The market for stem cell exosomes is a fast-growth, high potential market. Currently in its early-stages, the market is readily posed for expansion. With a limited number of market competitors and few products in clinical-stage trials, the market is ripe for disruption by new competitors and new technologies.
What are Exosomes?
Exosomes are small vesicles ranging from 30-100nm in size that are found in nearly all eukaryotic fluids and facilitate a range of important cellular functions. They transfer DNA, RNA, and proteins to other cells, thereby altering the function of the targeted cells. Exosomes are commonly found in blood, urine, and saliva, among other fluids.
Although exosomes are released by all cell types, stem cells release high quantities of these extracellular vesicles. There is growing evidence to suggest that many of the therapeutic benefits associated with adult stem cells may be derived from stem cell exosomes acting as intracellular messengers.
Exosome Diagnostics & Therapeutics
High-growth market areas include the use of stem cell exosomes for diagnostic and therapeutic purposes, although use of stem cell exosomes as research tools and their integration into consumer care products (“cosmeceuticals”) will also contribute to market growth.
As Capricor Therapeutics and ReNeuron work to move their preclinical programs into Phase I trials, market validation could occur for the concept of exosome-based therapeutics. There has also been a flurry of patenting activity in recent years, most notably by companies within China and South Korea.
With an explosion of scientific publications released over the past two years, exosomes are undoubtedly an area of science that will attract more research attention and growing investment.
In November 2015, Codiak Biosciences launched with $80M in investor funding, making it one of the largest venture-backed exosome companies. Shortly thereafter in January 2016, Codiak BioSciences secured an additional $61 million in Series B funding. Across its Series A, B, and C financing rounds, it has raised approximately $168.5 million.
Exosome Diagnostics is another success story, raising approximately $112 million across its Series A, B, and C financing rounds. Additionally, on June 25, 2018, Bio-Techne announced it was acquiring Exosome Diagnostics for $250 million in cash and up to $325 million for achieving certain milestones.
The South Korean exosome start-up company, ExoCoBio, also raised $27 million in a Series B funding completed September 2018. Since it was created in January 2017, ExoCoBio has raised approximately $46 million from investors, including a Series A round in April 2017 of $11 million.
As indicated by these events, there is clearly an appetite for investors to enter the exosome market and a belief that the industry itself is poised for growth.
Exosome Research Tools
Companies offering research tools to the exosome community are also expanding, with Lonza making aggressive investments in this area through its acquisitions of HansaBioMed Life Sciences and Exosomics and Thermo Fisher expanding its portfolio of exosome-related products through its acquisition of Life Technologies Corporation in 2013 and internal investments since that time.
Additionally, System Biosciences (SBI) and Qiagen are adverting portfolios of exosome-related products, as are nearly a dozen other research supply companies.
Finally, tools for isolating and expanding exosomes are being offered by a growing number of life science companies, including exosomes derived from various cell lines, exosome binding antibodies, kits for the enrichment of specific exosome subpopulations, and more.
Exosome Market Growth
In summary, exosomes are rapidly gaining momentum as a strategy for accessing the therapeutic effects of stem cells without the risks and difficulties of administering the cells to patients. With exosome companies multiplying in number and exosome publications on the rise, it is clear that exosomes will play a crucial role in the regenerative medicine movement led by their enormous potential for use within therapeutic and diagnostic tools.