Happy Holidays! I hope you are enjoying this exciting season with family, friends, colleagues, and lots of holiday cheer. As you celebrate and reflect on a prosperous 2016, we have posted new stem cell industry coverage to help you prepare for 2017. This week in stem cells we cover cell therapy in Asia, exosomes going exponential, a massive $225M series A financing, and much more.
Check out our stem cell industry coverage below and let me know what you think!
This Week in Stem Cells
Cell therapy in Asia has been gathering momentum over the past several years. Japan accelerated its position as a hub for regenerative medicine research, largely driven by support from Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, who identified regenerative medicine and cellular therapy as key to the Japan’s strategy to drive economic growth. China, South Korea, and other Asian nations have also taken measures to support cell therapy development within their borders. While North America, led by the United States, is the largest market for stem cell therapies, Asia is becoming the fastest growing.
With 25% of all exosome publications released in the past year and exosome companies flooding into the marketplace, we are witnessing an exosome explosion. 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. Specifically, they transfer DNA, RNA, and proteins to other cells, thereby altering the function of the targeted cells. Clearly, exosomes are gaining momentum as a novel strategy for accessing the therapeutic effects of stem cells without the risks and difficulties of directly administering the cells to patients.
Bayer AG and Versant Ventures announced the launch of BlueRock Therapeutics, a next-generation regenerative medicine company that plans to develop best-in-class induced pluripotent stem cell (iPSC) therapies to cure a range of diseases using an industry-leading platform. BlueRock Therapeutics will be led by a world-class team and has assembled its platform through a series of strategic partnerships with academia and industry. To enable BlueRock Therapeutics’ platform and pipeline, Bayer and Versant are committing USD 225 million, representing one of the largest-ever series A financings for a biotech company.
International Stem Cell Corporation (OTCQB:ISCO), a clinical stage biotechnology company, announced the treatment of the second patient in its Australian trial for Parkinson’s Disease. The patient was injected with 30,000,000 neural stem cells derived from human parthenogenetic stem cells (ISC-hpNSC® cells) and is currently recovering. The surgery was performed on Sunday, December 4, at the Royal Melbourne Hospital, the same site as the first treatment. The operation was successfully performed without complications by the team of the RMH neurosurgeons.
Celltex Therapeutics specializes in banking autologous MSCs for therapeutic use. Because the FDA states that an individual’s stem cells are defined as a drug if they have been expanded in vitro, Celltex began undertaking clinical trials in which it will seek approval from the FDA to provide stem cells for use by physicians within the U.S. To meet the immediate needs of patients, Celltex has also taken steps to comply with the regulations established by the FDA and COFEPRIS, the Mexican equivalent of the FDA for exporting and importing MSCs. To learn more about Celltex, enjoy this exclusive interview David Eller, President and CEO of Celltex Therapeutics.
Precious Cells is offering employees the ultimate employee benefit unlike anything ever seen before. They will cryogenically store employees’ and their loved ones’ stem cells, for free. The benefits package (called Accellerate) has been created to help the company achieve their vision of connecting 7 billion potential stem cell donors in a world with a huge stem cell shortage. It has been rolled out to employees first to recruit and motivate the best talent in a sector where traditional benefits no longer give a competitive advantage.
If you are living in the 21st Century, then you know that hashtags (#) are used on social media to highlight the key topic or focus of a post. It is important to consider related hashtags, because they represent topics that are correlated within public consciousness. The definition of related hashtags are those that are found together within social media posts. In a hashtag map for the term “stem cells” (executed Dec. 201, 2016), it is extremely interesting that both “cord blood” and “mesenchymal” appear as commonly related hashtags, while other types of stem cells do not (for example, hematopoietic, neural, embryonic, and induced pluripotent stem cells).
In light of the acquisition of Cord Blood Registry by AMAG Pharmaceuticals for $700M in June of 2015, this post considers five cord blood investors that are impacting the global marketplace. It includes traditional investments, acquisitions, and contributions from wealthy founders. If you are considering an investment within the cord blood industry, you need to know these major market players. Cord blood industry investors include ABS Capital Partners & HLM Management, KKR & Company, Bay City Capital, GTCR, the private equity firm Excalibur, and more.
BioInformant is excited to announce that we are attending Phacilitate’s 2017 Cell and Gene Therapy World in Miami, Florida, on January 17-20, 2017. Additionally, we are proud that the Cord Blood & Tissue Forum on Day 3, new for 2017, will be chaired by our own President, Cade Hildreth. With over 25 hours of networking and over 350 organizations, this event provides limitless opportunities for collaboration and networking. Because we always try to get the best possible deal for our readers, we negotiated for you to get 10% off registration with the code “BIOINFORMANT”.
Stem Cell Industry Round-Up
I hope you enjoyed “This Week in Stem Cells,” our stem cell industry round-up. Were there other major stem cell events this week that are worthy of conversation? Share them in the comments section below.