Although long overlooked, exosomes are rapidly gaining momentum as a novel strategy for accessing the therapeutic effects of stem cells without the risks and difficulties of administering the cells to patients.
Although exosomes were discovered more than 30 years ago, it was not until recently that the scientific community began to give credit to exosomes for a range of promising traits. Ten years ago in 2006, there were only 76 articles published about exosomes on PubMed.gov. Today, there are more than 4,400 articles published about exosomes on PubMed.gov, of which approximately 25% were released in the past year.
When exosome publications are analyzed, U.S. authors have published approximately 40% of the articles and Chinacomes in second place. When the term “exosome” is searched in the scientific literature, Dr. Susanne Gabrielsson from the Karolinska Institutet in Sweden is the leading author, with 37 articles.
When the term “extracellular vesicles” is searched, Unicyte AG, a regenerative medicine unit of Fresenius Medical Care, takes the lead. Headquartered in Switzerland, the company has published more than 100 papers on exosomes and extracellular vesicles in combination with Prof. Giovanni Camussi.
On the venture capital front, there has also been a great deal of market activity. In January 2016, Exosome Diagnostics closed $60 million in Series B financing, which it followed in July 2017 with $30 million in Series C financing. Similarly,Codiak Biosciences was launched in 2016 when the MD Anderson Cancer Center joined two venture capital firms to form the company with more than $80 million in series A and B financing. On November 29, 2017, CodiakBioSciences added another $76.5 million in Series C financing. In May 2017, ExCoBio Inc. raised US $11 million in a Series A funding round.
Companies leading the charge in the area of exosome therapeutics include Anjarium Biosciences, Capricor Therapeutics, Codiak Biosciences, Creative Medical Technology Holdings, Everkine Corporation, Evox Therapeutics, Exogenus Therapeutics, Kimera Labs, ReNeuron, and Unicyte AG, a subsidiary of Fresenius Medical Care.
Numerous life science companies have also launched tools and systems to support exosome research, including Beckman Coulter, Exiqon, System Biosciences (SBI), Lonza, Thermo Fisher, Qiagen, ZenBio, and more. In particular, Lonza made aggressive investments in the sector through its May 2017 acquisition of HansaBioMed Life Sciences and investment into Exosomics.
Similarly, techniques for large-scale clinical-grade manufacture of stem cell exosomes is becoming a focal point within the industry, as highlighted by a recent partnership between RoosterBio and Exopharmand Lonza’s strategic acquisitions.
Exosome Market Forces
Exosome-related technologies have been developing rapidly over the past few years and substantial growth is expected for the market as they get integrated into the fields of liquid biopsy, precision medicine and regenerative medicine. In particular, cancer derived exosomes influence the invasive potential of cells by regulating angiogenesis, metastasis, and immunity, making them an extremely useful source of biomarkers for use in cancer detection, diagnosis, and therapeutic selection.
While exosomes derived from multiple stem cell types are being explored, mesenchymal stem cell (MSC) derived exosomes are best represented within the scientific literature and global patent activity.