By Anuja Mardikar
So, what do we think when we hear about a new start-up? Some other food-delivery app, a shopping app with a few variations or maybe another new wallet easing the process of payments. Hold on! A new start-up (Celularity, Inc.) is built around a business most people won’t even think about: The storage and use of cord blood taken from placentas shortly after childbirth. Yes! We live in a new world, and such revolutionary ideas are enough proof of that.
Celularity: A revolutionary idea
Celularity, a New-Jersey-based start-up, is a spinout from Celgene, a global biopharmaceutical company creating gene therapies. Peter Diamandis- founder and chairman of the X Prize Foundation has teamed up with Dr Robert Hariri, the founder of Celgene Cellular Therapeutics to create Celularity. What exactly is the purpose of this start-up? It aims to use stem cells found in the human placenta to quickly regenerate tissue and organs needed to treat cancer and other life-threatening diseases. The idea is to harness the power of placenta-derived cells and tissue to create regenerative health solutions. These therapies have the potential to rid the body of diseases like cancer and ultimately extend the human lifespan.
The science behind the idea
In the last few years, science has discovered that adult stem cells can be obtained from a number of sources throughout the human body including a women’s placenta. Celularity is unique as it uses stem cells from the placenta, unlike other companies who use embryo or the umbilical cord for cell regeneration. According to the company, placental stem cells are a notch higher as they can be sourced from any placenta and can be injected into any human without any risk of the body rejecting them. Dr Hariri said, “My goal is to see the next generation grow up in a world where cancer is managed just like the common cold, and the body’s natural regenerative engine remains empowered throughout our lives.”
Celularity’s business model
There are three parts to Celularity’s business model, namely: Bio-sourcing, for which the company owns LifebankUSA, which stores cord blood and placenta materials for new parents. The second part is functional regeneration, which the company does by addressing serious burns or wounds with the help of placental tissues. The third leg is cell therapy. Celularity has developed five clinical stage cell therapy candidates currently being evaluated for cancer and degenerative diseases.
The finances and directors of the company
Celularity is backed by a high-profile group of investors and has received a whopping funding of $250 million. They include United Therapeutics, Sorrento Therapeutics, Human Longevity, Genting Group, the Dreyfus Family Office, Section 32 and Heritage Group. The star-studded directors include John Sculley- former Apple CEO, Bill Maris- former CEO of Google Ventures and Andrew von Eschenbach- former commissioner of the US Food and Drug Administration.
A lucrative business
Since the T-cells placenta made from placenta can be used for anyone potentially, the cost of making them is lowered. The current T-cell treatment costs around $3,73,000 per patient. The wound healing treatment which is already approved has the potential of generating revenues of $20 million or more this year, adding up the total revenues above $30 million, according to the company.
Celularity is a one of a kind start-up which is working towards the benefit of humanity and at the same time can bring about a revolution in the biotechnology industry. Let us all hope the power of positivity helps Celularity achieve its ambitious goals.
Featured Image Source: Pixabay
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