Updated on 31 January 2013
APAC stem cell industry faces a severe regulatory bind
The pioneering work of Nobel Laureates Sir John Gurdon and Dr Shinya Yamanaka on reprogramming adult stem cells has opened new vistas in stem cell research. Many countries in the Asia Pacific region are taking big strides in this field. According to GBI Research, the stem cell therapy market in APAC, including China, India, Japan, Singapore and South Korea, is valued at $545 million in 2012 and is estimated to grow at a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 10 percent from 2012. It is expected to reach $972 million in 2018. Although Asia Pacific countries are making major advancements in the domain of stem cells, the regulatory bind, especially on human embryonic stem (ES) cells, is a poser for researchers
However, Mr Vasant S Gaikwad, analyst with GBI Research, points out that overall regulatory framework for the stem cell research is quite liberal in APAC countries. "South Korea, especially, is encouraging stem cell research. The country is developing rapidly in the field of stem cell therapy and boasts a robust pipeline that witnesses active participation from the pharmaceutical companies. This has been made possible by the strong government support and increased funding, with the country's president stating that the stem cell field is a growth engine for the economy," he says.
"The regulatory environment for stem cell research in Australia is excellent, and permits innovative research in the context of high ethical standards," says Professor Martin Pera, Stem Cells Australia, while pointing out the need for more investment in translational research in regenerative medicine in order to move the field forward.