Over the past 30 years, cord blood and cord tissue have gained popularity and commercial traction due to the valuable stem cells they contain. According to ClinicalTrials.gov, there are approximately 1,300 clinical trials evaluating the use of cord blood and tissue-derived cells. These studies typically leverage unmanipulated whole cord blood (total nucleated cells/TNC), mononuclear cells (MNC), or cord blood-derived mesenchymal stem cells (MSCs).
While the use of cord blood for HSCT is on the decline, the release of cord blood units for preclinical and clinical trial investigation is on the rise. For example, in 2006 Cord Blood Registry (the largest cord blood bank in the United States) released only 2 CBUs for regenerative medicine and 33 units for hematopoietic stem cell transplantation. Today, CBR releases an average of 500 units annually for use in regenerative medicine. This shift toward the use of cord blood and tissue within regenerative medicine (RM) applications is stunning.
The cord blood industry has also been witnessing record levels of M&A activity, with market leaders gaining market share at the expense of niche and specialty competitors and large investment groups vying for acquisition opportunities.
As the cord blood and tissue banking market has matured, numerous industry competitors have been exploring how to diversify and cross-sell additional services. For instance, when GI Partners acquired Cord Blood Registry (CBR) for $530 million in June 2018, CBR was merged with California Cryobank to establish the California Cryobank Life Sciences Platform. In January 2020, the Generate Life Sciences brand was created to combine these sub-brands (and other newborn stem cell banking, reproductive and genetic service brands) into a single global life sciences brand. Generate Life Sciences remains a portfolio company of GI partners, who is its lead investor.
Similarly, Celularity Inc. has been developing placenta-derived allogeneic immuno-oncology and regenerative products and simultaneously offers cryopreservation of umbilical cord and placental tissues through its private arm, LifeBank USA. Celularity then acquired the private bank CariCord in August 2018 to augment its biosourcing capabilities for placenta-derived products. More recently in January 2021, Celularity announced it was merging with GX Acquisition Corporation in preparation to become a publicly listed company in an event that raised $372 million from investors and cash held in GX Acquisition Corp.’s trust account that will be added to the combined company’s balance sheet.
Globally, cord blood industry consolidation has also accelerated, particularly within Europe, Latin America and Asia. India also represents an incredibly promising market for cord blood banking, with an astonishing population of 1.4 billion (18% of the total global population of 7.8 billion).
Today, novel pricing strategies, product cross-sells and upsells, and ingenious online and offline marketing strategies are being implemented by the industry’s market leaders. Meanwhile, new technologies to support ex vivo cord blood expansion are advancing at brisk speed.
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To learn more about this evolving market, view the “Global Cord Blood Banking Industry Report 2021.”
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