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Invitrogen Unveils Philanthropic Arm to Increase Awareness of Life Sciences

Invitrogen Corp., the Carlsbad-based provider of tools and technologies for the life sciences industry, launched its first nonprofit philanthropic organization last week aimed at increasing awareness of the life sciences among academics, professionals and the public.

Invitrogen pledged $1 million to support the effort, called the Invitrogen Foundation, and said it planned to provide more money in the future.

Lisa Peterson, who leads the new foundation, said it would encourage scientific literacy in the form of museum exhibits, community events and lecture programs.

It will award grants to support high school education in the life sciences, professional development for high school and community college instructors, and programs with a broad scope that reach students and educators from a variety of geographic locations.

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“Invitrogen has been an active partner in the San Diego community and in many of the places we do business with,” Peterson said. “The reason behind our decision to start a foundation is to formalize the work we’ve been doing in the community.”

She said the foundation will also offer opportunities to others, including international applicants.

According to the foundation’s Web site, special consideration would be given to “programs that target groups traditionally underrepresented in the life sciences.” Individuals and businesses are excluded from applying.

“Generally speaking, if an organization were awarded a grant we’d anticipate letting them know in two weeks to a month,” Peterson said.

The foundation is accepting applications at www.invitrogen.com/foundation.

In the past, Invitrogen has supported the Life Sciences Summer Institute, which exposes teachers and students to the life sciences industry, and the Genzyme-Invitrogen Biotech Educator Award, which recognizes teachers for innovation in developing biotech curriculum.

It has also supported construction of a center in the Eugene, Ore., area to show the public how life science technology can help the environment.

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Legislation To Guide Stem Cell Agency Introduced:

State senators Sheila Kuehl, D-Santa Monica, and George Runner, R-Antelope Valley, introduced a bill last week that would seek to keep the state’s taxpayer-funded stem cell research agency from pursuing therapies too costly for the neediest patients.

The proposed bill would require that those who receive grant money from the California Institute for Regenerative Medicine sell their therapies at a price that doesn’t exceed benchmarks spelled out in Cal-Rx, the state’s prescription drug discount program.

It also calls for the state Little Hoover Commission to study the governance structure of the agency.

The agency has come under criticism in the past for potential conflicts of interest.

Late last year, CIRM announced the disqualification of 10 research groups because officials at the institutions applying for multimillion-dollar grants held positions at CIRM.

The officials wrote letters to CIRM in support of awarding grants to their own institutions.

CIRM is expected to announce the recipients of its biggest awards to date, more than $250 million, this spring.


Send news about the life sciences industry to Heather Chambers,

hchambers@sdbj.com

, or call (858) 277-6359, ext. 3125.

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