BigPharma is “scanning Stem Cell Space”

by Alexey Bersenev on November 30, 2008 · 1 comment

in business, interviews

They are really interested. More and more.

– Will Regenerative Medicine (RegenMed) develop into a separate branch of the biomed industry or will BigPharma and Biotech acquire it?
– What is the way for Regen to collaborate with BigPharma?
– How to raise money from embryonic stem cell technologies?
– Will venture capitalists finally come to the field of RegenMed?

All these hot questions are discussed in interview with Peter Mountford – CEO of Stem Cell Sciences (AIM: STEM).


The company created a good model of “stem cell business” and successfully raised a money at the beginning stage.

The company successfully collaborated with BigPharma (Phizer, Merck, Sanofi Aventis) and gives us an example of how it should be done.

To me it is obvious that the future way to go is collaboration between RegenMed (included Stem Cell based companies), BigPharma and Biotech. And I’d agree with Peter Mountford that Genentech gave us the best example how collaboration between BigPharma and Biotech could be done.

Also I think, the Stem Cell Sciences model is the only viable model of making money on embryonic stem cells in next 3 years. Providing cells for Pharma for drug screening and toxicology tests is the way to go.

One more indication for that is this news released last week – 3 UW (University of Wisconsin) spinoffs form major stem cell company (Forbes).

Under a deal announced Monday, Cellular Dynamics International is joining forces with Stem Cell Products Inc. and iPS Cells Inc. Backed by $18 million in private venture capital…
Tests for drug side effects are generally done on animal cells, but that’s less efficient and successful at predicting problems. CDI is already using stem cell technology to supply heart cells to Roche and other drugmakers.

read more discussions online about relationships between RegenMed and BigPharma:
Big Pharma/Biotech and Cell Therapy
Pfizer launches regenerative medicine unit

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{ 1 comment… read it below or add one }

Lee Buckler December 1, 2008 at 4:37 pm


I agree that use of ESCs for drug discovery and testing is a short-term route to profitability from the use of ESCs. The viability of SCS’s particular model (ever-changing as it is) remains to be seen as they have now suspended trading of their stock in anticipation of some continued shift in their rapidly-evolving business plan. They did just sign a deal with Pfizer so that does bode well for them…

The other way to make money in the space is to be a “picks-and-shovels” provider. So companies like Invitrogen, SIAL, Miltenyi, Thermo Fisher, Stem Cell Technologies, BD, GE etc are all investing in and generating revenues from selling tools and reagents.

As we have discussed there are a lot of non-ESC stem cell or cell therapy plays out there using auto or allo adult cells (stem cells or otherwise). Approx 30 phase III or pivotal industry-sponsored clinical trials currently underway using a cell-based therapy. Dozens of cell-based therapies already available commercially (largely cartilage and/or skin repair but also several others). Pfizer has made a modest investment already in one such early-stage model using retinal epithelial progenitor cells.



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