Thursday, September 17, 2015

Umbilical Cord Blood Breakthroughs - Time for Cord Blood Stocks?

Cord blood is blood that comes from umbilical cords, and contains a significant amount of hematopoietic stem cells. Specialized cord blood banks are available to store this blood. Cord blood stem cells are considered far superior to stem cells from bone marrow. Parents often have their newborn'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. As an example, several years ago, The Fred Hutchinson Cancer Center in Seattle, Washington made a major breakthrough in the use of umbilical cord blood to treat blood cancers such as leukemia. The discovery dramatically decreases the recovery time of white blood cells.

Even the U.S. House of Representatives recently passed a bill to extend the federal cord blood program. For additional information on cord blood and how it is collected, stored, and used, go to

The cord blood industry is significant and continues to grow. Even Richard Branson, of Virgin Records and Virgin America (VA) fame, is in the cord blood business, setting up Virgin Health, a cord blood bank.

Investors can choose either the cord blood banks or the companies that use cord blood to develop cures. Here are some stocks that participate in the cord blood business. Be aware that some of these companies have low market caps and are very speculative.

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 PE ratio of 9 and pays a yield of 1.3%.

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 has a PE of 34 and a yield of 0.6%.

Celgene (CELG) This New Jersey company 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 P/E is 47.6.

Amgen Inc. (AMGN) is also funding research into cord blood extraction, preservation, and storage. The stock has a PE of 20.4 and a yield of 2.1.

Cryo-Cell International (CCEL) This is a Florida based cord blood stem cell bank, specializing in the family market. The stock has a PE ratio of 92.

ThermoGenesis (KOOL) This California company designs, makes, and sells automated blood processing systems for the manufacture, preservation, and delivery of cell therapies. They are involved in a joint venture with GE Healthcare, a unit of General Electric Company (GE) to distribute the AXP[TM] AutoXpress Platform, a closed and automated system for harvesting mononuclear cells from cord blood. They have recently generated negative earnings.

Cord Blood America Inc. (CBAI) One of the cord blood bankers, this Los Angeles company is involved in the collection, testing, processing, and preservation of the blood from umbilical cords for use in future stem cell therapy. They own the Cord Partners umbilical cord blood banking company. They have recently generated negative earnings. The price to earnings ratio is 2.0.

For a free downloadable Excel database of cord blood and stem cell stocks, go to

Disclosure: Author didn't own any of the above at the time the article was written.


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