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WideCells well-placed for stem cell revolution

"With multiple value upside triggers ahead, including imminent maiden revenues from CellPlan, I very much look forward to the opportunities ahead" - CEO João Andrade
stem cell
Many in the medical community think stem cell technology has the potential to transform the industry

One company, several arms

WideCells Group PLC (LON:WDC) has three separate businesses all housed under the same company, the biggest of which is currently CellPlan, the world’s first stem cell healthcare insurance plan.

While stem cell storage costs a few thousand pounds, the cost of the treatments that use them can run into the hundreds of thousands.

WATCH: WideCells' Alan Greenberg on the 'extraordinary' opportunities for WideAcademy

For an average premium of £150 per year, CellPlan provides insurance for up to €1mln of treatment, travel, accommodation and repatriation costs.

Following the recent award of a licence from Portuguese regulators at the beginning of June, CellPlan is now authorised to be sold in three countries – the UK, Spain and Portugal.

WideCells entered the year with a definitive agreement with the UK’s largest cord blood bank, Biovault, to market and sell its product to both new and existing customers of the facility.

READ: WideCells poised to deliver first revenues from CellPlan

WATCH: Launch of CellPlan set to generate maiden revenues, says CEO

With that licence in hand, the launch of CellPlan to Biovault stem cell storage customers is anticipated to follow later this month which should generate the plan’s maiden revenues.

Institute of Stem Cell Technology

WideCells has established the Institute of Stem Cell Technology which is based in the University of Manchester Innovation Centre. It focuses on stem cell research and regenerative medicine, and the company is already exploiting the commercial potential of this facility.

At the end of last year it inked a letter of intent with a California-based medical device company that could be worth up to £100,000.

Qigenix agreed to pay the sum in three stages so it can use WideCells' Institute of Stem Cell Technology to undertake some research.

Blood banking operations

WideCells’ third revenue stream comes from its blood banking operations, for which the group inked two more outlying deals at the end of January to take it into the rapidly expanding Brazilian umbilical cord cell storage market.

Between them, the two new “reputable” storage and processing facilities had more than 5,000 high net worth clients on their books.

READ: WideCells moves into fast-growing Brazilian market

The Brazilian cord blood banking market is projected to be worth almost US$450mln by 2023, making it the largest in South America’s “booming” stem cell industry.

In all, there are 500 of these banks dotted around the world; however, the top ten banks store around half the samples.

WideAcademy

Last but not least is WideAcademy which is still in its infancy. It’s WideCells’ education and training division, designed to promote awareness of the benefits of stem cell storage.

The plan is to work with strategic partners in the tech and education sector to produce and deliver informative and easily-digestible content and courseware.

READ: WideCells trying to educate public on stem cell technology

For London-listed WideCells, the venture is something of win-win. It expects WideAcademy to be profitable on its own by charging for access to some of the resources, while at the same time helping to boost interest in its other businesses.

There are some big names on board, too. Apple Inc’s (NASDAQ:AAPL) former head of education, Alan Greenberg, is heading up the WideAcademy team as the division’s senior vice president, while Jimmy leach, ex-head of digital communications at Downing Street, is the editor-in-chief.

Latest results…

WideCells published its maiden results for the year to 31 December 2016 back in March, having only listed last summer.

Like most developing companies, the group - which raised £2mln when it floated on the London Stock Exchange main market - only had revenues of £25,000 for the full-year to December 31 2016, down from £50,644 a year earlier, while its loss for the year increased to £1.361mln, up from £213,056 a year earlier reflecting higher administration costs following flotation.

But WideCells had cash and cash equivalents of £1.149mln at the year-end, up from £33,753 a year earlier.

That figure should be a little healthier now, given that it raised £649,000 through a private placing back in April.

WATCH: CEO Andrade ‘very pleased’ with fundraise

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