIRM adopts now will determine both whether the state and the voters of California will receive any return on our investment in the program, and whether any successfully developed medical treatments will be affordable.

The campaign for Proposition 71, which created the program, repeatedly promised that the program would pay for itself. Part of this repayment, voters were told, would come from a share of profits from any successful invention or discovery, which would contribute up to a billion dollars of the...