Wednesday, September 07, 2011

U of Colorado Opens Cord Blood Bank: What About Cord Blood Stocks

University of Colorado recently opened a public cord blood bank, funded by the federal government. Donations are accepted from almost anyone and the cord blood is available to those in need.

Cord blood is blood that comes from the umbilical cords of babies, and contains a significant amount of hematopoietic stem cells. Specialized cord blood banks, both private and public, are available to store this blood. Cord blood stem cells are considered far superior to stem cells from bone marrow. Parents often have their baby's cord blood preserved in the event it may be needed at some point in the future for treatment of their child's or the child's sibling's cancer or genetic disease. Numerous diseases have been treated with cord blood. For a lot more detail on cord blood and how it is collected, stored, and used, go to

The cord blood industry continues to grow. Even Richard Branson, of Virgin Records and Virgin Atlantic Airways fame, set up Virgin Health, a cord blood bank. Investors have a two-pronged approach to this investment industry: owning the stocks of the cord blood banks or owning the companies that use cord blood to develop cures.

PerkinElmer, Inc. (PKI) owns ViaCell, a Cambridge, Massachusetts company which sells ViaCord, a product which is used to preserve baby's umbilical cord blood. They also research and other therapeutic uses of umbilical cord blood-derived and adult-derived stem cells. The stock trades at 12 times forward earnings and pays a yield of 1.3%.

Baxter International Inc. (BAX) makes blood collection bags for umbilical cord blood and develop adult stem-cell therapies. They also own a patent for assembling and methods to process cord blood in a sterile fashion to avoid exposure to bacterial contamination and to disburse the introduction of cryopreservation solution into cord blood at a desired rate, thereby avoiding damage or trauma to the cord blood cells. The stock has a forward price to earnings ratio of 12 and pays a yield of 2.3%.

Celgene (CELG) is a New Jersey company that is involved in the discovery, production, and marketing of therapies designed to treat cancer and immune-inflammatory-related diseases. They own LifeBank USA, a cord blood bank. The forward PE is 14, but does not pay a dividend.

Amgen Inc. (AMGN) is also funding research into cord blood extraction, preservation, and storage. The stock has a forward PE of 10 and sports a yield of 2.1%.

China Cord Blood Corporation (CO) provides cord blood collection, and stem cell storage services. The company is based in Beijing, China. The stock does not pay a dividend but trades at 12 times earnings.

For a free list of cord blood and stem cell stocks, which can be downloaded, updated, and sorted, go to

Disclosure: Author did not own any of the above at the time the article was written.


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