Salveo Swiss Biotechnology and Cryo-Save form part of Ecsponent Limited’s investment strategy to acquire interests and develop technology businesses with high intellectual property and high barriers to entry.
 
Ecsponent’s investment in the biotech sector provides South African clients with international, industry leading stem cell storage within the biotechnology arena and is an example of the success in combining the technical excellence of these leading biotech organisations with Ecsponent’s capital provision and local business expertise.
 
According to the latest MoneyTree Report from PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC),the biotechnology industry landed a massive $2.3 billion worth of venture capital investments during the second quarter of this year—a 32% increase over the prior quarter. This marks the biggest quarterly investment in biotech in the United States since the MoneyTree report first came out in 1995.
 
Strong pipelines, innovative treatments, impressive results, and the growing demand for new therapies, particularly for rare-to-treat diseases, are driving rapid sector growth. The development of personalised treatments are also increasingly gaining momentum.
 
Generally speaking, the healthcare industry and the biotech in particular is regarded by those in the know as a dependable buy-and-hold investment due to worldwide demographic and wealth trends.
 
Here the ageing populations of rich developed countries are destined to require more medical services and products going forward, while at the same time growing numbers of people in emerging markets are able to afford improved medical care.
 
Stem cells – the future of modern medicine
Umbilical cord tissue is the richest source of Mesenchymal stem cells (MSCs) and has significant advantages over those obtained from bone marrow or fat. Mesenchymal stem cells that can be harvested and stored with Salveo and Cryo-Save are believed to be responsible for cell growth, wound healing, and replacing cells that are lost through daily wear and tear and medical conditions. Because of these functions, they have been shown to be effective in the treatment of tissue injury and degenerative diseases.
 
Currently, there are more than five hundred registered clinical trials aimed at evaluating the potential of MSC-based cell therapy worldwide. MSCs have been shown to be effective in the treatment of many diseases, including both immune diseases and non-immune diseases like Parkinson’s disease, type 1 diabetes, heart disease, spinal cord injury, Duchene’s muscular dystrophy, Alzheimer’s disease, strokes, burns, osteoarthritis, rheumatoid arthritis, vision, and hearing loss.
 
And while international stem cell research continues making ongoing advancements into potential new treatments for serious diseases and injuries for which few effective treatments currently exist, Africa remains the only continent that does not have a public stem cell bank.
 
This means that there is a severe global shortage of genetically compatible samples representative of South African demographics. Going forward this creates a massive need for biotech companies across the continent and any investment in this sector will undoubtedly continue to prove a sound and lucrative one.