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Stem cell therapies face commercial challenges despite promising pipeline, study says

A new report states that while steady progress in clinical research and increasing evidence of product effectiveness are significant driving factors for growth in the stem cell therapies market, a number of obstacles remain before they become widely commercially viable.

The stem cell therapy pipeline as a whole is relatively large, with 330 products in active development across all stages. Indeed, R&D within the sector is gaining momentum as candidates move into clinical development and the results of clinical studies become apparent, clarifying the therapeutic potential of stem cell therapy.

London-based GBI Research conducted the study. Managing analyst Rodrigo Gutierrez Gamboa said, "There remains a significant divide between the number of stem cell therapeutic applications currently available for patients and the number of research programs investigating the wider medical applications of stem-cell-based therapies.

"Stem cells are currently being used for a modest variety of indications, with skin and blood stem cells representing the majority of therapeutic uses. The stem cell industry is pursuing a broad base of therapeutic applications, and this is evident in the R&D efforts observed in the sector as over 15 therapy areas are being targeted by the stem cell industry in over 1,000 clinical trials."

Despite promising recent developments within the field of stem cell technology, converting its scientific potential into real therapeutic value still represents a significant challenge.

GBI Research's survey of key opinion leaders revealed that the stem cells field is still surrounded by a wide variety of obstacles, most notably the high cost of research, which participants stated was the biggest factor limiting stem cell progress.

"Manufacturers will need to adopt novel strategies to realize their full potential," Gutierrez Gamboa said. "It is likely that manufacturing methodologies will use partially or fully automated systems in future approaches, in order to improve yield, purity and cost-effectiveness."