The commercial side of stem cell R & D

Yesterday, I wondered what has been happening in stem cell research and development (R & D) during the past few years. Today, I was reading about a stem cell conference to be held in San Diego in February and found a Stem Cell Market Analysis Fact Sheet. The document is intended for investors, physicians, and comapnies involved in stem cell research.

Consistent with my self-imposed rule of not advertising specific companies, I won't name any here; but I will post the entire fact sheet in the Stem Cell Forum section of the website. You can find it by searching for "stem cell market analysis" from the home page. I'm intentionally not providing a link here.

So, here's some of what the fact sheet includes:

Stem Cell Company Revenues:

2005: $ 974,000

2006: $ 16,405,000

2007: $ 36,856,000 estimated

2016: $8.5 billion estimated (new forecast to be released at Stem Cell Summit on Feb. 12)

Estimated number of c ompanies developing stem cell products: 200+ worldwide

Market value of all public stem cell companies: $1.655 billion

Current applications for stem cell products

  • Replacement for bone harvesting in spine fusion surgery
  • Bone growth and void fill in fresh fractures
  • Bone growth and void fill in non-union fractures

Stem cell products expected to be approved by the FDA in the coming 36 months

  • Prochymal (treatment for graft vs. host disease)
  • Two (possibly three) treatments for damaged heart muscle due to heart disease
  • Chondrogen (repair of knee cartilage)

Other details:

  • A single dose of adult stem cells for therapeutic use usually has a minimum of 104 million viable stem cells.
  • The most common source of commercial stem cells in the United States is donor-derived adult stem cells.
  • Donor-derived adult stem cells are available as either minimally manipulated donated tissues or as cultured donor cells.

The fact sheet also describes projected sales figures, number of people likely to be customers, and what other types of treatements serve as competition.

So, we know there's money out there. Now, what's the scientific evidence that these treatments work?

Marie Godfrey, PhD


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