China has a fascinating and unique market for cord blood banking. First, the Chinese government only allows one cord blood bank in each of the Chinese provinces. The Chinese government issues one cord blood banking license per province, and the licensed company must function as both a public (donation-based) and private (for-profit) bank. The for-profit division funds the company’s donation-based public division, because no government support is received for this purpose.
China Cord Blood Corporation (now Global Cord Blood Corporation) currently holds the exclusive license for three of the regions and has partial ownership in a 4th province. All of the other companies hold only one license each. As such, China Cord Blood Corporation has either exclusive or partial operating rights within regions that account for nearly three-quarters of the annual births within China. It is also the fastest growing cord blood bank worldwide, according to Mr. Chen Bing Chuen (“Albert”), Chief Financial Officer and Director of the China Cord Blood Corporation.
In 2016, Sanpower Group and its subsidiary Nanjing Cenbest announced the acquisition of China Cord Blood Corporation (NYSE:CO) and Shandong Cord Blood Bank, positioning it to hold these licenses. According to the company, Sanpower Group has 800,000 cord blood samples stored in China and the associated reserves near 1,100,000 when Cordlife’s reserves across various Southeast Asian countries are included. This positions Sanpower Group and its subsidiary Nanjing Cenbest as the world’s largest cord blood banking operator not only in China and Southeast Asia, but also the world.
Also, from January 1, 2016 onward, the Chinese government begin allowing two children per family instead of one, so this has been a major boost for the cord blood banking market within China.
Additionally, China also has unusually high rates of cord blood storage, as compared to other regions of the world. Rates of private cord blood storage can be as high as 7-10% of the population within certain regions. These rates are very unusual, because storage rates for private cord blood storage average under 1% on a worldwide basis. As a point of comparison, the United States has the most mature cord blood banking market in the world and only 2.6% of U.S. parents privately store cord blood.
Finally, 57 out of 66 (86%) of umbilical cord tissue trials listed on ClinicalTrials.gov are now registered to China, creating a swell of clinical activity in the region. In contrast, only one clinical trial involving umbilical cord tissue is underway in the U.S. See map below showing clinical trial activity by region (Search Term: “umbilical cord mesenchymal stem cells”; Date: Nov. 30, 2017).
Interestingly, the results invert when cord blood banking trials are searched on ClinicalTrials.gov. In this case, 74 out of 370 clinical trials containing the term “umbilical cord blood” are registered to China (20.0%), while 215 are registered to the U.S. (58.1%).
Clearly, the market for cord blood and tissue banking in China has several unusual characteristics. Do you have a questions about other cord blood and tissue banking markets? Email us at [email protected] or ask a question in the comments below.
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To learn more about the cord blood banking market, view the “Global Cord Blood Banking Industry Report.”
1. World Cord Blood Congress Presentation by Mr. Chen Bing Chuen (“Albert”), Chief Financial Officer and Director of China Cord Blood Corporation (CCBC).
2. Xinhongru, P. (2017). Biomedicine_Sanpower Healthcare_Core Industries_The Sanpower Group. [online] En.sanpowergroup.com. Available at: http://en.sanpowergroup.com/content/details_38_1474.html [Accessed 8 Oct. 2017].
3. Clinical trial search executed on ClinicalTrials.gov. Search term: “umbilical cord mesenchymal stem cell“. For reference, 66 results are also returned if ClinicalTrials.gov is searched for the term “umbilical cord mesenchymal stem” or even the shortened phrase “umbilical cord mesenchymal“.
4. Clinical trial search executed on ClinicalTrials.gov. Search Term: “umbilical cord blood“; Search Date: Nov. 30, 2017.