In a developing embryo, stem cells can differentiate into all of the specialized embryonic tissues. In adult organisms, stem and progenitor cells act as a repair system for the body, replenishing specialized cells. The possibilities arising from these characteristics have resulted in great commercial interest, with potential applications ranging from the use of stem cells in reversal and treatment of disease, to targeted cell therapy, tissue regeneration, pharmacological testing on cell-specific tissues, and more.
However, to have stem cells easily accessible for research purposes and clinical applications requires them to be preserved in stable, temperature controlled conditions.
For this reason, a substantial market has evolved for the biobanking of tissues containing stem cell populations and the storage of stem cells themselves.
4 Key Definitions for the Stem Cell Biobanking Market
Use of the terms “biobank” and “biobanking” has become increasingly common over the past few years. However, these terms are still used loosely and often lack clear boundaries. Without clear definitions, it can be difficult for company executives and investors to assess market opportunities, to define the size of the market, and understand direct versus indirect competition within this market.
For this reason, this article explores definitions for the diversified biobanking market and the stem cell biobanking market, specifically.
1) Biobank: A type of biological repository that stores biological samples (usually human) for use in research and medicine. The registration of each sample entering and exiting the system is centrally stored on a computer system that is frequently backed up, and the physical location of each sample is noted to allow efficient location of specimens. Storage of the specimens may range from controlled ambient (room temperature), to +4°C, -20°C, -80°C, and -196°C (liquid or vapor nitrogen, LN2).
2) Biorepository: A biological materials repository collects, processes, stores, and distributes biospecimens to support scientific investigation and medical treatment. Again, storage of the specimens may range from controlled ambient (room temperature) to -196°C.
After reviewing the definitions above, it is clear that both terms explain the same basic act of storing biological specimens for potential future use (medical or scientific). However, within the commercial marketplace, the term “biobank” is substantially more common.
It is used for self-description by the majority of industry leaders within the stem cell storage marketplace, including Fisher Bioservices, Biostorage Technologies, EPL Archives, and Precision Bioservices, among others. The term “biorepository” also appears within organizational self-descriptions, but with less frequency.
While the biobanking market includes the storage of all types of biological samples for use in research and medicine, a “stem cell biobank” is a focused storage facility that specializes in the storage of stem cells and related materials, as defined below.
3) Stem Cell Biobank: A stem cell biobank is a stem cell storage company. What distinguishes it from the rest of the cryogenic storage marketplace is that it is focused exclusively on the storage of stem cell samples. On the other hand, diversified biobanks or biorepositories may collect a wide range of biological samples, including blood components, whole blood, buccal swabs, DNA, RNA, protein, cell lines, marrow, plasma, serum, RBC, white cells, fluid, urine, solid tissues, tumor and biopsy materials, and more.
Finally, the “stem cell biobanking market” is a sub-segment of the broader cryogenic storage market that is composed of diversified biobanks and biorepositories.
4) Stem Cell Biobanking Market: The stem cell biobanking market is defined as the total annual revenue derived from the storage of:
- Stem cell lines and their derivatives
- All biological samples that were collected specifically because they contain stem cell populations (e.g. cord blood, adipose tissue, and more)
To learn more about the stem cell biobanking market, view the “The Market for Stem Cell Biobanking and Storage – Size, Segments, and Trends.