Big Pharma Guiding the Stem Cells Future

Stem cells (SCs) have been an excitement area of medical research since 1800s. In the mid 1800s it was discovered that cells were basically the building blocks of life and that some cells had the ability to produce other cells and in 1900 scientists had discovered that some cells had the ability to generate blood cells. In 1968, first successful bone marrow transplantation was performed to successfully treat two siblings with severe combined immunodeficiency. Since 1968, stem cell research has progressed dramatically and every year, companies are increasing for stem cells research.

A human body is made of more than 200 different types of specialized cells like muscle cells, fat cells, skin cells all originating from stem cells. A stem is a un-specialized immortal cell which on differentiation performs a specific function but can no longer become another type of cell. Broadly stem cells are divided into adult stem cells/tissue specific stem cells and pleuripotent stem cells. Different types of stem cells have different levels of potential.


Big Pharmaceuticals Entering in Stem Cell Research through potential collaborations

In cellular therapeutics stem cell therapy has emerged out as key driver for the purpose of regenerative and restorative medicine globally across a number of diseases. There are presently more than 200 plus companies working in stem cell therapy products globally.

Adult stem cells are perhaps the most attractive source stem cells with more than 70% followed by embryonic stem cells, cord blood cells and fetal stem cells across all biopharmaceutical industry. Mesenchymal stem cells from bone marrow and hematopoietic stem cells have been widely used in four decades with lot of medical research done in neurodegenerative diseases using neural stem cells.

Some of the major therapeutic areas addressed in this era mostly revolve in cardiovascular diseases, central nervous sytem (CNS) diseases, Hematopoietic diseases, orthopadic and diabetic diseases.

Many companies have started research using induced pleuripotent cells which may show pleuripotency and their proliferation may also vary. Two of the leading companies are iPierian, Inc. which is now acquired by Bristol Myers Squibb Company and Fate Therapeutics exploiting the iPS technology. In past two years, the global market for iPSCs have grown immensly crossing $ 1 billion.

Recently parthenogenesis emerged as new class of obtaining stem cells where embryo is created solely from female oocyte without genetic contribution from male. International Stem Cell Corporation is one such company which has poineered in new class. It avoids the ethical issues as well as show immune matching to patient which is most important in case of transplantation.

Moreover, stem cell therapy is getting huge attention from big pharmaceutical companies. The potentials of stem cells have clearly overcrossed the drawback and major pharmaceutical players like Novartis, Johnson & Johnson and Celgene Corporation have invested in stem cell reaserch. Novartis expanded its stem cell research by investing in Gamida Cell and Regenerex stem cell technology. Similarly J&J has invested in Capricor Therapeutics and Viacyte for cardiovascular and diabetic diseases. Recently Celgene entered into agreement and invested in Oncomed and Human Longevity Inc.

Let’s have a look at the Collaborations:

Stem Cells Collaborations

Written by Tarun Jain, Associate Analyst at DelveInsight

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