Regenerative medicine promises realized

The first annual Translational Regenerative Medicine Forum that was held April 6-10, 2010, and sponsored by the Regenerative Medicine Foundation highlighted the future promise and needs in this field encompassing succinctly:

  • replacement tissues and organs
  • cell therapies to restore function

Other issues addressed include the perennial discussion of policy, funding and the challenges of stem cells, both for embryonic and pluripotent stem cells.

The specific applications discussed at the forum included:

  • regeneration of the pancreas' islet cells to restore insulin production for diabetics
  • application of regenerative medicine to treatment of battlefield injuries
  • cell applications to degenerative retinal disease
  • outpatient procedure to regenerate disc tissue
  • injectable therapy to treat heart tissue after heart attack

Given the thrust of the forum, as a forward-looking event that looked at challenges of the field, the promise of new developments and the needs of regenerative medicine, there is a tendency to underestimate the extent the current successful status of regenerative medicine.  (Of course, the forum did include presentations by 18 regenerative medicine technologies seeking potential investment from VC groups like DeNovo Ventures, Excel Venture Management, InterSouth Partners, Livingston Securities, Proteus Ventures, and Quaker BioVentures.)  As much as the forum focused on the great potential of regenerative medicine market and the challenges it faces, one might say that the forum could not possibly represent the extent to which regenerative medicine promises have already been realized.  Here are some examples:

  • The global market for cell therapy and tissue engineering technologies is currently $6.9 billion per year, growing at an aggregate 18%.
  • The global market includes $4.35 billion from orthopedics and musculoskeletal applications, $679 million from skin/integumentary applications, $374 million from dental/oral surgery applications and $468 million from cardiology applications.
  • There are currently hundreds of active companies in this global market.
  • The top five major medtech companies account for a total of $4.3 billion in regenerative medicine revenues annually.

Indeed, the discussion of promise in the field of regenerative medicine — from the standpoint of patients treated, clinical problems solved, future market realized and all of the above — remains huge and, to a great and practical extent, very much within reach.  By our projections, the advances in approved products, clinical applications and resulting market for regenerative medicine will reach $32 billion annually by 2018.

For further detail, see Report #S520.