A variety of approaches are being used by our Sector Companies to generate income (now and/or in the future) from stem cell regenerative medicine. Since the different approaches are difficult to compare, as well as in some cases being difficult to understand, we've put together a spread sheet indicating the various approaches and who's in what arena. The spread sheet is in PDF format:
While there are different degrees of business risk in the individual approaches, every one of these companies wants or has an off the shelf, scalable product, either a medical device for the stem cell arena (Cardiogenesis, Cytori, Thermogenesis), a logistical means of selling storage so that stem cells can be easily collected in a medical facility and transferred to the physical storage facility (Biomatrix Scientific, Cryo-Cell, Cytori, Neostem), or a broth containing the company's favorite stem cells, nutrients and other growth factors that can sustain a shelf life for use in a medical facilitlly when needed.
In the latter case, with expensive human testing and agency approvals required, several of the basic research oriented companies are selling stem cell lines, growth factors and/or cells to other companies and universities to establish a cash flow.
The chart we've prepared indicates types of stem cells from which Sector Companies hope to derive income as evidenced by the company's own statements, owned intellectual property, and/or areas of research.
There are four areas that differentiate the various approaches.
- Cell storage;
- Medical device manufacturers vs. stem cell researchers;
- Embryonic Stem Cells vs. Adult Stem Cells;
- Autologous cells vs. Allogeneic cells
There is continuing controversy over private vs. public cell banking and adult vs. embryonic research. Whether the cost of private banking as insurance against future need will be justified will only be clear with research, therapeutic alternatives and time.
Whether embryonic stem cells will be much more therapeutically useful than adult stem cells is still unclear. Finally, the use of a person's own (autologous) stem cells, a field known as personalized regenerative medicine, requires point of care equipment in order to extract, process and return stem cells and growth factors as part of a therapy. Major sector examples of companies relying on a future in personalized regenerative medicine include Cytori and Thermogenesis.
Allogeneic (from other than the individual receiving treatment) cells, on the other hand, can be packaged in a medium with growth factors and stored at a medical facility for use when a therapy is provided. The major examples of the allogeneic business model are Geron and Osiris.