The company would set up a stem cell transplant facility in Chennai in collaboration with a teaching hospital.

Our Bureau

Bangalore, Dec. 2

ASIA Cryo-Cell Pvt Ltd, which provides cord blood stem cell banking service, has said it planned to set up two overseas banks for umbilical cord stem cells by June 2006.

It was considering Sri Lanka, Malaysia or Dubai as candidate locations.

The Chennai-based company, formed in November 2004, would soon set up a stem cell transplant facility in Chennai in collaboration with a teaching hospital there.

The unnamed hospital would offer therapies based on umbilical cord blood stem cells for leukaemia, neurological disorders, spinal cord injuries, diabetes and heart attack, said Mr S. Abhaya Kumar, Vice-Chairman and CEO of Asia Cryo-Cell, which markets its services under the LifeCell brand.

"We also want to bring in clinical trials (on stem cell based therapies) to the country and also announce a manufacturing partnership at an appropriate time," he told a news conference here.

Asia Cryo-Cell, along with like-minded bodies such as Manipal Acunova, is also trying to initiate an association of all agencies working on cord blood cells to ensure a healthy growth of the industry, Mr Abhaya Kumar said.

According to Mr Prasad Mangipudi, Vice-President (Marketing), the industry is poised for a major growth, to roughly Rs 1,000 crore in five years.

LifeCell, which has nearly 750 stem cell samples and some 1,000 enrolments from prospective parents from across the country, plans to add 16 collection centres to its current eight centres.

"We expect the enrolments to shoot up to 8,000 by the end of next year. Cord blood banking is still in a nascent stage in India," he said.

The Rs 14-crore Chennai centre can store one lakh stem cell samples for an initial fee of Rs 27,000 per sample.

The expansion plan will have an investment of Rs 60 crore over the next two years, to be funded through private equity, according to Mr Abhaya Kumar, who is also the Joint MD of Shasun Drugs & Chemicals Ltd.

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Asia CRYO-CELL to set up stem cell therapy centre

(This article was published in the Business Line print edition dated December 3, 2005)
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