Investing in Stem Cell Stocks: Growth Industry of the Future?

by: Stockerblog

Last Friday, the state of California distributed $45 million in research grants to approximately 20 state universities and nonprofit laboratories for stem cell research.

Four other states, Connecticut, Illinois, Maryland, and New Jersey, are also funding stem cell research. California is contributing almost twice as much as the Federal government towards research. Arnold Schwarzenegger, Governor of California, said "Today, we are making history."

According to, the research into stem cells involves finding out how an organism develops from a single cell and how healthy cells replace damaged ones. This research can lead to cell-based therapies to treat various diseases.

The difference between stem cells and other cells is that they renew themselves for long periods of time from cell division and they can be made to become cells with special functions. Embryonic stem cells, as opposed to adult stem cells, are isolated stem cells from human embryos that are grown in labs. The embryos used in this research were produced for infertility purposes through in vitro fertilization and later donated for research with the donor’s consent. Research is being done to treat diseases such as Parkinson's disease, diabetes, and heart disease.

There are only a limited number of stocks which are pure plays or semi-pure plays in the stem cell industry. However, if governmental funding increases, if private research continues, and if there are any major breakthroughs, this could be a very huge industry. The following list also includes cord blood stocks, a related industry.

Aastrom Biosciences
(ASTM): This Michigan based company is involved in the development of cell products for the regeneration or repair of human tissues, based on its proprietary Tissue Repair Cell [TRC] technology. Negative earnings, price/sales ratio is 211.

Advanced Cell Technology
(ACTC.OB): This company is involved in the development and marketing of human stem cell technology in the area of regenerative medicine and stem cell therapy. Negative earnings, P/S is 64.

Alexion Pharmaceuticals (NASDAQ:ALXN): This Connecticut based company is involved in the development of biologic therapeutic products for the treatment of hematologic and cardiovascular disorders, autoimmune diseases, and cancer. Negative earnings, P/S is 864.

ARIAD Pharmaceuticals (NASDAQ:ARIA): This Massachusetts company is involved in the development of medicines for the treatment of cancer by regulating cell signaling with small molecules. Their cancer products are used to treat sarcomas, hormone refractory prostate cancer, and endometrial cancer. Negative earnings, P/S is 367.

AVI Biopharma (AVII): The Oregon based company is involved in the development of therapeutic products based on NEUGENE antisense technology to treat various diseases. Negative earnings, P/S is 100.

[BTRNQ.PK]: This company is involved in the development of therapeutics, therapeutic devices, and therapeutic regimens designed to suppress undesired immune responses, and enhance the body’s ability to accept donor cells, tissues, organs, and stem cell transplants. Negative earnings, P/S is .6.

Brainstorm Cell Therapeutics
[BCLI.OB]: This New York based company develops stem cell therapeutic products based on technologies which facilitate the in vitro differentiation of bone marrow stem cells from neural-like cells. They use bone marrow stem cells to produce neuron-like cells for the treatment of multiple sclerosis, Parkinson's disease, and other diseases. No earnings, no revenues.

Celera Group (NASDAQ:CRA): This NYSE company, founded in 1937, is involved in the discovery and validation of new diagnostic markers, using proprietary genomics and proteomics discovery platforms and diagnostic products based on those markers. They collaborate with Abbott Laboratories (NYSE:ABT), Genentech (Private:DNA), General Electric (NYSE:GE) and Merck (NYSE:MRK). Negative earnings, P/S is 24.

Cellgene (NASDAQ:CELG): This New Jersey company is involved in the discovery, production, and marketing of therapies designed to treat cancer and immune-inflammatory-related diseases. Their primary product includes THALOMID, for the treatment of erythema nodosum leprosum. Last year, the company received patent on placental stem cell recovery. P/E is 316, P/S is 21.

Cord Blood America [CBAI.OB]: This Los Angeles company is involved in the collection, testing, processing, and preservation of the blood from umbilical cords for use in future stem cell therapy. Negative earnings, P/S is 1.7.

Cryo-Cell International (OTCPK:CCEL): This is a Florida based family cord blood stem cell bank. P/S is 1.7.

Curis, Inc. (NASDAQ:CRIS): This Massachusetts based company is involved in the discovery, development, and marketing of products that modulate key regulatory signaling pathways which control the repair and regeneration of human tissues and organs. It collaborates with Genentech, Procter & Gamble (NYSE:PG), and Wyeth (WYE). Negative earnings, P/S is 4.9.

Dendreon Corporation
(NASDAQ:DNDN): This company is involved in the discovery, development, and marketing of active immunotherapies, monoclonal antibodies, and small molecule product candidates to treat cancer. They manufacture the DACSÒSC stem cell enrichment device. Negative earnings, very high P/S of 1500.

Geron (NASDAQ:GERN): This Menlo Park, California company develops cell-based therapies derived from human embryonic stem cell platforms for treatment of various diseases. Negative earnings, P/S is 186.

Integra Lifesciences Holdings
(NASDAQ:IART) This New Jersey company develops, manufactures, and sells medical devices, implants, biomaterials, and instruments to the neurosurgery, surgery, and soft tissue repair markets. P/E 45, P/S 3.4.

Invitrogen Corporation
(IVGN): This California company sells products and services which support academic and government research institutions, pharmaceutical companies and biotechnology companies, including tools for gene acquisition, gene cloning, gene expression, and gene analysis techniques. Negative earnings, P/S is 2.6.

LifeCell Corporation (LIFC): This New Jersey company develops and sells human-derived tissue-based products for use in reconstructive, orthopedic, and urogynecologic surgery. They produce a three-dimensional structured regenerative human tissue matrix. P/E 45, P/S 6.3.

MedImmune (MEDI): This Maryland company develops, manufactures, and markets products for the treatment of infectious diseases, inflammatory diseases, and cancer. P/E 167, P/S 6.2.

MultiCell Technologies [MCET.OB]: The company develops and markets therapeutics based on new drug candidates and patented drug development technology platforms to treat MS-related chronic fatigue, infectious disease, cancer, and autoimmune disease. They also produce immortalized human hepatocyte cell lines. Negative earnings, P/S is 11.2.

(OSTE): This New Jersey company processes and distributes allograft bone tissue used for transplants. P/S is 1.3.

Opexa Therapeutics, Inc. (NASDAQ:OPXA): This company, based in Texas, develops and markets autologous cellular therapies for the treatment of multiple sclerosis, rheumatoid arthritis, cardiovascular diseases, and diabetes, based on stem cell technologies. No revenues, no earnings.

StemCells Inc.
(NASDAQ:STEM): This Palo Alto company is involved in the discovery and development of adult stem cell therapeutics for treating damage to the central nervous system, liver, and pancreas. Negative earnings, P/S is a high 1771.

ThermoGenesis (NASDAQ:KOOL): This California company designs, manufactures, and markets automated blood processing systems that facilitate the manufacture, preservation, and delivery of cell therapies. P/S 13.6.

ViaCell (VIAC): This Massachusetts company sells ViaCord, a product which is used to preserve a baby's umbilical cord blood. They also research other therapeutic uses of umbilical cord blood-derived and adult-derived stem cells. Negative earnings, P/S is 3.9.

Disclosure: Author does not own any of the above.