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Governor Doyle Announces $1 Million to Support Madison Stem Cell Company

For Immediate Release: May 14, 2007
Contact: Tony Hozeny, Department of Commerce, 608/267-9661
Carla Vigue, Office of the Governor, 608-261-2162

MADISON - Governor Jim Doyle today announced $1 million for Stemina Biomarker Discovery, Inc., to develop ways to help drug manufacturers screen drugs for harmful effects. Governor Doyle made the announcement in the laboratory of Dr. Gabriela Cezar, chief scientific officer and co-founder of Stemina, a Madison-based company working with stem cell patents held by the Wisconsin Alumni Research Foundation (WARF).

"Our growing stem cell industry has attracted some of the best and brightest scientists in the world," Governor Doyle said. "Dr. Cezar's company has the potential to achieve incredible breakthroughs that could save lives and create jobs. This is a competitive industry and Wisconsin still has a lead, but we need to continue to support these efforts in a significant way at the state level."

With two WARF patent licenses covering Dr. Cezar's discoveries at UW-Madison, Stemina is working to develop ways to help drug manufacturers screen drugs and drug candidates for toxic effects. As Stemina grows and builds a library of biomarkers, researchers will be able to discover toxins in the early stages of pharmaceutical development - saving millions of dollars in drug development costs.

"This award is crucial for Stemina's early development and it secures Wisconsin's dedication to progress stem cell discoveries into the business sector," Dr. Cezar said. "Our community can benefit from stem cell research: as a resource to identify safer drugs for patients, as a promising cell therapy for unmet medical needs and a source of job opportunities, revenue and innovation for the State of Wisconsin."

The Wisconsin Department of Commerce has also certified Stemina as a qualified new business venture, ensuring prospective investors can earn Wisconsin income tax credits under Act 255.

Since taking office, Governor Doyle has vastly expanded the state's support for stem cell and biomedical research and development. To make sure Wisconsin remains at the pinnacle of this competitive field, Governor Doyle has set out to capture 10 percent of the stem cell market by 2015. Governor Doyle is providing financial incentives, including grants, loans, as well as angel and venture tax credits under Act 255, to lure innovative companies from around the world to Wisconsin. The Governor's budget also calls for the Wisconsin Venture Center - a forum to connect entrepreneurs with capital to get their ideas off the ground and competing in the global marketplace.

And early next year, the Institutes for Discovery are set to break ground on the UW-Madison campus. The public and private research facilities will foster greater interdisciplinary research and collaboration with industry - making advancements in research and helping to create hundreds of high end jobs.

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