Report: Increased dealmaking will launch stem cell therapies within 5 years

By Dan Stanton

- Last updated on GMT

Human Embryonic Stem cell colony on mouse embryonic fibroblast feeder layer.
Human Embryonic Stem cell colony on mouse embryonic fibroblast feeder layer.

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Stem cell therapies are on the brink of breaking through into the mainstream drug market, according to a GlobalData report, despite having been hindered by a lack of R&D funding.

With over a thousand cell therapies being developed and 104 currently in the late clinical stages, stem cells are going to be a big market in the next five years, according to the report by research and consulting firm GlobalData.

Development of stem cell therapies is being led by increasing Big Biopharma interest in personalised medicines, GlobalData’s Analyst covering Healthcare Industry Dynamics Aparna Krishnan told

“Big Pharma’s adoption of stem cell based research has increased over the past five years with higher investments through the licensing route,”​ he said, with firms including Novartis - which invested $35m in Israel’s Gamida in August - Sanofi​ and GlaxoSmithKline​ making some “interesting deals” ​with business and academia.

“Attention from major drug firms is growing, as they seek to diversify their businesses in growth segments through licensing deals and acquisitions,”​ he continued. “The rationale for this interest is the recent technological advancements and the recognition of growth in the personalized medicine market.”

Despite the large pharma interest, Krishnan told us the stem cell sector R&D is currently undercapitalised which could impact the industry outlook:

“Restructuring efforts by firms operating within stem cell R&D reveal a lack of financial muscle to sustain the costly R&D programs required to attain positive clinical outcomes.”

Furthermore, most firms operating in stem cells have relied heavily on research grants and capital raised from public offerings or venture capital investment and were affected by the global recession which hit the industry at a critical time in stem cell development.

However, the report remains confident the tide has since turned with the graph below demonstrating the trend for dealmaking and investment in the sector:

Globaldata stem cell deals
Stem Cell Deal Volume and Value Trends, 2004–2013, c/o GlobalData

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