Advanced Therapies Europe 2020

29TH - 30TH SEPTEMBER 2020


60 Second Interview with Dr Yijia Li

60 Second Interview with Dr Yijia Li

Can you summarise for us how the cord blood & tissue banking sector has evolved in China over recent years?

More and more stem cell banks are appearing in China. As far as I know, there are around 18 stem cell banks here now and our group is also going to build another two - one in Dalian, Liaoning Province and one in Suzhou, Jiangsu Province. In China, stem cell banking is growing faster than cord blood banking since China has only issued 7 licenses for cord blood banks - for stem cell banks, however there is no such limit. Therefore, the application of MSCs is developing much faster than the application of HSCs in China.

Much is made of the opportunities becoming available to cord blood banks to diversify - for example, by sourcing new revenue streams. How is this picture evolving within China?

To date, China has approved 30 hospitals for conducting stem cell translational research and clinical research. Stem cell banks are collaborating with these hospitals to carry out clinical research with the aim of receiving CFDA approval to sell MSC-based products on the market. MSCs in cosmetic applications are also booming in China, which is another major source of income.

What sort of partnerships or business opportunities are Chinese cord blood banks seeking on an international basis?

We are seeking international collaborations. We are looking for new technologies for HSC and MSC production and expansion. We expect that in the next 5 years, MSC products will cost around 300-500 $US per package, which is around 3*10^7 cells.

Are public and private/family banks converging in China, as they seem to be in other parts of the world?

Yes, most banks in China are hybrids containing both public and private banks.

What is your outlook on the global cord blood and tissue sector over the coming 5-10 years? How and where specifically do you expect the sector to flourish?

I expect MSC applications to be the big game changer for the space in the next 5-10 years. We have seen that MSCs can be used for SLE, RA and other autoimmune diseases, and they can also be used for the treatment of fibrosis of both lung and liver. Therefore, once MSC products get clinical approval and their price drops to the 300-500 $US-per-treatment range, it will cause the big pharma lots of trouble! I do certainly expect MSCs to really come to the fore and flourish.

Dr Yijia Li will be at Phacilitate Leaders Forum 2018

Dr Yijia Li will be speaking at Cord Blood and Perinatal Stem Cells Conference on the Global Cord Blood & Tissue Bank Roundtable, taking place on Wednesday, January 24 at 02:15pm.

For the opportunity to meet Dr. Li  and ask some of your own questions, book your place now.


About the cord blood industry in China

China has a fascinating and unique market for cord blood banking. The Chinese government issues one cord blood banking license per province, and the licensed company must function as both a public (donation-based) and private (for-profit) bank. The for-profit division funds the company’s donation-based public division, because no government support is received for this purpose.

You can read more about China's cord blood bank sector here, or you can purchase the 'Complete 2017-18 Global Cord Blood Banking Industry Report' by BioInformant.


About Dr Yijia Li

Dr Yijia Li, Director, Shunxi Regenerative Medicine, Yunnan Province Stem Cell Bank - China

Dr. Yijia Li has a bachelor degree of biology from Tsinghua University and double degree of Economics and Management from Peking University. After his Ph.D. at Florey Institute of Neuroscience and Mental Health, he joined Shunxi-Monash University Joint Lab, participated and facilitated several translational projects with Monash University, University of Melbourne, RMIT, CSIRO, ARC and NHMRC. In 2015, he was appointed as the director of Yunnan Province Stem Cell Bank (YSCB) and Yunnan Shunxi Stem Cell and Regenerative Medicine Research Center (SSRC). YSCB and SSRC has around 1600 m2 GMP lab space can hold up to 400,000 stem cell samples and can do 200 Human Whole Exome Sequencing every week. The aim of YSCB and SSRC is to develop stem cell storage and expend method (including hESC, HSC, MSC, PSC and ASC), carry out genome research on stem cell and cancer, and began clinical trails on stem cell treatments for cancer, such as DC-CIK, CAR-T and other technics. He is leading several projects on stem cell in China and Australia with government and private fund up to nearly 6 million USD and translated several books into Chinese including 5th Edition of NetCord-FACT Cord Blood Accreditation Manual. He would like to set up international collaborations to help translate basic stem cell research into clinical use to provide safe and effective treatments.
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    GenSight Biologics
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    Juno Therapeutics, Inc
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