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January 5, 2007 Times News Network

BCCL buys stake in Life Cell

Bennett, Coleman and Company Limited (BCCL) has taken a stake in stem cell banking and research company Life Cell. Launched in November 2004, Life Cell has a state-of-the-art stem cell processing and banking facility near Chennai conforming to the standards of American Association of Blood Banks and US FDA. The company currently has 21 marketing and collection centers across India and has enrolled over 5,000 customers.

Life Cell recently made a foray into international markets with the launch of its Dubai operations and will soon expand presence to Malaysia, Saudi Arabia, Sri Lanka, Singapore and Pakistan. The company has a technology tie-up with Cryo-Cell International (CCI), USA, which is a pioneer in the field of cord blood banking.

V R Chandramouli, CEO of Life Cell said, “LifeCell is India’s first family cord blood bank to bring umbilical cord stem cell banking to the country. We plan to foray into public banking shortly and also intend to bring in clinical trials (on stem cell based therapies) and manufacturing partnership to the country.”

Umbilical cord blood is usually discarded after child birth and is a rich source of stem cells. Stem cells are master cells that can regenerate into other types of cells and can help cure over 75 ailments. The stem cells collected from a baby will be perfectly compatible for the child and will have 25% chances of matching his or her siblings. Storage banks like LifeCell preserve the stem cells for individuals till need arises.