One of the most prominent trends within the global cord blood banking industry is the pairing of cord blood and tissue storage with pre- and post-natal testing services, including genetic testing, genome sequencing, and metabolic screening services. The rise of this trend is driven by the ability of cord blood storage providers to offer complimentary services to existing clients, thereby expanding and diversifying their product portfolio.
As one cord blood executive recently told me, “They are looking to extend the relationship with the mother.”
Pairing Cord Blood Banking with Genetic Testing Services
Repeatedly, the cord blood industry has seen companies pair genetic testing and genomic sequencing services with cord blood and tissue storage services.
Examples of this trend include:
- Natera, a leader in genetic testing, launched its EverCord Cord Blood & Tissue Banking Service.
- ViaCord launched its Newborn Genetic Screening.
- Human Longevity acquired LifebankUSA (previously owned by Celgene and now part of Celularity, Inc.) to pair its Newborn Genome Sequencing Service with cord blood, cord tissue, and placental banking.
- LifeCell International, India’s largest cord blood bank, offers BabyShield, its preventive prenatal genetic screening and diagnostic testing services.
- Cordlife, Asia’s largest cord blood specialist, partnered with EONE-DIAGNOMICS Genome Center (EDGC), a Korean genetic analysis company, in order to pair cord blood services with genetic testing within East Asian markets.
- ESPERITE (Cryo-Save Group) and BGI Genomics (BGI) signed an agreement to offer Whole Genome Sequencing on a large scale.
- The India subsidiary of Cordlife Group Limited, Cordlife Sciences India Pvt. Ltd, offers a non-invasive metabolic screening service known as MetaScreen, a service that can detect as many as 110 inborn errors of metabolism from urine samples.
- PlumCare, a DNA advisory service for families, partnered with Cordlife Group Limited to expand access to the first-ever lifetime DNA testing and advisory service.
Similary, many cord blood banks are also expanding into other types of maternal health services, including:
- AMAG Pharmaceuticals acquired Cord Blood Registry (CBR) to bolster its portfolio of maternal health products
- FamilyCord paired a maternal health service with cord blood storage by offering free processing of newborn cord blood to the clients of its sister company, Donor Egg Bank (a California Cryobank company offering frozen eggs for use in childbirth).
In addition to this trend, other powerful trends have emerged within the global cord blood industry. First, cord blood banks are rapidly introducing new types of perinatal tissue storage. Second, cord blood industry consolidation is occurring worldwide. Third, the industry is giving a great deal of attention to the pursuit of cord blood expansion technologies, because the limited cell dose present within an unmanipulted cord blood unit is restricting use within adult patient populations.
Finally, cord blood banks worldwide are now exploring options for growing into integrated therapeutics companies, where they seeking opportunities to pair cord blood and tissue storage services with therapeutic product development. In one recent example, Americord Registry in the U.S. noted that it intends to “launch its first therapeutic product offering sometime in 2018.”