Today, more than 70% of the global cord blood market is controlled by the world’s 12 largest cord blood banking operators. This is an incredible figure, given that the the cord blood industry grew to over 400 market participants in the early 2000’s but has consolidated dramatically since that time.
Industry consolidation has been particularly compelling within the U.S, Europe, Asia, and Latin America, with:
- Generate Life Sciences aggregating reproductive, newborn stem cell, and genetic services within the U.S., Canada, and Australia
- Cryoholdco aggregating stem cell banking assets across Latin America
- Sanpower Group dominating the Asian market
- Two leading cord blood brands (PBKM FamiCord and Vita34) consolidating the majority of the European market through aggressive M&A activity (and Cryo-Save AG going bankrupt)
Another key market is India, which has surged to an astounding population of 1.4 billion. Recent population growth has placed it head-to-head with China as the world’s most populous country. China also has a population of 1.4 billion. This means that an incredible one-third (36%) of the world’s 7.8 billion people now live within these two countries.
Global Trends in Newborn Stem Cell Banking
Within India, LifeCell International is the market leader, with approximately 320,000 stem cell units in storage. Within China, Global Cord Blood Corporation (GCBC) controls the market share and is the only operator with multiple provincial licenses.
Within the United States, Generate Life Sciences—a portfolio company of GI Partners—controlled Cord Blood Registry and its associated 900,000+ cord blood and tissue units from June 2018 onward. In June 2021, Generate secured an additional 200,000 cord blood and tissue units by acquiring Cell Care group, which includes Cell Care in Australia, as well as Insception Lifebank, Cells for Life, and the Victoria Angel public bank in Canada.
Then, in November 2021, CooperCompanies’ (NYSE: COO) bought Generate Life Sciences for an astounding $1.6M, acquiring its 1.1 million units under management.
Within Asia, Sanpower Group is the dominant investment force. Headquartered in Nanjing, it is one of the largest private conglomerates in China. It owns Global Cord Blood Corporation (GCBC) and other cord blood assets across Southeast Asia, controlling more than 1.2 million CBUs.
Within Latin America, ACON Investments is the major regional investor. It owns Cryoholdco as a portfolio company, which controls at least 9 stem cell storage assets, including four in Mexico, two in Columbia, two in Brazil, and one in Peru. In total it controls over 275,000 stem cell units.
Within Europe, PBKM FamiCord and Vita34 have consolidated the majority of the market.
Expanding Applications for Cord Blood and Tissue
Today, umbilical cord tissue, placental tissue, and dental pulp have all demonstrated intriguing therapeutic promise, causing storage services for these biomaterials to proliferate.
A surging number of cord blood banks are also expanding their service offerings to include:
- Reproductive and assisted fertility services
- Pre- and post-natal genetic testing services
- Cell therapy product development
Within the research realm, cord blood products (fresh and cryopreserved) are being offered by a diverse range of major market leaders. Within the therapeutic realm, clinical trials involving perinatal products are ascending to new highs.
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 pace.
Of course, investor appetite for cord blood banks has never been stronger, because cord blood banks produce stable subscription revenue from long-term storage contracts. At their core, they are both a real estate play (i.e., cryogenic storage facilities), as well as an investment into the promising future of cellular therapies.
Whether you’re a cord blood banking operator, investor, market consolidator, research supply company, cell therapy developer, or cell processing specialist, you need to be knowledgeable about the rapidly evolving cord blood and tissue banking industry.