On April 25, 2008, Ice Miller hosted Dr. Mervin Yoder, with the Indiana University School of Medicine, for a presentation on umbilical cord research and stem cells. Dr. Yoder is a professor of pediatrics focusing his research efforts on stem cell transplantation. He also serves on the Board of Directors of EndGenitor Technologies and is the medical director for The Genesis Bank in Indianapolis.
At the conclusion of Dr. Yoder's remarks, one of the participants asked about the venture capital opportunities for commercialization of stem cell research. According to Dr. Yoder the outlook is promising, especially in light of recent legislation at the Indiana statehouse that established a public umbilical cord blood bank in Indiana. The end goal is to be able to collect, screen and maintain as many samples, or units as possible. These units can then be used for treatment or, if deemed inappropriate for transplantation, they can be used for further research.
Dr. Yoder spoke specifically about his work with two promising life science companies: EndGenitor Technologies and The Genesis Bank. Founded in 2004, The Genesis Bank serves as a cord blood bank and was founded by physicians and scientists specializing in cord blood therapies, neonatal medicine, and cell and tissue preservation. Currently The Genesis Bank has banked over 4,000 cord blood samples.
EndGenitor Technologies' mission is to isolate, expand and commercialize novel umbilical cord blood stem cells for the emerging field of self-therapeutics. EndGenitor has licensed (from Indiana University Research & Technology Corporation) technology relating to proprietary, novel, and highly proliferative stem cell populations that mature into the lining of new blood vessels.
Both of these companies are examples of life science start-ups, headquartered in Indiana, that are focused on therapies and research relating to stem cells.
Dr. Yoder described stem cells as, "an incredible biological resource." As more and more companies look to fund stem cell research, and as the research is commercialized and brought to market, we can expect to see new promising treatment options for a variety of blood diseases.