Driven by science and invested in a passion for quality, STEMCELL Technologies has become a global provider of cell separation products and specialized cell culture media for hematopoietic, mesenchymal, neural, mammary, epithelial and pluripotent stem cell research.
STEMCELL Technologies delivers tailor-made products to more than 70 countries worldwide with the goal to help and foster further research within the life sciences industry.
“We provide the picks and shovels for the stem cell gold rush,” said Allen Eaves, President and CEO of STEMCELL Technologies during a recent interview. “We’re supporting the emerging field of cellular therapies which consists of regenerative medicine, tissue engineering, immunotherapy and gene therapy. We’re giving scientists the tools to support these areas and to help move research from the lab to clinical trials and eventual therapies.”
As CEO of the company, Eaves is dedicated to furthering the industry and living out the company’s motto of Scientists Helping Scientists. But how does one run a privately-owned biotech company that develops specialty cell culture media, cell separation products and ancillary reagents for life science research? Eaves’ answer is by engaging with, and responding to feedback from, customers.
“My job is looking over the horizon to see new research needs and how STEMCELL Technologies can take that understanding and develop products that will lead to outstanding research and new therapies,” commented Eaves. “I personally go to research conferences to talk to leaders in the field; I also read conference reports from our scientists and incorporate feedback from our sales staff who have strong relationships with our customers.
It is this determination that has allowed STEMCELL Technologies to establish itself in Vancouver, Canada as well as the rest of the world as an award-winning company whose products have an excellent reputation for quality and reliability.
There are three things that set STEMCELL Technologies apart from the rest: product customization, responsiveness and training.
STEMCELL Technologies offers over 2,000 catalog items that enable the isolation of desired cells and their growth in culture. Working slowly and carefully to make many of its products more regulatory friendly for clinical applications, STEMCELL Technologies eventually wants to help contribute to curing major diseases.
“The novelty, quality and standardization of our products really make them sought after and used by researchers,” said Eaves.
STEMCELL Technologies offers customization of cell separation products as well as providing contract research services that help scientists in bio-tech and pharmaceutical companies with their toxicity studies and new compound screening.
When it comes to improving the quality of their products, STEMCELL Technologies is constantly listening to feedback from customers on how to make its products function better as well as meet new needs.
“If a competitor’s product works better, our sales reps will advise the customer to use the better product, but they will then relay this information back to our R&D department so we can make an even better product.”
Thirdly, in addition to rigorously pre-screened reagents and quality control processes, STEMCELL Technologies knows that a number of other factors contribute to achieving consistent results, such as training.
STEMCELL Technologies not only provides in-house education programs and training courses for its employees, but this same training model is available for its customers globally.
“We offer courses around the world,” said Eaves. “We’re just all over helping people.”
Support for Canadian Research
STEMCELL Technologies is a big supporter of the Canadian Stem Cell Foundation, according to Eaves. The Foundation has recently asked the federal government to make available $500 million for stem cell research over the next 10 years, and this would be matched by $500 million from The Canadian Health Charities and another $500 million from Canadian Industry. Projecting its growth forward, STEMCELL Technologies will be providing roughly $350 million of this match from Industry.
“STEMCELL Technologies as a smaller company, has already invested over $70 million in research over the last 20 years” said Eaves. “However, over the next 10 years, we will be putting $350 million into our research which is roughly 13 percent of our projected sales. This challenge to the Federal government, to match funding by the Health Charities and Industry, has the potential to make Canada a global leader in providing cellular therapies for its citizens.”
“How do we turn our Canadian health care system from a major cost centre into a significant revenue generator?” continued Eaves. “Healthcare is the biggest industry in the world and we need more Canadian companies making products that support it. However, these products have to be so good that the rest of the world wants to buy them. STEMCELL is an example of such a company with only 4 percent of its sales in Canada. As 50 percent of its $100 million in sales are from the U.S., 25 percent from Europe and 20 percent from Asia/Pacific, these export dollars are of significant value to Canada’s economy and help support our health care system.
Every company has goals of expansion and STEMCELL Technologies is no different. Within the next five years, the company plans to open another production facility on the East Coast and another in Europe.
“We double in size every five years,” said Eaves. “The goal is to keep growing. We’re a global company and we’ll continue to foster that. We have employees in 10 countries and distributors in about 60 other countries. Our goal is that any time you walk into a lab, anywhere in the world, you are going to see a STEMCELL product being used.”