blog Time Hath Found Us: The Lack of Private Investment in Embryonic Stem Cell Research

June 12, 2005

The Lack of Private Investment in Embryonic Stem Cell Research

"Follow the money." It is an old saying but, in the case of the funding of embryonic stem cell research, it is apt. Private investors have, so far, avoided investing in embryonic stem cell research. Why is this? Isn't the venture capital community known for recognizing high payoff opportunities even in risky early stage companies? After all, if the hype of embryonic stem cells can deliver a small fraction of what is claimed, there are untold billions of dollars to be made.

The answer is, of course, that private sector investment firms are held accountable for where they put their clients' funds. To date, even with all of the miraculous claims surrounding the promise of embryonic stem cells, there is not much hope of investments actually reaping even modest returns. The real return is in adult and umbilical cord blood stem cells.

There is still money to be made in embryonic stem cells. It can be made by pulling political strings and getting rich Uncle Sam to pay the bills. Lobbying organizations such as the Coalition for the Advancement of Medical Research have turned up the heat on legislators to fund their new "scientific entitlement" program.

Ed Feulner at the Washington Times has written an excellent piece entitled "Tough Cell" where he examines the government's role in funding embryonic stem cell research.

In real life, money follows results. When an inventor creates a useful product, investors find him, market the product and sell it. There's no need for the federal government to get involved.

In fact, federal involvement usually means an approach has failed. Farmers demand subsidies, for example, when they can no longer profitably sell their crops. And some manufacturers, faced with less expensive products from overseas, demand protective tariffs.

This principle helps illuminate the ongoing debate over federal funding for embryonic stem cells to treat and cure disease...

Following the money, or lack thereof, will reveal much.

Cross posted from Truth And Action.