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Market foresighting: stem cells


This research was conducted to provide an overview of the current market and future possibilities for stem cell research and development in Scotland. Stem cells are cells that have the capacity to self renew and differentiate into specialised cell types. Their uses are mainly in the field of regenerative and therapeutic medicine; however, a number of ethical and legal challenges around the use of stem cells remain, and widespread application of stem cell therapies is believed to be more than ten years away. Scotland is currently home to two world leaders in stem cell research: the Roslin Institute and the Institute for Stem Cell Research (ISCR).


The study took the form of desk-based research, looking at: market dynamics and emerging markets; emerging technologies and platforms; drivers and trends; the IP (intellectual property) landscape; deal space; challenges; the value chain and business models; the Scottish context; current and expected players and stakeholders; market demand; and foresighting.


Among the key findings of the study were the following: the patent environment is currently much more restrictive in Europe than in North America, therefore pooling of IP or cross-licensing may be required as the field matures; stem cell technologies may in future be applied to areas including oncology, cardiovascular disease, metabolic disorders and primary immunodeficiencies; the Scottish academic and commercial stem cell base is strong; opportunities over the next ten years include pharmaceutical drug development and organ regeneration; gaps in the market include a lack of underlying mechanisms and controls, and knowledge of how to manipulate stem cells indirectly using growth factors and other agents; and barriers to be overcome include availability of embryonic stem cells and a lack of evidence on the use of stem cells as therapeutics.


There were no recommendations as this was not within the remit of the report.

Author ITI Life Sciences
Published Year 2010
Report Type Research
  • Business infrastructure
    Supporting key sectors
  • Sectors
    Life Sciences