The global stem cell market earned revenues of $40.01 billion in 2013 and is estimated to nearly triple to $117.66 billion in 2018 at a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 24.1%, according to a new analysis from Frost & Sullivan. The study covers human adult and embryonic stem cells. While North America is the market leader with more than half of the global stem cell market share, Asia-Pacific is expected to record the highest CAGR during the forecast period. In fact, the APAC stem cell market, which was valued at $5.6 billion in 2013, is projected to increase to $18.71 billion by 2018.
"The overall R&D funding for stem cell research has increased significantly in the past five to 10 years and will reach desired heights in the years to come," said Sanjeev Kumar, Frost & Sullivan healthcare consultant. "The number of venture capital firms investing in stem cell research has risen and government funding agencies have begun to acknowledge the future benefits of the stem cell industry."
While the stiff regulations that previously guarded stem cell research have begun to relax, other legal and ethical issues continue to hamper research. For instance, research institutes that adopt policies addressing concerns surrounding the use of human embryonic tissues may hinder the overall research process, which usually involves several collaborative enterprises. Other market challenges include insurers' reluctance to pay for expensive stem cell therapies and the likelihood that patients themselves will be unable to afford these treatments.
"The global stem cell industry is in an early stage of development, with a handful of small and large participants," said Kumar. "In the near future, mergers, acquisitions and collaborations will accelerate growth, with multinational companies and larger pharmaceutical companies playing a key role in facilitating these activities. As the market evolves, standards and new regulatory frameworks are expected to ease market challenges."
In the meantime, the market's growth potential is being underlined by promising results from clinical trials and the escalating importance of stem cell banking services across the globe. Eventually, the technology is expected to play a crucial function in various areas including neurological disorders, orthopedics, cancer, hematological disorders, injuries and wound care, cardiovascular diseases, spinal cord injuries, diabetes, incontinence and liver disorders. Therapeutics manufacturers also are likely to explore the relevance of stem cells in other areas and combine them with existing applications to enhance treatment options.