California sees opportunities in personalized medicine. Earlier this month, Governor Brown announced the creation of a two year initiative –California Initiative to Advance Precision Medicine to “begin building infrastructure and assembling resources necessary to advance precision medicine-orientated data, tools and applications.” See California Launches Initiative to Advance Precision Medicine.

Seven Key Objectives

The California Initiative seeks to leverage the State’s expertise in medical technology and informatics. Briefly, the seven stated objectives are:

  • To foster communication between public and private entities toward advancing precision medicine;
  • To create an “asset inventory” that will document the current precision medicine efforts currently underway in the state;
  • To inform a precision medicine strategy for the state based on the public-private partnerships and the information collected from the asset inventory;
  • To maximize the involvement from the private sector;
  • To assemble expert project teams to conduct “demonstration projects” in disease-focused areas;
  • To share the results of the demonstration projects with the public; and
  • To position California as a leader in precision medicine.

Public-Private Partnership

The University of California (UC) was selected to host the two year initiative, in conjunction with UC Health. The initiative will be a collaboration of public and private academic and industry partners. It is funded through a $3 million state appropriations made in the 2014-2015 budget.

The majority of the funds ($2.4 million) will support demonstration projects that leverage UC’s patient data and research expertise. A selection committee will be created to review and consider possible projects. UC’s campuses are invited to submit short proposals for the demonstration projects in focused disease areas. Research and selection criteria are available on the UC Health website and are due May 22nd. The projects will commence in August and are to be completed over an 18 to 21 month project.

The University of California, San Francisco (UCSF) was selected to coordinate the asset inventory. The campus also will coordinate with stakeholders from the public, private, non-profit and government sectors. Information from the asset inventory will be available to the public through a yet-to-be-developed website. Six-hundred thousand dollars of the $3 million has been set aside to fund the asset inventory as well as discuss data needs, privacy, intellectual property concerns, as well as identify priority areas for the State to contribute to the advancement of precision medicine.

Complementing and Supporting Obama’s Initiative

A stated goal of the California Initiative is to complement the President’s initiative [reviewed here] and to position California as a leader in this rapidly developing medical field. Like the President’s initiative, the California Initiative will bring together researchers from diverse scientific disciplines to create the knowledge infrastructure that is necessary to better understand the molecular basis of disease and the use of tailored therapies.