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LifeCell raises Rs. 35 cr from Helion for growth

Posted on Feb 20, 07:24PM | IBNS

Chennai, Feb 20 : LifeCell International Private Limited, India's leading stem cell bank, on Wednesday announced securing an investment from Helion Venture Partners, an India focused venture fund, to support its plans of increasing market penetration of stem cell banking in India whilst also enabling the development of novel cell based therapies. Started in 2004, 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, with a recently opened back-up unit at Gurgaon. It also is a provider of other key services such as bedside stem cell processing and newborn screening.

LifeCell has grown over 50% annually over the last 3-years, and this year its annual revenues are projected to exceed Rs 100 crores. With this investment of Rs 35 crores, Helion Venture Partners becomes the first venture capital firm to invest in a stem cell banking company in India.

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 2 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.

Commenting on the announcement, Mayur Abhaya, CEO & Managing Director of LifeCell, said: "As pioneers in this space we have the responsibility to make best-in-class stem cell banking and therapies accessible to more people, and believe that this investment will take LifeCell a step closer to realizing that vision."

With this development Kanwaljit Singh, Senior Managing Director at Helion Advisors would join the LifeCell board.

Singh said, "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."

LifeCell recently emerged as "Most Recommended Stem Cell Bank" by a market research conducted by Nielsen India amongst practicing gynecologists in India in top 8 cities.

Helion Venture Partners, is a Mauritius-registered early to mid-stage India focused fund, which manages assets worth $600 million and above. It is one of the most active risk capital players in the country, with a strong focus on consumer-facing and technology ventures.