Stem cell research is among the most exciting frontiers of medical science as it promises to cure a number of debilitating disorders. Not surprisingly then, several start-ups with innovative research programmes covering a wide range of therapeutic disorders have already been established. And, despite several regulatory, social, ethical, scientific and financial hurdles, funding increases and developing regulatory frameworks are supporting the expansion of the global stem cell therapeutics market.
Stem cells are being investigated for the treatment of several disorders, such as Parkinson's disease and cancer, which currently have no cure. Adult stem cell therapies have been around in the market for three decades now but their application has been limited. On the other hand, embryonic stem cells are widely regarded as the proverbial holy grail of medical science.
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"An ageing population and the lack of effective therapies for numerous disorders, apart from an increase in R&D funding will be the main drivers in the world stem cell therapeutics market," opines Frost & Sullivan (http://healthcare.frost.com) Research Analyst Sumanth Kambhammettu in a recent study on World Stem Cell Therapeutics Markets. "An improving regulatory environment in some countries coupled with newer applications will further boost market prospects." Finally, ongoing efforts to boost government funding for stem cell research by certain states in the US (such as California) and other countries in Europe and Asia will contribute to market growth."
However, a multitude of scientific, ethical, social and financial challenges continue to beset the commercialisation of stem cells. Currently, regulatory frameworks in most countries are at an evolutionary stage, and market participants may find it difficult to prove the benefits of stem cell therapies over existing drugs and secure reimbursement. In addition, human clinical trials of stem cell therapies may also pose a problem.
"Embryonic stem cell research has been mired in controversy with opposition from several ethical and social quarters besides which the science surrounding embryonic stem cells is itself in a very nascent stage," says Mr. Kambhammettu. "In addition, owing to the high cost of development, these therapies are expected to be very expensive, and procuring reimbursement could be an uphill task."
To support rapid market development and improve their chances of success in a high-risk market, participants need to focus on developing stronger proof-of-principle models. Strategic alliances with hospitals and medical centres of excellence will also provide synergistic benefits to both parties.
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World Stem Cell Therapeutics Markets