The stem cell marketplace is complex, with many distinct segments and associated application areas. We sought to understand this marketplace by analyzing the entire stem cell publication landscape and then dissociating the publications into the various market segments. In this manner, the contribution of the individual market segments to the total marketplace can be assessed.
The data presented in this article was collected in May 2016 and therefore reflect the current state of this evolving field.
We harvested all the data focusing on stem cells from the PubMed database and focused our attention on the period 2012 to 2016-year-to-date (2016YTD), which comprised 125,692 publications in total. Figure 1 shows the growth of this field as measured by the number of academic publications.
The overall compound annual growth rate (CAGR) for the period 2012-2015 is 5.39%. Given the overall growth of this field, we sought to segment out the stem cell field based on the various stem cell classes and compare the relative growth rates of the publications (by capturing the publications en bloc for a given stem cell class is a proxy for the growth of the given segment). Figure 2A presents the data for the years 2011 to 2016-year-to-date.
The data presented in Figure 2A provide a side-by-side comparison of the evolution of the stem cell field and illustrate the varying growth in the different stem cell classes. Figure 2B presents a pictorial representation of the data with the purpose to illustrate the relative sizes of the various segments (measured by the height of the bars in Figure 2B). Indeed, as would be expected the largest segment in the stem cells field are the hematopoietic stem cells classes given the long history of studies of this stem cell class (hematopoietic stem cell transplantations have a 40+ operating history).
Pluripotent and mesenchymal stem cells also are relatively large market segments. Taken together, the data from Figures 2A and 2B characterize the growth rate and relative size of the various stem cell markets respectively.
Mesenchymal Stem Cells
There is much interest from a research and therapeutic perspective in the mesenchymal stem cell (MSC) class given their potential key role in vivo in regenerative medicine and cellular therapy. We sought to understand the publications landscape of MSCs and will frame their position in the overall stem cells marketplace. Figure 3 presents the crossover of MSC-focused publications with other keywords as a means to illustrate which “spaces” MSCs are impacting.
The data clearly shows that MSCs cross-over into the following:
Tissue engineering – combination with scaffolds for generating tissue structures
Overall, based on the data presented in Figures 2A and 3 we conclude that MSCs are a key component of the overall stem cells marketplace and they have a penetrance into the cellular therapy and tissue engineering spaces. We also sought to understand the impact of MSCs into clinical trials—this impinges toward the eventual deployment of stem cells into the clinic. Figure 4 presents this data.
Overall, the take-away from Figure 4 is that there is not an en masse deployment of stem cells into clinical trials— it is going to be a much more gradual translation than has been expected due to many complicating factors including the conditioning of the stem cells prior to administration, toxicity, and tumorigenicity concerns.
The Qualitative Nature of the Stem Cells Marketplace, circa 2016
In addition to a quantitative picture of the relative size and growth rate of the stem cells landscape, we sought to understand the qualitative nature of the stem cells field and this was accomplished by capturing all the publications that segregate into a particular stem cell class and displaying their characteristics via a word cloud. The data are presented in Figures 5A, B, C and D.
Trajectory of the Stem Cells Marketplace as Revealed by Publications Analyses
The data in this article provides a snapshot of the current stem cells marketplace as evidenced by the publications record. We believe that for research markets such as stem cells which are granular, fragmented, and global the best means to analyze the entire space is to capture the academic research record (academic publications) en bloc and then analyze them to discern patterns and trends both qualitative and quantitative.
Our data reveals an overall growth rate of this field at 5%, which is in agreement with a generally mature field—indeed the hype factor in the stem cells field has evaporated and its now a long road toward development of applications such as cellular therapeutics as well as tissue engineered products. The initial hopes after the discovery of the iPSC phenomenon of a relatively quick translation into commercial products (cellular therapeutics) has all been dissipated. Now, the emphasis is on deploying stem cells in the near-term for drug discovery and toxicity screening as tools. Over time, we believe that stem cells will yield cellular therapeutics but this will be a long-term endeavor.
Perhaps the nearest-term impact of stem cells is in research efforts and the life sciences research field. This is the driver of revenue generation, which maintains the field and drives product development and innovation by the tools and technology. The 125,000+ publications we have based our analysis on represent the stem cell life science research space and are the building blocks of the broader stem cells field.
Over the next decade, we expect this steady 5% growth of this field, delivery of cellular therapeutics into the clinic as well as a deeper penetrance of the drug discovery and development paradigm driven by stem cells.