February 28, 2009
Stem Cell Research Products Opportunities Tools And Technologies
Stem cells are primitive cells found in all multi-cellular organisms that are characterized by self-renewal and the capacity to differentiate into any mature cell type. Several broad categories of stem cells exist, including: embryonic stem cells (derived from blastocysts), fetal stem cells (obtained from aborted fetuses), adult stem cells (found in adult tissues), cord blood stem cells (isolated from umbilical tissue), cancer stem cells (which give rise to a clonal populations of cells that form tumors or disperse in the body), and animal stem cells (derived from non-human sources).
In a developing embryo, stem cells can differentiate into all of the specialized embryonic tissues. In adult organisms, stem and progenitor cells act as a repair system for the body, replenishing specialized cells. Of interest to researchers, is the potential for use stem cells in regenerative medicine to treat conditions ranging from diabetes, to cardiovascular disease and neurological disorders. Additionally, the ability to use stem cells to improve drug target validation and toxicology screening is of intense interest to pharmaceutical companies. Stem cells are also being studied for their ability to improve both the understanding and treatment of birth disorders.
To facilitate the research resulting from interest in these far-ranging applications, a sizeable stem cells research products market has emerged. Large companies selling stem cell research products include Invitrogen, BD Biosciences, Thermo Fisher Scientific, and Millipore, although many other suppliers exist as well. Products offered by these companies include: antibodies to stem cell antigens, bead-based stem cell separation systems, stem cell protein purification and analysis tools, tools for DNA and RNA-based characterization of stem cells, stem cell culture and media reagents, stem cell specific growth factors and cytokines, tools for stem cell gene regulation, a range of stem cell services, tools for in vivo and in vitro stem cell tracking, and stem cell lines.
Currently, the federal government is an important, although not dominant, source of funding for stem cell research. The reason is that states are spending almost as much as the federal government on general stem cell research and are actually spending more than the federal government on human embryonic stem cell (hESC) research. Private sources also contribute a huge about of funding, with analysis of recent large gifts summing to over $1.7 billion.
Specifically, market analysis determined the size of the stem cell research products market to be $872M and expanding through double digit growth each year. Because of the massive size of the market, developing a stem cells product line represents a significant financial opportunity for research supply companies. The purpose of this market analysis report is to explore current market conditions and provide guidance to companies that wish to offer a strategically positioned stem cell product line.
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