September 22, 2020

The Niche

Knoepfler lab stem cell blog

Interesting new insights into Celltex’s business model

The Texas stem cell clinic, Celltex, is lately becoming a model of transparency in the biotech industry.Celltex

They are willing to answer many (if not all) questions I’ve been asking them.

Celltex is involved in stem cell isolation and multiplication, and banking (see post here on the pros and cons of stem cell banking) as well as providing cells to physicians who do stem cell transplants.

My latest questions involved the price they charge and how many customers they’ve had.

They were unwilling to provide details on that, but did provide some intriguing information about how their business works as well as the identity of their IRB.

Here’s what they said.

We received two emails from you at the end of last week.  In the first email you asked us about our volume of business and the pricing.  With that information you would have revenue calculations at your finger-tips.  That is confidential information.  Thus we cannot provide the detail you are seeking.  However, we are happy to provide general information on the subject of our services.    If an individual wishes to bank his or her mesenchymal stem cells with us there is a fee for banking.  That is $4873.  As part of the banking process, that includes the fees for mandatory blood screening for multiple eligibility tests required before we will accept fat into our laboratory for processing.  The fat extraction is not performed by Celltex.  Those services are performed by a separate provider who will then bill the individual separately.  If an individual is evaluated by a physician in one of our clinical trials, and the physician determines a potential for stem cell therapy in compliance with the trial criteria (and the person enrolls in the clinical trial), the cell multiplication services fees for the therapy depend on the particular therapy requested by the physician.  The fees are relative to the number of cells requested in the therapy (total and per treatment for multiple treatment protocols) which, of course, is directly related to the amount of work, equipment and personnel necessary to achieve those cell numbers.    In your second email you asked for the name of the IRB (institutional review board) we are using and its website.  As a private company in Houston, not part of an academic or medical center, working with independent investigators, we work with an independent IRB.  Texas Applied Biomedical Services, Inc., an independent IRB located in Houston, is the IRB for our current protocols.  The IRB’s website is www.tabs.net

There are quite a number of interesting things about this response.

The banking fee is about $5K. Wow. I thought it was more like $1K.

Another thing I didn’t know is that Celltex does not do the isolation of fat from patients.

A logical question that follows: who does?

So based on this information, if understand it correctly, any given Celltex patient will get bills from (1) the entity that extracts their fat, (2) Celltex for isolating, multiplying and storing the stem cells, and (3) from a physician who does the transplant, which is independent of Celltex.

The Celltex IRB is listed above (something I had already heard from an independent source), but could also be of interest.