Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Challenges faced by stem cell therapy make VCs wary

31.10.2006
The enormous market potential for cell-based therapeutic products is matched by considerable challenges facing young biotech companies entering the sector, says Dr Cathy Prescott of Avlar BioVentures.

Dr Prescott will also tell academic and business delegates at the White Rose Bioscience Forum in York today (31 October), that whilst venture capitalists (VCs) have their eye on the potential high returns of such an emergent market, they will remain wary of investing until key broader issues such as legal, regulatory and intellectual property complexities have been resolved.

For young companies, a major hurdle is a lack of support from the pharmaceutical industry for cell-based therapeutic product development. “Traditionally, pharma have supported products coming through the biotech industry through licensing and partnering, providing support for clinical trials, financing and expertise,” says Dr Prescott. “But this is generally not the case here; they are tending to support enabling technologies and research-based reagents and tools instead.”

According to Dr Prescott, the reticence to support cell-based therapy development is because the end product will usually be tailored to the individual patient, with delivery within a clinical setting, administered by specialists. “This requires a very different business model from that of traditional high volume distribution of drugs routinely available to the patient,” she says.

... more about:
»Biotech »VCS »Young »cell-based

She continues: “If that crucial support is not there from the pharma industry, young companies need to think very hard about whether they realistically have the expertise to take a product to market on their own.”

There’s not much good news in terms of funding available to young companies either, says Dr Prescott: “There’s simply less seed and early stage money to go round at the moment. Investment trends across Europe show a general decline in VC activity, and of the money invested, the majority of it is used to continue to support the more mature biotech companies. In addition, this may also impact on the ability of early stage companies to raise match funding required by many Government grant schemes.”

For VCs, patent issues are also a major cause for concern with dominating patents already granted covering methods of isolating, cultivating, differentiating and delivering stem cell lines. “Young companies need to be very careful that they have the freedom to operate, and where they need to buy-in technology, commercial licenses can cost as much as $100k, which is out of the range of most younger biotech companies, “ says Dr Prescott.

“VCs are also wary that for the embryonic stem cell-based products, the European market may remain fragmented despite the proposal for an EU-wide regulatory framework for advanced stem cell therapies published by the Commission for EU Communities. The proposal respects national confidence on the use of stem cells. This means that a product approved for launch in the UK may need work to be approved in other EU countries, which impacts on cost and time.” she explains.

“I appreciate that this is a hard message, but it’s a tough climate. The most pragmatic advice I can give to young companies is to show venture capitalists that they have anticipated, understood and determined a route forward to resolve key hurdles facing them,” she says. “This will underpin the success of UK biotech companies whose technology expertise lies in stem cell therapeutics.”

Jo Kelly | alfa
Further information:
http://www.whiterose.ac.uk/events/bioscienceforum

Further reports about: Biotech VCS Young cell-based

More articles from Life Sciences:

nachricht Fine organic particles in the atmosphere are more often solid glass beads than liquid oil droplets
21.04.2017 | Max-Planck-Institut für Chemie

nachricht Study overturns seminal research about the developing nervous system
21.04.2017 | University of California - Los Angeles Health Sciences

All articles from Life Sciences >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: Deep inside Galaxy M87

The nearby, giant radio galaxy M87 hosts a supermassive black hole (BH) and is well-known for its bright jet dominating the spectrum over ten orders of magnitude in frequency. Due to its proximity, jet prominence, and the large black hole mass, M87 is the best laboratory for investigating the formation, acceleration, and collimation of relativistic jets. A research team led by Silke Britzen from the Max Planck Institute for Radio Astronomy in Bonn, Germany, has found strong indication for turbulent processes connecting the accretion disk and the jet of that galaxy providing insights into the longstanding problem of the origin of astrophysical jets.

Supermassive black holes form some of the most enigmatic phenomena in astrophysics. Their enormous energy output is supposed to be generated by the...

Im Focus: A Quantum Low Pass for Photons

Physicists in Garching observe novel quantum effect that limits the number of emitted photons.

The probability to find a certain number of photons inside a laser pulse usually corresponds to a classical distribution of independent events, the so-called...

Im Focus: Microprocessors based on a layer of just three atoms

Microprocessors based on atomically thin materials hold the promise of the evolution of traditional processors as well as new applications in the field of flexible electronics. Now, a TU Wien research team led by Thomas Müller has made a breakthrough in this field as part of an ongoing research project.

Two-dimensional materials, or 2D materials for short, are extremely versatile, although – or often more precisely because – they are made up of just one or a...

Im Focus: Quantum-physical Model System

Computer-assisted methods aid Heidelberg physicists in reproducing experiment with ultracold atoms

Two researchers at Heidelberg University have developed a model system that enables a better understanding of the processes in a quantum-physical experiment...

Im Focus: Glacier bacteria’s contribution to carbon cycling

Glaciers might seem rather inhospitable environments. However, they are home to a diverse and vibrant microbial community. It’s becoming increasingly clear that they play a bigger role in the carbon cycle than previously thought.

A new study, now published in the journal Nature Geoscience, shows how microbial communities in melting glaciers contribute to the Earth’s carbon cycle, a...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

Expert meeting “Health Business Connect” will connect international medical technology companies

20.04.2017 | Event News

Wenn der Computer das Gehirn austrickst

18.04.2017 | Event News

7th International Conference on Crystalline Silicon Photovoltaics in Freiburg on April 3-5, 2017

03.04.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

New quantum liquid crystals may play role in future of computers

21.04.2017 | Physics and Astronomy

A promising target for kidney fibrosis

21.04.2017 | Health and Medicine

Light rays from a supernova bent by the curvature of space-time around a galaxy

21.04.2017 | Physics and Astronomy

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>