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Private Cord Blood Banks in the USA

Alpha Cord Inc.

INTERNET: www.alphacord.com
PHONE: 866-396-7283
OFFICE: Atlanta, GA
STORAGE: Not applicable, see COMMENT

COMMENT: Alpha Cord is the only cord blood broker: they guarantee that parents will always pay less by contracting through them, rather than other marketing outlets for the same laboratory. Parents should carefully compare the services provided by different outlets that serve the same laboratory. Currently serving:

SERVICES & DISCOUNT OPTIONS:
  • AlphaCord / CA: Famiily Cord Blood Services (formerly California Cryobank) processes all cord blood units the same way. AlphaCord customers share freezer space with direct customers of CalCryo. Courier transport is available for an extra fee. Payment plans available. Refund all but $199 within 60 days of birth; no questions asked.
  • AlphaCord / IL:
  • AlphaCord / IN: The Genesis Bank processes all cord blood units the same way.
  • AlphaCord / NJ: Community Blood Services processes all cord blood units the same way. Every marketing outlet which stores at Community Blood Services has a separate freezer. The transplant quota is from the public bank at Community Blood Services. Courier transport is available for an extra fee. Payment plans available. Refund all but $199 within 60 days of birth; no questions asked.
  • AlphaCord / NY: AlphaCord customers share freezer space with direct customers of CORD. Courier transport is available for an extra fee. Payment plans available. Refund all but $199 within 60 days of birth; no questions asked.

CellMed Biotech

INTERNET: www.cellmedbiotech.com
PHONE: 866-460-2554
OFFICE: Conover, NC
STORAGE: Community Blood Services, Paramus, NJ

SERVICES & DISCOUNT OPTIONS:
  • Dr. Steven G. Lutz is the chairman and CEO of CellMed, which has offices in Conover, NC.
  • Community Blood Services laboratory in Paramus, NJ, processes all cord blood units by the same two-step method: first a sedimentation stage with the chemical Hespan; then a gentle spin cycle for further cell separation. The final red cell hematocrit is only about 2%.
  • Every bank which stores at Community Blood Services has a separate freezer.
  • The transplant quota is from the public bank at Community Blood Services. 
  • CellMed was profiled 2 June 2005 in the Hickory Daily Record, of Hickory, North Carolina.
  • Shipping by courier costs $150 extra. 
  • Processing, courier shipping, and first year storage brings total fee to $1765.

CorCell

INTERNET: www.corcell.com  
PHONE: 888-3-CORCELL
OFFICE: Philadelphia, PA
STORAGE: Community Blood Services, Paramus, NJ

COMMENT: Corcell is the oldest and most experienced of the banks which use the Community Blood Services laboratory.  Representatives on-call 24/7. Licensed in NJ, NY.

SERVICES & DISCOUNT OPTIONS:
  • CorCell is one of the the oldest private cord blood banks in the United States.
  • Community Blood Services laboratory in Paramus, NJ, processes all cord blood units by the same two-step method: first a sedimentation stage with the chemical Hespan; then a gentle spin cycle for further cell separation. The final red cell hematocrit is only about 2%.
  • Every bank which stores at Community Blood Services has a separate freezer.
  • The transplant quota is from the public bank at Community Blood Services. 
  • Live customer support is available 24/7; parents or physician can phone during delivery.
  • Courier transport by AirNet costing $150 is included in the price. 
  • First year storage included in initial fees.
  • Several payment plans are available, extended as long as 60 months.
  • Charity Program: Sibling Donor Cord Blood Program launched Feb2004 provides free banking to siblings of children with transplantable diseases.

ADDITIONAL INFORMATION:

14 July 2004, CorCell of USA and VITA34 of Germany announced an international merger.  These are two of the oldest private cord blood banks in their respective countries.  Both now belong to the holding company VITA 34 International AG. A press release announces that the two companies will act independently in their respective markets.

Corcell offers discounts to members of various health insurance plans. Some insurance carriers include a CorCell brochure in their pre-natal package.

Cord Blood Family Trust

INTERNET: www.cordbloodfamilytrust.com  
PHONE: 866-389-4659
OFFICE: StemCyte, Arcadia, CA
STORAGE: StemCyte, Arcadia, CA

COMMENT: Cord Blood Family Trust is the family banking division of the for-profit public bank StemCyte. StemCyte is one of the participating public banks in the National Marrow Donor Program cord blood registry.

SERVICES & DISCOUNT OPTIONS:
  • List of transplants as of Oct 2005.  The transplant quota is entirely from the StemCyte public bank.  
  • Cord Blood Family Trust shares the laboratory of the NMDP public bank StemCyte.  Storage for family bank customers is in separate dedicated freezers with their own security identification system.
  • StemCyte uses proprietary laboratory processing methods which they call the "StemCyte Stem Cell Optimization Process".  These methods were developed during the 1990's by researchers participating in the federally-funded COrd Blood Transplantation study (COBLT).  The StemCyte processing method stores plasma-depleted whole blood, rather than separated mononuclear cells.  StemCyte claims that their units have 90% recovery of mononuclear cells.
  • StemCyte offers family customers a LifeSaver Quality Guarantee: If a family unit is somehow damaged in processing, StemCyte will replace it at no cost with the closest match available in their public inventory, which is currently (Oct 2005) 20,000 units.
  • Processing fee includes Quick International medical courier.
  • Early enrollment discounts: $150 off if 9 weeks before due date, $100 off if 6 weeks before due date.
  • Annual storage fee fixed.
  • Special discounts to clients who are medical professionals or military personnel, call for details.
  • Refer a friend, get $50 off next storage payment.
  • Charity Program: Layne's Legacy offers free or low-cost banking if a family member is in need of a stem cell transplant.  Call to apply.

ADDITIONAL INFORMATION:

Stemcyte is participating in clinical trials of stem cell therapy for
  • Thalassemia - cord blood transplant study in Taiwan .
  • Spinal Cord Injury (SCI) -

Stemcyte was founded in 2000 with $20 million in venture capital, but must seek new marketing avenues to generate profits.

Summer 2005 Financial Status Press Release states that an additional $13.7 million had been raised from new investors for StemCyte operations in the United States and Taiwan.  StemCyte, Inc., of Arcadia, California operates the national public cord blood bank in Taiwan (see the entry for Taiwan on the page about cord blood regulations by nationality).

Cord Blood Registry

INTERNET: www.cordblood.com
PHONE: 888-CORDBLOOD
OFFICE: San Bruno, CA
STORAGE: Tucson, AZ

COMMENT: CBR is one of the original private cord blood banks, has the most comprehensive website, and has the most experience with family transplants. In 2004 CBR acquired a new building next to the Tucson airport with 61,140 sq ft space; their new lab opened on 5 Dec 2005. Licensed in NJ, NY. Feeder web sites:  
SERVICES & DISCOUNT OPTIONS:
  • List of CBR transplants; four are autologous.
  • Real life stories of transplant patients
  • Video center: View collection, processing, transplant, etc.
  • Cost includes courier transport with Quick International. Option of syringe or bag collection kit, depending on physician/patient preference (both fully sterile). Live customer support available 24/7; parents or physician can phone during delivery.
  • The CBR processing method separates cells with two cycles of centrifuge spinning; this technique is known in the medical literature as "Ficoll-Hypaque" density centrifugation. Stores in multiple Nunc[tm] cryovials.
  • No rush fees, but $150 discount for enrollment at least 60 days prior to due date. Payment plans available, starting at $39/month for 60 months. Prepay 18 years for $1725, a savings of $400.
    Client Referral Program awards a year of free storage.
  • Substantial discounts to clients with credentials as medical professionals.
  • Patient Rebate Program will refund up to $125 directly to clients for collection fees not covered by their insurance.
  • Collecting physicians are offered liability insurance of $5 million per occurrence and $10 million aggregate.
  • Charity program: Designated Transplant Program [TM] (see below), in operation since 1995, applies to any family member with a disease treatable by transplant.

ADDITIONAL INFORMATION:
CBR offers a Designated Transplant Program (DTP) to families where a family member has a disease (either currently ill or in remission) that has been treated with stem cells. If accepted into the program, CBR will provide cord blood banking at no cost to the family, and will try to recoup their expenses from third-party payers and insurance carriers. According to their CEO, Thomas E. Moore, CBR has obtained insurance reimbursement for only a small percentage of the DTP program, which annually covers about 300 families and costs about $2 million.  If the cord blood has not been transplanted after four years, the family must assume the cost of storage, or forfeit ownership.  Application to the DTP requires a letter of recommendation from a physician (hematologist or oncologist), indicating the transplant need.
 

Cord Blood Solutions

INTERNET: www.cordbloodsolutions.com
PHONE: 1-866-584-STEM (7836)
OFFICE: Alpharetta, GA
STORAGE: Community Blood Services, Paramus, NJ

SERVICES & DISCOUNT OPTIONS:
  • Founded by Dr. Alan Einstein, an Internal Medicine/Critical Care physician in Atlanta.
  • Community Blood Services laboratory in Bergen, NJ, processes all cord blood units by the same two-step method: first a sedimentation stage with the chemical Hespan; then a gentle spin cycle for further cell separation. The final red cell hematocrit is only about 2%.
  • Every bank which stores at Community Blood Services has a separate freezer.
  • The transplant quota is from the public bank at Community Blood Services.
  • On weekends, shipping costs an additional $90. First year of storage is included in the processing fee.

Cord Partners, a Cord Blood America Company

INTERNET: www.cordpartners.com  
PHONE: 888-882-CORD (2673)
OFFICE: Los Angeles, CA
STORAGE: Community Blood Services, Paramus, NJ

COMMENT: On Friday 28Jan2005, Cord Partners went public as part of the holding company "Cord Blood America", Nasdaq OTCBB:CBAI. As of 6Sept2005, Cord Partners became the first company to offer parents an extended payment plan (see below).  They provide shipping with temperature control and secure chain-of-custody. Licensed in NJ. Feeder web sites:
Similar web sites owned by squatters (NOT owned by Cord Blood America):
SERVICES & DISCOUNT OPTIONS:
  • Cord Partners offices are in Los Angeles and offer live customer support 24/7; parents or physician can phone during delivery.
  • Community Blood Services laboratory in Paramus, NJ, processes all cord blood units by the same two-step method: first a sedimentation stage with the chemical Hespan; then a gentle spin cycle for further cell separation. The final red cell hematocrit is only about 2%.
  • Every bank which stores at Community Blood Services has a separate freezer.
  • The transplant quota is from the public bank at Community Blood Services.
  •  
  • No rush fees, and $100 discount for enrollment at least 90 days prior to due date.
    Cost includes temperature-controlled courier transport plus chain-of-custody handling with AirNet. First $395 fully refundable; remaining $1200 to be refunded if collected blood cannot be processed. First year storage included in processing fees. No enrollment fee.
  • Patient Rebate Program: Reimbursement of up to $100 if your caregiver charges a collection fee.
  • "Affordable Pricing Structure" announced 6Sept2005: No payment down,  pay $269 six months after birth, and pay $269 annually for the next 17 years.
  • Full lab test results sent within 6 weeks of birth.
  • Client Referral Program awards a year of free storage for each referral that enrolls.

ADDITIONAL INFORMATION:

In April 2005, Cord Blood America reported financial results for the year ended December 31, 2004. The company reported a 167% revenue increase in revenue, a doubling of sales staff and marketing expenses, and a 225% increase in enrollment compared to the year 2003.

In April 2004, Business Week On-line reported that 3 former employees or consultants of StemCyte had launched a company named NeoStem (www.neostem.com). Neostem would be the frst company to store autologous stem cells for adults, harvesting them from peripheral blood by apheresis. The cost was $4,700 for the harvest and $300 annual storage fee. NeoStem disappeared in Jan 2005. However... in August 2005 Cord Blood America (parent company of Cord Partners) announced that they had signed a three year agreement to market the services of NeoStem.

Cryobank for Oncologic and Reproductive Donors, Inc.

INTERNET: www.nycryobank.com
PHONE: 877-CORDBLD 
OFFICE: Middletown, NY
STORAGE: Middletown, NY

COMMENT: This is a combined bank for sperm and cord blood, but they are kept in separate freezers. Licensed in NJ, NY.

SERVICES & DISCOUNT OPTIONS:
  • Price includes FedEx shipping.
  • Samples are maintained in a quarantine freezer until infectious disease testing is complete.
    For repeat customers the first year of storage is free. Pre-pay storage for 20 years for only $60/year (save $800).

Cryobanks International

INTERNET: www.cryo-intl.com  
PHONE: 800-869-8608
OFFICE: Altamonte Springs, FL; near Orlando
STORAGE: Altamonte Springs, FL; near Orlando

COMMENT: Cryobanks International primarily focuses on its public banking program: they accept donations mailed in from anywhere in the US. Donated cord blood may be listed on a transplant registry or may be used for proprietary medical research.  Licensed in NY.

SERVICES & DISCOUNT OPTIONS:
  • Late fee of $50 after 35th week of pregnancy.
  • First year's storage is included with processing. Yearly storage fee subject to change.
  • Charity program: Free storage to families that have an imminent need for transplant.

ADDITIONAL INFORMATION:

In the mid 1990's, the original name of this company was U.S. Cryobanks of Florida.

As of 28 Nov 2005, Cryobanks International merged with the small public company Biostem, Inc. (OTC BB: BTEM).   On the effective date of the merger, BioStem will issue 120 million shares of its common stock to the shareholders of Cryobanks, and the board of directors of Cryobanks will be appointed to BioStem's  board, and the current members of BioStem's board will resign.  A condition to the closing of the merger is the successful completion of a financing by Cryobanks which results in net proceeds to Cryobanks of at least $10.0 million.   Cryobanks will be a wholly-owned subsidiary of BioStem.

The company Biostem had only existed for 10 days prior to this merger.  Up until 18 Nov 2005,  Biostem, Inc. had been known as National Parking Systems Inc. (OTC BB: NPGS).

Due to their restructuring as a publicly held company, Cryobanks is now required to file financial disclosures on the SEC website "Edgar".  Cryobanks has revealed that they are actively pursuing technology licensing agreements in overseas markets.  They have one agreement in Athens, Greece, with a facility that is scheduled to become operational in 2005.  They have another seven technology licensing agreements with facilities in India; one located in New Delhi will be operational in May 2006, and the next six Indian facilities will open over the following 24 months.  Cryobanks estimates that they can assist the development of four to six foreign facilities each year, for which it will receive a large up-front cash fee plus a percentage of the gross revenues of each facility.

Cryo-Cell International

INTERNET: www.cryo-cell.com  
PHONE: 800-STOR-CELL
OFFICE: formerly in Clearwater FL, now in Oldsmar FL, both near Tampa
STORAGE: formerly in Clearwater FL, now in Oldsmar FL, both near Tampa

COMMENT: Cryo-Cell has been a publicly traded company since 1991: Nasdaq OTCBB symbol CCEL. Licensed in NJ, NY. During 2004 - 2005, Cryo-Cell moved to a new laboratory and changed their cord blood processing method.  In Dec 2005, they launched the CRYO-CELL Cares(TM) service plan.  Cryo-Cell partially owns Saneron CCEL Therapeutics, a biotech company which is conducting research on spinal cord repair using donated cord blood stem cells. 


SERVICES & DISCOUNT OPTIONS:
  • First transplant press release and anniversaryanniversary.
  • On 6Dec2004, Cryo-Cell relocated its headquarters and lab from one Tampa suburb (Clearwater) to another (Oldsmar). The new facility is nearly 18,000 square-feet and meets FDA rules for good tissue practices (cGTPs). Nearly 75,000 client specimens were moved under police escort.
  • Prior to 25 April 2005, Cryo-Cell processed cord blood by "Ficoll-Hypaque" density centrifugation, and long term storage was in vials. Vials were split between two locations: company headquarters in Florida and the storage facility Safti-Cell in Sedona, Arizona.
  • As of 25 April 2005, Cryo-Cell processes cord blood by Hespan sedimentation, and long term storage is in compartmented bags. All storage is in Oldsmar, Florida.
  • The CryoCell laboratory in Oldsmar is also certified by ISO 9001:2000.
  • On 6Dec2005, Cryo-Cell announced the following service terms:
  • CRYO-CELL Client for Life(TM) Program - New and existing clients can lock in current prices for any future children: $1595 processing fee and $125 annual storage fee.
  • Returning clients will receive a $500 discount on the Processing and Testing Fee ($1095) and will pay a fixed $100 annual storage fee.
  • No enrollment fees.  Clients owe nothing until cord blood is received, processed, and stored.
  • Personal courier service is included in the processing fee (US and Puerto Rico only).
  • Payment plans: Cryo-Cell offers 6- and 12-month interest free payment plans and a 48-month financing plan to qualified clients.
  • Practitioner reimbursement of $175 for cord blood collection.
  • Customer support staffed by nurses 24/7.
  • CRYO-CELL Cares(TM) Payment - In recognition of the financial hardship many families experience during a cord blood stem cell transplant; in conjunction with a transplant of CRYO-CELL-banked cells, the Company will pay clients $10,000 to ease personal family/living expenses.
  • CRYO-CELL Payment Guarantee(TM) - In the event that a client's cord blood, which was processed and stored by the Company, is used for transplant and fails to engraft, CRYO-CELL will pay the client $50,000.
  • Through an agreement with Upromise, parents can invest 4% of their cord blood payments towards their child's college education.

ADDITIONAL INFORMATION:

Publicly traded since 1991, Cryo-Cell business operations have been a matter of public record and were frequently written up in Florida Newspapers.  
  • Cryo-Cell was originally affiliated with the University of Arizona and Dr. David Harris, the founder of Cord Blood Registry. In 1998 Cryo-Cell won $1.17 million dollars in a breach of contract lawsuit against those parties.
  • Cryo-Cell went on to become the industry leader in providing economical cord blood storage.
  • In 2002 and 2003, Cryo-Cell underwent several changes of leadership, including the retirement of founder Dan Richard.  Richard's severance package includes a $200,000 annual consulting fee which he will receive from Cryo-Cell for life. 
  • On 3 Feb 2003, the St. Petersburg Times published an expose titled Meltdown in which Cryo-Cell employees alleged there were repeated malfunctions of a proprietary freezer under development at Cryo-Cell.  The European affiliates of Cryo-Cell refused to use this freezer,  breaching the terms of  their technology transfer contract.
  • In the calendar year 2004 Cryo-Cell changed several business practices and raised prices substantially.  Cryo-Cell discontinued use of their proprietary freezer, cancelled plans to open a subsidiary for storage of adult stem cells, and reached an amicable settlement with their former European affiliates.   The year culminated with the 6 Dec relocation to the new lab in Oldsmar, FL.


Cryo-Cell partially owns Saneron CCEL Therapeutics, a biotech company which is conducting research on spinal cord repair using donated cord blood stem cells.  In 2001 a former subsidiary of Cryo-Cell, CCEL Bio-Therapies Inc., merged with Saneron Therapeutics Inc. to form the biotech R&D company Saneron CCEL Therapeutics, Inc. focused on neurological cell therapy. Cryo-Cell owns 43.2% of Saneron CCEL Therapeutics, Inc. Saneron CCEL announced 17 Dec 2004 that their partnership with the University of South Florida has won several SBIR grants to treat spinal cord injury using stem cells from umbilical cord blood combined with "Sertoli" cells. Saneron CCEL holds 8 US patents and several foreign patents on the use of the Sertoli cell biochamber. The chief inventor is Don F. Cameron, PhD, who belongs to the faculty of USF and is one of the founders of Saneron CCEL. The "Sertoli" cells come from mammalian testes, and have the ability to provide localized immunosuppression, thereby eliminating the need for immune-suppressing drugs (like steroids or chemotherapy) when infusing patients with cord blood cells that have incompatible tissue types.

Quarterly Reports of Cryo-Cell can be accessed by searching under their name at the SEC web site Edgar. (http://www.sec.gov/edgar.shtml)
 

CureSource

INTERNET: www.curesource.net  
PHONE: 1-877-723-2247
OFFICE: Charleston, South Carolina
STORAGE: Charleston, South Carolina

COMMENT: CureSource has a partnership with the Medical University of South Carolina to commercialize new medical technologies; the state of South Carolina supports stem cell medicine
 
SERVICES & DISCOUNT OPTIONS:
  • The CureSource laboratory is accredited by the American Association of Tissue Banks (AATB).
  • The processing fee includes $50 towards FedEx shipping; alternatively, courier shipping can be arranged with AirNet for an additional cost.
  • A sample of maternal blood is stored as well as the cord blood. First year storage included in processing fees. Storage fee fixed at $95.
  • Client referral program "Friends & Family Plan" awards a year of free storage for each referral that enrolls. Discounts on extended pre-paid storage. Payment plan available, multiple birth pricing available.
  • CureSource will never use any portion of privately stored cord blood cells for research or other purposes.

ADDITIONAL INFORMATION: CureSource has announced a partnership with the Medical University of South Carolina "to facilitate the transfer of technology into commercial applications". CureSource provides MUSC with donated umbilical cord blood stem cells to be used for research. The donating parents sign an informed consent and CureSource makes no profit; MUSC does not reimburse CureSource for acquiring and processing the cells.
 

Family Cord Blood Services

INTERNET: www.familycordbloodservices.com  
PHONE: 800-400-3430
OFFICE: Los Angeles, CA
STORAGE: Los Angeles, CA

COMMENT: Family Cord Blood Services is a subsidiary of  California Cryobank,  one of the nation's oldest sperm banks and a provider of various cryogenic services. 

SERVICES & DISCOUNT OPTIONS:
  • The cord blood storage division of CalCryo was founded in 1997 and operates from its own dedicated laboratory. 
  • Family Cord Blood Services has had a number of transplants of peripheral (apheresis) stem cells, but the first cord blood transplant took place in 2005.
  • Additional costs for shipping are $45 local and $150 national, bringing the total cost of the first year to $1280. Shipping within 100 miles is only $35; also serviced by AirNet. No late enrollment fees. Parents who have used their services before (either cord blood or reproductive services) get a $100 discount.
  • Pre-pay storage for 5 yrs for $500 (save $75); 10 yrs for $840 (save $310); 20 years for $1500 (save $800). Payment plans start as low as $45/month.
  • From the processing fee, $125 is set aside for cord blood collection fees: Family Cord Blood Services will reimburse the physician if there is a collection fee; else the money is refunded to the parents.
  • As of August 2005, parents can select a Public Donation OptionSM at the time of enrollment.  In order to be eligible, the maternal blood test and the cord blood must both pass all the medical requirements for public donation, and the parents must agree to privately store the cord blood for 10 years before releasing it.  This program costs an additional $250, towards the $400 cost of HLA typing the cord blood so that it can be listed on a donor registry.

ADDITIONAL INFORMATION:

California Cryobank Sperm Bankwas founded in 1977  by two physicians, Dr. Cappy Rothman and Dr. Charles Sims. Since then, California Cryobank has grown to serve all 50 US states and more than 30 countries worldwide. With the advent of technology to process stem cells for freezing, and the increasing number of families desiring this service, in 1997 California Cryobank Stem Cell Services Inc. became the first private cord blood bank in California. The cord blood bank laboratory has always been completely separate from the sperm bank.  At that time, the staff grew to include hematologist Dr. Michael Lill and director of laboratory operations Eddie Jacildo, DLM,MT,CLS.   The original web portal of the cord blood bank was and still is  www.mycordblood.com

As of 22 April 2005, the cord blood bank changed its name to Family Cord Blood Services. The staff is the same and the company continues to be privately held.  In Nov of 2005, the cord blood bank moved from Santa Monica, CA to a lab four times bigger and less than a mile away in Los Angeles.  All storage tanks were professionally relocated by Pacific Science, Inc., a certified company specializing in frozen tissue transport which has partnered with California Cryobanks for many years.
 
.

Family Link

INTERNET: www.cordbloodstorage.com  
PHONE: 800-852-1770
OFFICE: Louisville, Kentucky
STORAGE: Louisville, Kentucky

COMMENT: Family Link is a program of Norton Healthcare, a not-for-profit organization which operates dozens of hospitals throughout Kentucky and Southern Indiana. The cord blood bank is located in the Blood and Marrow Transplant Laboratory of Norton Healthcare, which serves the pediatric transplant program at Kosair Children's Hospital


Genesis Bank

INTERNET: www.thegenesisbank.com
PHONE: 800-804-6703
OFFICE: General BioTechnology, Indianapolis, IN
STORAGE: Processing laboratory is General BioTechnology, Indianapolis, IN;
                    Long-term storage at BioStorage Technologies, 20 minutes away

COMMENT: Genesis Bank is a subsidiary of the biotech company General BioTechnology LLC, a small  Indianapolis company (no website)  which incorporated in 1997 and specializes in cryogenic research and services.  General BioTechnology LLC also has a division, Genome Resources devoted to sperm banking.
 
SERVICES & DISCOUNT OPTIONS:
  • A subsidiary of parent company General BioTechnology, Genesis Bank was founded in July 2004.
  • Because they are a cryogenic research facility, GenesisBank has a unique philosophy of allowing clients to chose their storage options:
    1. collection can be either bags or syringe
    2. processing method can be either volume reduction with Hespan or Ficoll-Hypaque centrifuge (for additional fee)
    3. storage can be in multiple vials or  a compartmented bag
  • Enrollment fee of $150 is non-refundable. 
  • Cost includes courier service by AirNet.
  • First year storage included in processing fee.
  • Discounts for pre-paid long-term storage.
  • GenesisBank does not employ sales staff.  Parents who telephone with inquiries will speak to some one who has a scientific background and can answer their questions.

ADDITIONAL INFORMATION:

Genesis Bank is a subsidiary of the biotech company General BioTechnology in Indianapolis. General BioTechnology was founded with an NIH-NHLBI grant to develop optimized protocols for processing and cryopreserving cord blood.  They are on the FDA list of HCT/P registered establishments and have also received grant funding from SBIR. The CEO of General BioTechnology, Erik Woods, Ph.D., is in the Dept of Pediatrics at Indiana University School of Medicine and has published research on cord blood preservation.

Genesis Bank was founded in July 2004.  Initially, they sub-contracted cord blood processing to the broker Alpha Cord or the private bank Securacell.   They commenced operations in their own laboratory in early 2005.  They continue to serve as one of the laboratories for AlphaCord and for Securacell.

Genesis Bank was profiled by the newspaper Indianapolis Star in May 2005.

...

HemaStem Therapeutics

This bank is in the process (summer 2004) of changing its name to "HemaLife"
INTERNET: www.hemastem.com  
PHONE: 800-203-7349; or Email info@hemastem.com  
OFFICE: Main office located in Hamilton, Ontario, Canada
STORAGE: Uses two laboratories: USA lab is Community Blood Services, Paramus, NJ; Canadian lab is at Stem Sciences Inc. in North York, Ontario.
 
COMMENT: HemaStem is owned by Geneticas Life Sciences, Inc., a company specializing in biological insurance: they have divisions which bank the genes of endangered species, clone domestic animals, have a registry of human gene donors for the creation of designer babies, and bank the stem cells in cord blood. Website is in English and Spanish.
 
SERVICES & DISCOUNT OPTIONS:
  • Provides their patented StemGuard [TM] collection kit.
  • Community Blood Services laboratory in Paramus, NJ, processes all cord blood units by the same two-step method: first a sedimentation stage with the chemical Hespan; then a gentle spin cycle for further cell separation. The final red cell hematocrit is only about 2%.
  • Every bank which stores at Community Blood Services has a separate freezer.
  • The transplant quota is from the public bank at Community Blood Services.
  • Enrollment fee only charged once per family. Price includes shipping by courier service.
  • First year storage included in processing fees. Prepay 10 yrs storage for $1299 (save $191). 

ADDITIONAL INFORMATION: Geneticas Life Sciences originally entered the cord blood market in 2003 with the autologous bank GeneAngel, which had a unique pricing concept: No processing fee, but a storage fee of $49.95 was charged every month indefinitely. In exchange for the on-going storage fee, GeneAngel offered parents health insurance: $100,000 if their child developed a disease treatable by cord blood transplant. Perhaps not surprisingly, they could not find customers willing to pay $10,789.20 over 18 years against the odds of one child developing a transplantable disease. Hence, they reorganized and luanched HemaStem/Hemalife.
 

Lifebank USA (A Celgene Company)

INTERNET: www.lifebankusa.com  
PHONE: 877-LIFEBANK
OFFICE: Cedar Knolls, NJ
STORAGE: Cedar Knolls, NJ

COMMENT: LifebankUSA and its parent company, Celgene Corporation (Nasdaq: CELG), are the first cord blood bank in the US to nationally pursue both private banking customers and/or donations to their public banking program. ie: Parents anywhere can either bank for their family or donate through LifebankUSA. Whether parents bank their baby's umbilical cord blood privately or publicly, they are encouraged to donate the placenta. Licensed in NJ, NY.
 
SERVICES & DISCOUT INFORMATIONS:
  • Testimonials from LifebankUSA transplants
  • Animation of collection procedure
  • LifebankUSA is still operated by the personnel who founded the bank in 1998, but as of Nov 2002 they were acquired by the public biotech company Celgene (Nasdaq: CELG).
  • LifebankUSA is the first US cord blood bank to be certified by the International Organization for Standardization (ISO 9001:2000), the worlds largest developer of quality standards.
  • LifebankUSA is the only private cord blood bank in the US which has two AABB-accredited laboratories, in New Jersey and Louisiana.
  • LifebankUSA and its parent company, Celgene Corporation, is one of the nation's leading suppliers of cord blood used in clinical trials. As of May 2005, research partnerships are studying therapies for cancer, heart disease, ALS and other diseases. Celgene also uses the membrane of the placenta to develop proprietary medical products.
  • Live customer support available 24/7; parents or physician can phone during delivery.
    Cost includes courier transport: Local hospital transport is via Integrity Courier Service; elsewhere via Quick International.
  • First year storage included in processing fees. Client referral program awards a free year of storage to both the new client and the referring client. Returning clients receive $500 off enrollment.
  • Payment plans start at $44/month for 48 months. Six month interest free payment plan also available.
  • Charity Program: "Families in Need" with a disease treatable by a stem cell transplant may be entitled to free enrollment.

ADDITIONAL INFORMATION:
LifebankUSA as founded in 1998 by staff who had been trained at the Community Blood Services lab of Bergen County NJ and the private bank Corcell in Philadelphia. The CEO of LifebankUSA, Haines, was a former CEO of Corcell. The President of LifebankUSA, Dr. Robert Hariri, was a former CSO of Corcell. The lab director of LifebankUSA, Dr. Manocheher Korhshidi, came from the Bergen blood bank, along with processing manager Nury Acosta.

In 2002, the Baton Rouge newspaper The Advocate, reported on 11/13/02 and 11/15/02 (search the archives) that parents at Louisiana's charity hospitals were being encouraged to donate their placentas to The Louisiana Stem Cell Repository (www.la-stemcell.com; website no longer active). The parents received a lot of education about the value of cord blood transplants, but in fact the cord blood was being collected by the for-profit company Anthrogenesis/Lifebank and primarily used for their proprietary research. The newspapers quoted various local politicians, who were thrilled to have a biotech company operating in Louisiana.

On 13 Nov 2002, Celgene (Nasdaq: CELG) acquired Anthrogenesis/Lifebank for $45 million. The public collection program is now operated by Celgene Cellular Therapeutics. It is still active in Louisiana and has been expanded to other locations. However, the Celgene Donor Consent form has been refined.

As of spring 2005, Celgene is supplying cord blood stem cells for several clinical trials. Their research partners include:
  • The Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center
  • The Mayo Clinic
  • Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center
  • Texas Heart Institute

Celgene also uses the membrane of the placenta to develop proprietary medical products in their own research laboratories. One Celgene product is "Biovance", a collagen-based wound covering. Biovance is primarily composed of amniotic membrane that has undergone minimum processing. Another Celgene product is "Ambiodry", a dehydrated, decellularized, substrate-free human amniotic membrane allograft. Each allograft has been sterilized and a packaged in a double peel-pouch packaging configuration.
 

LifeLine Cryogenics

INTERNET: www.lifelinecryogenics.com (Website has a Flash introduction which is inaccessable to text-based browsers)
PHONE: 1-866-967-CRYO
OFFICE: Stamford, CT
STORAGE: Stamford, CT

COMMENT: LifeLine is a broad spectrum cryogenics company offering storage of sperm, eggs, ovarian tissue, embryos, and cord blood. The cord blood program serves the MA, CT, and NJ area.
 
SERVICES & DISCOUNT OPTIONS:
  • LifeLine uses dedicated medical couriers; their goal is to deliver the blood to the laboratory within 24-36 hours from birth. Transport costs are quoted on an individual customer basis.
  • First year storage included in processing fees. Discount options if blocks of storage are prepaid.

MAZE Labs

INTERNET: www.MAZElabs.com  
PHONE: 914-683-0000
OFFICE: Stamford, CT
STORAGE: Storage facility in Purchase, NY.
Processing lab at the White Plains office of the NY Blood Center, called "Hudson Valley Blood Services".

COMMENT: MAZE was originally a sperm bank named after the initials of the founding doctor's four sons (Mathew, Adam, Zachary and Evan). Cord blood storage is a subsidiary company.
Licensed in NY, NJ.
 
SERVICES & DISCOUNT OPTIONS:
  • MAZE processes cord blood at the White Plains lab of the NY Blood Center. This is not the same NY Blood Center lab which operates the National Cord Blood Program, collecting donations for transplants. The lab is called Hudson Valley Blood Services and is accredited by AABB as an HPC Facility.  The "HPC" accreditation means they process blood stem cells.
  • The processed blood is frozen, placed in cryogenic containers, and moved to MAZE Labs in Purchase, NY for long-term storage. The processing lab and storage location are only a few miles apart in Westchester County.
  • Cost is a one time, all-inclusive, fee of $1600, which includes the collection kit, private courier, pick up service from the hospital, processing and storage for the first 18 years.
  • Courier service with secure chain of custody is now available, using AirNet, from any location.
  • If the marker CD34+ shows a lower cell count than recommended for storage, parents have the option of destroying the specimen and receiving a refund of the $900 storage fee.

National Children's Leukemia Foundation

INTERNET: www.leukemiafoundation.org  
PHONE: (800) GIVE-HOPE
OFFICE: NY, NY

COMMENT: This non-profit charity is marketing private cord blood banking to families of children with leukemia for $825. Siblings of children with leukemia are eligible for FREE cord blood banking through the Sibling Donor Cord Blood Program at Children's Hospital of Oakland (510-450-7605). Also, NCLF does not meet the charity standards of the BBB Wise Giving Alliance: see their Give.org report.

Newborn Blood Banking, Inc.

INTERNET: www.newbornblood.com  
PHONE: 888-948-CORD
OFFICE: Tampa, FL
STORAGE: Tampa, FL

COMMENT: Emphasis on storage of whole blood, with no lab processing. Operated by parents in a building adjacent to their home.
 
SERVICES & DISCOUNT OPTIONS:
  • Operated from a private home in the Tampa area.
  • Profiled 26 April 2004 in the St. Petersburg Times
  • Discount $100 for early enrollment.
  • Storage in liquid nitrogen dewar.

New England Cord Blood Bank

INTERNET: www.cordbloodbank.com  
PHONE: 888-700-CORD
OFFICE: Boston, MA
STORAGE: New England Cryogenic Center, Boston, MA

COMMENT: New England Cord Blood Bank is one of the original private cord blood banks. New England Cryogenic Center, the largest cryogenic facility in North America, is the parent company of New England Cord Blood Bank. Licensed in NY.
 
SERVICES & DISCOUNT OPTIONS:
  • The NECC laboratory is accredited by AATB for tissue storage, and by AABB for cord blood storage.
  • The NECBB processing method separates cells with two cycles of centrifuge spinning; this technique is known in the medical literature as "Ficoll-Hypaque" density centrifugation.
  • Storage in multiple (typically six) cryovials, plus three smaller vials for HLA typing if needed for a transplant.
  • Cost includes Fedex transport; courier shipping costs $150 extra.
  • Customer support available 24/7. No late/rush enrollment fees. Interest-free payment plans available to all families.  Extended payment plans are available through CapitalOne Healhcare Financing Group for payments as low as $51/month.
  • NECBB will reimburse up to $125 of the physician's collection fee directly to the provider.
  • Previous NECBB customers save $426 on subsequent births.
  • Discounts for multiple births, families that are active duty military, and grandparents with AARP membership.
  • Prepay storage for 20 years and save $580.

Regenerative Medicine Institute (RMI)

INTERNET: www.rmilabs.com
PHONE: 877-844-7379
OFFICE: California
STORAGE: unknown

COMMENT: New bank started 2005, web site does not display their street address
 
SERVICES & DISCOUNT OPTIONS:
  • unknown

Securacell

INTERNET: www.securacell.com
PHONE: 866-836-CELL
OFFICE: Canton, OH
STORAGE: Indianapolis, IN; storage prior to summer 2004: New England Cryogenic Center, Boston, MA

COMMENT: Securacell is an independent company, not an affiliate of another bank.
 
SERVICES & DISCOUNT OPTIONS:
  • As of summer 2004, Securacell has contracted cord blood processing to a laboratory in Indianapolis.
  • Previously, Securacell storage was in their own freezers at the laboratory of the New England Cryogenic Center in Boston, MA. All inventory was moved to Indianapolis.
  • Staff includes four nurses to counsel patients and medical professionals.Courier transport with AirNet is included in price.
  • Enrollment fee only charged once per family. First year storage included in processing fees. No late enrollment fees. Six different payment plans.
 

Stembanc

INTERNET: www.stembanc.com
PHONE: 87-STEMBANC
OFFICE: Cleveland, OH
STORAGE: Cleveland, OH

COMMENT: Stembanc refuses to answer any questions about their laboratory. Stembanc is 15% owned by PharmaStem, and under certain circumstances this ownership interest can increase. (Reference: public record of testimony in Delaware District Court 3Nov2004).
 
SERVICES & DISCOUNT OPTIONS:
  • Stembanc refuses to reveal any details concerning their laboratory. 
  • Stembanc marketing is based predominantly on their purchase of a PharmaStem patent license.
  • As of April 2004, Stembanc offers Clinical Sales Managers (CSM) a Staff Referral Program, in which the senior CSM will receive a $100 bonus for each expectant parent enrollment credited to a newer sales manager that was recruited by the senior CSM.
  • Participating physicians directly receive $200 per unit of cord blood collected and are covered by $3 million liability insurance.
  • Courier transport with AirNet is available for a flat fee of $150 extra.
  • First year storage included in processing fees. Prepay storage for 20 years at a 50% discount.

Viacord

INTERNET: www.viacord.com  
PHONE: 866-668-4895
OFFICE: Boston, MA
STORAGE: Hebron, KY, outside Cincinnati; storage prior to summer 2002: Hoxworth Blood Center, Cincinnati, OH

COMMENT: Viacord is one of the original private cord blood banks; they have become a subsidiary of Viacell Inc., a biotech company whose stem cell research has entered human trials (Dec 2003). Licensed in NJ,NY. On Friday 21Jan2005, Viacell went public on Nasdaq:VIAC.
 
SERVICES & DISCOUNT OPTIONS:
  • List of Viacord transplants; two are autologous.
  • Live customer support available 24/7; parents or physician can phone during delivery.
  • Courier transport with Quick International is available for a flat fee of $150 extra.
  • The Viacord processing method is similar to the large public bank NY Blood Center: no sedimentation; two centrifuge cycles, the first a light spin and the second harder. If the collected blood volume is low, parents have the option to not bank and receive a refund.
  • No enrollment fee. First year storage included in processing fees.
  • Payment plans start at $43/month. Storage fee fixed at $125.
  • Refer a friend to Viacord, if they enroll you get a $50 gift card, accepted anyplace that takes credit cards.
  • In-house program to help physicians with the paperwork of billing a patient's insurance for cord blood collection.

ADDITIONAL INFORMATION:
Viacord has exclusive rights to distribute cord blood banking literature in outlets of certain maternity clothing stores.

Viacord's parent company, Viacell , filed with the SEC 1/30/2002 (see SEC form S-1) to issue an IPO and be listed on the Nasdaq as VIAC. The offering never went through, due to the high-tech stock collapse in spring 2002.

In the summer of 2002, Viacord built a proprietary laboratory and storage facility in Hebron, KY (outside Cincinnati, OH) and began processing cord blood to separate MNC. Previously, Viacord stored whole blood at the Hoxworth Blood Center of the Univ. of Cincinnati, but those samples have now been moved to Hebron. The new facility was inspected by the AABB in June 2003.

Viacell is actively pursuing research in selective amplification of stem cells, neuroscience applications of stem cells to stroke recovery, ALS (Lou Gehrigs disease), and muscular dystrophy, and applications to endocrine science such as Type I Diabetes.

In Nov 2003, Viacell expanded into Europe with the acquisition of Kourion Therapeutics (pdf download of press release). Kourion claims to have isolated multi-potent stem cells, which they call "Unrestricted Somatic Stem Cells", from cord blood.  Other corporate alliances include Amgen, Gamete Technology Inc., Genzyme, GlaxoSmithKline, Massachusetts General Hospital and Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT). In Dec 2003, Amgen invested $20 million in Viacell.

On Friday 21 Jan 2005, Viacell finally went public on Nasdaq as VIAC. The financial analysis website, Motley Fool (requires registration), published a commentary 25Jan2005, titled "ViaCell's Costly Mistake": They believe that Viacell undervalued itself by issuing the IPO at $7/share, instead of the $9/share that was also considered. The $7/share price translates into a net worth of $260 million. Motley Fool believes that the market cap of the company is closer to $342 million, $82 million more than the offer price.

Shortly thereafter, the private bank Cord Blood Registry filed suit against Viacord for "false and misleading advertising". The legal complaint, filed in Federal District Court in San Francisco, concerns Viacord claims to be compliant with "VSA guidelines", and other claims regarding whose bank is bigger and better and offers more assurances. After years of all private banks disseminating advertising full of hyperbole, this is the first time one private bank has actually sued another over its advertising. The offending claims were quickly removed from Viacord web pages, but the case is not settled pending changes in their printed literature.  The lawsuit was finally settled 27 Oct 2005, with neither side making any payments or disclosing any terms of the settlement.

A research partnership between Viacord and Genzyme was announced on 15 March 2005, although the collaboration had begun in Dec 2004.  The CEO of Viacell, Marc Beer, is a former officer of Genzyme.  On 15 Mar 2005, shares of Viacell jumped over 25%, to $9.34.   ViaCell has just received a patent on its method of growing and transplanting islet stem cells. Juvenile (type I) diabetes occurs when the pancreas stops making these cells, which produce insulin. Genzyme will conduct pre-clinical research on diabetes treatments with islet cells.  The  partners hope to be ready to conduct human trials in two years.  

Meanwhile, on 19 Sept 2005, Viacell  had to suspend a phase I clinical trial in which patients were receiving transplants of expanded cord blood.  The trial was stopped because two patients (out of 8) developed acute Graft-versus-Host Disease (aGVHD; both recovered).  Under FDA regulations, the trial is suspended; not cancelled.  The price of Viacell shares dropped 22% after the announcement, which the financial magazine Motley Fool ridiculed as an over-reaction.

Quarterly Reports of public companies can be accessed by searching under their name at the SEC web site "Edgar" (http://www.sec.gov/edgar.shtml).

Next: Informed Consent for Cord Blood Donors