LifeCell gets Rs.35 cr funding from Helion Venture Partners to spur growth initiatives

Our Bureau, BengaluruFriday, February 22, 2013, 08:00 Hrs  [IST]

LifeCell International Pvt Ltd, an accredited stem cell bank, has received a fund infusion from Helion Venture Partners to the tune of Rs.35 crore. The company will now work towards increasing its market presence in stem cell banking in the country besides developing novel cell based therapies.

LifeCell which kicked off operations in 2004 has been recording over 50 per cent growth annually over the last three years and this year its annual revenues are projected to exceed Rs.100 crore.

Helion Venture Partners a Mauritius-registered early to mid-stage India focused fund, which manages assets worth $600 million and above becomes the first venture capital firm to invest in a stem cell banking company in India.

“The investment is in line with our on-going strategy to invest behind high quality entrepreneurs in industries with high growth potential. LifeCell is the pioneer and market leader in a very exciting space. We are pleased to come on board as investors and look forward to working with the Management to help build a world class Company,” said Kanwaljit Singh, senior managing director, Helion Advisors who would join the LifeCell board.

“We’re delighted to have partners at Helion who share this vision, and look forward to leveraging their great experience in building a strong company that may soon graduate to become the world’s largest stem cell bank,” Mayur Abhaya, CEO and managing director of LifeCell.

LifeCell is the market leader in preservation of stem cells from various human tissues such as umbilical cord and menstrual blood, having serviced over 65,000 clients across 110 locations in India and abroad. Its central processing and storage facility is in Chennai and also recently opened a back-up unit at Gurgaon. It also is a provider of other key services such as bedside stem cell processing and newborn screening.

With over 27 million births every year, India is the largest birthing country in the world. The concept of stem cell banking holds a huge growth potential considering the benefits of stem cells in modern medicine and the giant strides of stem cell research across the globe. However, the category in India is still a very nascent stage with only two per thousand parents opting to preserve their babies stem cells at birth, compared with 50 per thousand in the US, and 250 per thousand in Singapore. With increasing awareness and affordability the uptake is expected to rise rapidly, stated the company.

According to a Nielsen India market research study conducted recently on practising gynaecologists in India in top eight cities, LifeCell emerged as ‘Most Recommended Stem Cell Bank’.