San Antonio — StemBioSys has signed a deal to have its stem cell production products distributed in the U.S. and Canada by VWR (NASDAQ: VWR), a distributor of lab products to the life sciences industry, according to CEO Bob Hutchens.
StemBioSys had a busy 2016, signing similar deals to have companies in Japan, Sweden, and South Korea distribute its product, an extracellular matrix used to replicate stem cells. Meanwhile, Hutchens told Xconomy in December that the company has been raising a $3 million round of funding, which it plans to use to launch new products in 2017 and to pursue its global distribution deals.
The distribution deal with VWR will be the most impactful one for StemBioSys in part because of the VWR’s scale and reach, Hutchens says, adding that it distributes products for companies such as Corning, DuPont, and GE Healthcare, among others. Radnor, PA-based VWR recorded approximately $2.58 billion of net sales in 2015 for the Americas, distributing laboratory products to the full gamut of users, including pharma companies, governments, and university labs, among others.
“We clearly believe it’s going to be a difference maker for us,” Hutchens says. “Theirs is certainly the most complex [distribution deal] we did, just because it’s attacking the largest market in the world.”
VWR will take a share of the sales it makes of StemBioSys’ stem cell products, and has financial incentives, such as possible rebates, if VWR achieves certain sales milestones, Hutchens says. He declined to disclose any current or projected sales numbers. As Hutchens told Xconomy in December, he plans to launch new products in 2017, which could change terms of the distribution agreement.
StemBioSys’ extracellular matrix is made of natural proteins that are created by stem cells to act like a home, helping the cells divide, expand, and replicate into more stem cells. The company is working with another San Antonio organization, GenCure, on a grant that aims to develop large-scale manufacturing of stem cells.