‘We plan to extend our expertise in stem cell therapy’

‘We plan to extend our expertise in stem cell therapy’

With a multiple product basket StemOne Biologicals aim to grow rapidly. Chaitanya Purandare, Chairman and Managing Director StemOne Biologicals shares the company’s future plans with Usha Sharma

Could you please share the inception of StemOne Biologicals?

The company was started in 2005 as a private umbilical cord blood bank. At its time of inception, it was the first cord blood bank in Maharashtra and the second in India. In 2008, the company changed its name to StemOne Biologicals. This was done to reflect the diversifying nature of the businesses added to the company’s portfolio. In addition to cord blood, we started peripheral blood SC cryopreservation for AML/CML patients and initiated autologous bone marrow stem cell therapy. We therefore diversified from a pure cord blood company to one encompassing all aspects of stem cells, from their cryopreservation to their utilization. StemOne adequately represented that aspect of business.

How are your offerings different from the others in the domestic market?

We at StemOne Biologicals have a big basket and currently offer long and short term cryopreservation of multisource stem cells and stem cell therapy.

Which of these holds more service holds more promise in the future and why?

The therapy portfolio holds more promise into the future. This is mainly due the fact that the service involves treatment of degenerative diseases. Since, these diseases have no treatment as they stand, stem cell therapy provides the only hope for an improvement in the quality of life for these patients. Alternately, the fact that one can now show that stem cells actually help in treatment of disease that is being done successfully and economically in India. It gives a fillip to the cord blood banking industry. The banking concept is no longer considered an ‘insurance for the future’ idea. Success in the stem cell therapy arena actually helps clients understand the need and immediate use of cryo preserved cord blood for the child in the first six years after birth.

I see both these services growing and complimenting each other in the long term. In the market there are few other companies offering similar services.

What gives you an edge in the market?

The cord blood industry has about nine other players. They are geographically spread out in the country. We are managing our hold as to grow geographically by offering innovative pricing policies in comparison to our competitors. Another important factor in the market is the fact that we have started and successfully established ourselves in the stem cell therapy niche in the country. Being the only company that offers all stem cell related services (one stop stem cell service) gives our company and brand better weightage in the cord blood banking business. In the therapy arena, there are only three other competitors, again geographically well spread out and since all companies have different clinical areas of expertise, the market share and target population is different.

Besides, we have competed in our niche by initiating and successfully integrating additional services (stem cell therapy) into our original portfolios. This both complements as well as enhances the brand of the company in the market.

Tell us unique feature of your service?

Our success in the stem cell industry in a span of just 10 months is the outstanding feature of our company.

At present how many clients have enrolled and how do you plan to cater to their needs?

We have 180 enrolled clients till the end of this financial year. Our clients get personal follow-up upto the day of the delivery including personal, home visit, presentations, and interaction with the clinicians prior to delivery.

What about tie ups? Any prospects there?

We are aiming for more tie-ups in the stem cell therapy arena. These would be with hospitals in Maharashtra (including Mumbai), Madhya Pradesh and Rajasthan. We plan to extend our expertise in stem cell therapy to these states. The time line for this is one year. We are currently in talks to expand the cord blood banking association within Sri Lanka in the next six months.

And what about international foothold, any expansions there?

We have started a liaison office in Nigeria (1st Jan 2010) and hope to extend the same to South Africa and East Africa within the next year. Countries of the Middle East are also within our scope of expansion. We look to expand to Sri Lanka for our cord blood banking portfolio.

How are you positioned in terms of manpower and what revenues are you looking at in the current year?

At present we have total manpower strength of 42 employees, which will be increased as the need arises. From the current year we are targeting revenue of rupees six crore.

Please share your future plans?

We would be expanding our R&D in the field of autologous stem cell therapy and adult SC in order to provide better and more effective protocols for treatment of degenerative disease. The company would look to expand in the Indian Ocean RIM countries in the next fiscal year thereby making the StemOne brand global in nature.

u.sharma@expressindia.com