Human Longevity, Inc. (HLI), the genomics-based, technology-driven company, has announced that the company has agreed to purchase LifebankUSA, a leader in placental and cord blood banking, along with its proprietary and high-yield method for extracting placental stem cells and related therapeutic programs, and the biomaterials program which includes the marketed product Biovance®, a cell matrix critical to wound healing applications.
LifebankUSA was founded by HLI co-founder Robert J. Hariri, M.D., Ph.D. Approximately 30 employees of LifebankUSA will join HLI. The acquisition is subject to customary closing conditions and is expected to conclude in the first quarter of 2016. Financial details of the deal were not disclosed.
The cord and placental blood and tissue provide high quality DNA from mother and newborn for genome sequencing. Following the closing of the acquisition, HLI will start offering its newborn genome sequencing product along with stem cell banking. Having the newborn genome can provide families with relevant baseline information about their child’s health journey, including the risk of preventable or treatable childhood diseases, food allergies and adverse drug reactions. HLI anticipates offering this product beginning in the second quarter of 2016.
“Stem cells are an important component to understanding and unlocking insights into human biology and human disease. This is a unique acquisition that gives HLI the ability to combine the power of stem cells with newborn genome analysis to offer parents new information and potential treatments for their families,” said J. Craig Venter, Ph.D., Co-founder and CEO, HLI.
Cord and placental blood and tissue are ideal sources of stem cells and biomaterials. Stem cell transplantation has been successfully used in the treatment of many blood cancers, inherited metabolic diseases and congenital and acquired immunological diseases but have the potential to be used for the treatment of a variety of other diseases including cerebral palsy, spinal cord injury, diabetes, stroke and heart disease.
LifebankUSA is unique in offering banking of not only cord blood and tissue cells but also of placental cells and tissues. Their proprietary process yields 60-70% more of a particular type of cell called a CD34+ stem cell which are the critical stem cells for bone marrow and cord blood transplants. Studies have shown that using more CD34+ stem cells can lead to a significant survival advantage in transplant patients. Placental and cord blood and placental tissue also contain mesenchymal-like cells (stem cells which can differentiate into a variety of cell types) which may prove valuable in new treatments.
Dr. Hariri is a pioneer in the use of stem cells and engineered tissue products to treat a variety of life threatening diseases. Dr. Hariri and his team were the first to discover and characterize pluripotent stem cells from the placenta and developed industry-exclusive methods for the extraction of those cells. With these assets, HLI will continue the research to develop unique cell therapies for multiple applications.