To apply cord blood market research to business decisions, a thorough understanding of the marketplace is required. There are a number of emerging trends, perinatal tissue types, and cell expansion technologies that are affecting the marketplace, but to fully understand their impact, historical context must be introduced. The global cord blood industry came into existence in the early 1990’s with the formation of several leading cord blood banks in the USA, followed by the establishment of cord blood banks across the globe. The mid-2000s were a growth period for the U.S. cord blood market, but that trend has since subsided and the market in now in a phase of maturation and consolidation.
In 2008, cord tissue storage was introduced as a service by HealthBanks Biotech Company Ltd., a Taiwanese company. HealthBaby, a company headquartered in Hong Kong, was the next to launch the service in 2009. Another Hong Kong company, Cryolife, also added the service 2009. By 2010, the first cord blood bank in the United States, Cord Blood Registry, had added it as a service offering. Today, more than three-quarters of all U.S. and approximately two-thirds of international cord blood banks offer cord tissue storage services.
Although the U.S. cord blood banking market is experiencing flat growth, the U.S. cord tissue market is expanding. Notably, approximately half of Cord Blood Registry’s clients now store both cord blood and cord tissue. As the largest cord blood bank in the U.S., this is a notable accomplishment. It was this service addition that helped to raise the company’s storage count for cord blood and tissue units from approximately 500,000 in 2015 to nearly 700,000 today.
It also played a role in Cryo-Cell’s announcement that, “More than 500,000 parents from 87 countries trust Cryo-Cell to preserve their family members’ stem cells.”
Storage of other perinatal tissues (placental and amniotic) is also providing a lift to the cord blood market, because diversification of stem cell storage services is a major force within the market right now.
For example, both LifebankUSA and Americord Registry offer placental stem cell banking. LifebankUSA has been offering placental stem cell banking since 2006, while Americord added the service in September of 2017. LifebankUSA is part of Celularity, a placental stem cell spin-out from Celegene that is was co-founded by Dr. Robert Hariri. On February 15, 2018, Celularity announced that it had raised an astonishing $250 million to use placental stem cells to augment aging and immunity.
Other types of stem cell storage are being introduced within the marketplace as well, including amniotic stem cells, dental pulp stem cells, and more.
Positive and Negative Forces Impacting the Cord Blood Market
Furthermore, marketing pressures are impacting the cord blood industry, with the term “cord blood” becoming one of the 20 most expensive search terms on Google. Winning U.S. based search traffic through Google Adwords for the search term “Cord Blood” now costs $38.38.
When all locations are considered, the cost for winning search traffic through Google Adwords for the phrase “Cord Blood” is $22.60. Awareness rates for cord blood banking are another troublesome factor for the industry, as a 2017 survey by BioInformant revealed that rates of parental awareness have changed little over the past decade.
However, there are also emerging opportunities within the cord blood industry, including positive clinical trial findings, abundant deal-making within the industry, improving public perception toward stem cell therapies, pairing of services with prenatal, neonatal, and maternal health products, and more.
Another positive force for the industry is the introduction of cord blood insurance policies, including those offered by Smart Stem Plus, Miller Insurance, CellPlan, and others.
Additionally, the cord blood banking industry is giving a great deal of attention to the pursuit of cord blood stem cell expansion, because the limited cell dose present within an unmanipulated cord blood unit restricts the efficacy of hematopoietic stem cell transplantation (HSCT) in adult patients. Fortunately, there has been substantial progress in this area, by Gamida Cell Ltd, Nohla Therapeutics, ExCellThera, Magenta Therapeutics, Plasticell, and others.
Currently, Gamida Cell, Nohla Therapeutics, and ExCellThera have cord blood expansion products in Phase II clinical trials, suggesting that momentum in this area is expanding and the technology could potentially reach commercialization within the next five years.
Most recently, Natera launched cord blood and tissue storage services in the USA, the largest cord blood banks in Canada (Insception Lifebank) and Australia (CellCare) merged, and Sanpower Group expanded to become the largest blood banking operator in the world after buying China Cord Blood Corporation (CCBC) and Shandong Cord Blood Bank. Today, Sanpower Groups controls more than 1.1 million blood units across in China and SE Asia.
Within this rapidly evolving cord blood industry, those who commit to understanding current opportunities and threats will be positioned for a substantial strategic advantage.