The Golden State Warriors, the current US basketball champions – and your favorite Stem Cell Agency’s neighbors in Oakland – have a slogan, “Strength in Numbers”. That could well apply to the field of Regenerative Medicine because the field is growing in numbers, growing in strength, and growing in influence.
Yesterday, the Alliance for Regenerative Medicine (ARM), the organization that represents the field, held its annual State of the Industry briefing in San Francisco, detailing what happened in 2018. It was pretty impressive.
In fact, just the number of people in the room was impressive. More than 800 RSVP’d for the event, more than for any previous meeting, but even then the room was filled over capacity with many standing around the edges because there were no seats left.
ARM itself is growing, 32 percent last year, and now has more than 300 members. Other impressive numbers include:
- 906 gene and cell therapy companies worldwide
- 484 gene and cell therapy companies in the US alone
- 1,028 clinical trials taking place worldwide
- 598 of those clinical trials (58 percent of the total) are targeting cancer
- 59,575 patients are slated to be enrolled in those trials
All those numbers are up dramatically on last year. You can see all the details on the ARM website.
Another sign the industry is growing comes in the amount of money being invested. When people are willing to pony up hard cash you know it’s a sign they believe in you. Last year the field raised $13.8 billion worldwide, that’s up a whopping 73 percent on 2017. That represented a strong year across all fronts from corporate partnerships to Initial Public Offerings (several CIRM-supported companies such as Orchard Therapeutics and Forty Seven Inc. are in that number) and venture capital investments.
Clearly there are still challenges ahead, such as figuring out ways to pay for these therapies when they are approved so that they are available to the people who need them, the patients.
One of the issues that is going to be front and center in 2019 is reimbursement and developing new payment models. But that in itself is a sign of a maturing field. In past years the emphasis was on developing new treatments. Now that those are in the pipeline, we’re working on ways to pay for them.