WideCells Group PLC Audited Preliminary Results
News Release | Press Room
5 June 2018
WideCells Group PLC (‘WideCells Group’ or ‘the Group’)
Audited Preliminary Results
WideCells Group PLC, the healthcare services company focused on providing stem cell services and ground-breaking insurance for stem cell treatment, announces its audited preliminary results for the period ended 31 December 2017. Copies of the full Annual Report will be posted to shareholders and will be available to view on the Corporate Documents section of the company’s website.
- Launched a portfolio of stem cell services designed to make stem cell treatments accessible and affordable worldwide
- Focused on driving global sales and revenues across the Group’s three divisions
- Innovative insurance product CellPlan, the world’s first insurance plan and medical concierge service for the cord blood stem cell industry
- Secured a number of commercial agreements with stem cell banks to facilitate roll-out and launched a bespoke e-commerce platform
- Fully live in the UK with initial sales secured as part of a test launch to customers of Biovault, a leading storage facility
- Launch in Spain anticipated
- Agreements in place to launch in Thailand, Singapore, India and Brazil in H2 2018
- Stem cell storage and pioneering research work continues, operated via WideCells’ state-of-the-art Institute of Stem Cell Technology (ISCT) in Manchester, UK
- Awarded Human Tissue Authority (HTA) research licence July 2017 to undertake paid-for-research work on stem cell therapy and regenerative medicine – three projects already secured, which are collectively worth ~£300,000
- Includes government-backed Innovate UK Knowledge Transfer Partnership with Manchester Metropolitan University to undertake research on a new form of stem cell technology in March 2018.
- Granted HTA Human Application licence in February 2018, which enabled launch of BabyCells, offering umbilical cord stem cells processing and storage services
- Additional upside via sale of INDUS, a novel synthetic bone graft which promotes new bone formation – became a licenced provider in July 2017, and sales commenced in Q4 2017
- Stem cell education and training division Wideacademy
- Advanced from vision to commercialisation, with revenue generation on track to commence in H2 2018
- First phase of bespoke platform launched February 2018, with full commercial launch targeted for H2 2018
- Spearheaded by Former Director of Education at Apple, Alan Greenberg
- Innovative insurance product CellPlan, the world’s first insurance plan and medical concierge service for the cord blood stem cell industry
- Strengthened board and management team to drive new phase of revenue growth and created a Scientific Advisory Committee to continue to drive product development
- Recognised industry leader - won and been nominated for several awards:
- Ranked 21 in the Global DISRUPT 100 list, showing potential to influence, change and create new global markets
- Won Power Business of the Year at The Manchester Awards 2017
- Won CorporateLiveWire - Healthcare and Life Sciences Awards 2017, showing excellence in stem cell research services
- Nominated for the UK Life Science IPO of the year
- Current cash position anticipated to be bolstered through placing and live bookbuild to raise at least ~£1.80 million
- Raised aggregate gross proceeds of approximately £1.4 million in two separate private placings since the Initial Listing in July 2016
- The Live Market Bookbuild remains open and the Group will update the market in due course.
I am delighted to be part of this ground-breaking company and deliver my inaugural statement as its Chairman; the prospects of WideCells Group truly excite me. Through our three divisions, we are focused on making stem cell treatment affordable and accessible for families around the world. To this end, 2017 was a year of building both our service offerings and our partnerships with key players to position the Group as a multi-revenue generative opportunity in a fast-growing sector. This resulted in an inflection point with first revenues generated before the year end.
We believe that the stem-cell sector is reaching a tipping point in terms of the market’s understanding of its potential to treat rare and life-threatening conditions; the global stem cell market is currently valued at c.US$96 billion and is predicted to grow to US$170 billion by 2020 and US$270.5 billion by 2025, implying a CAGR of 13.8%. We are proud to be recognised as an intrinsic part of this medical revolution.
Our integrated stem cell support services proposition includes: CellPlan, the ﬁrst-of-its-kind stem cell insurance plan; WideCells, our storage focused division leading the way in the development and use of cell banking services; and Wideacademy, which is driving education and awareness on the stem cells sector. Each division made signiﬁcant advances during the year as outlined below.
As testimony to our commitment to both innovation and education, in June 2017 the Group was ranked as the 21st most disruptive company globally by DISRUPT 100, an annual index celebrating the businesses with the most potential to inﬂuence, change or create new global markets. More recently, post period end, our CEO, João Andrade, was awarded the CEO Europe Award 2018 by CEO Today Magazine.
CellPlan has developed the world’s ﬁrst stem cell healthcare insurance plan and medical concierge service, designed to revolutionise stem cell healthcare by making stem cell transplants affordable for families who require treatment for life threatening diseases.
During the year, it made signiﬁcant advances bolstering its innovative offering to create new revenue opportunities and expand its service globally. It secured an agreement with Biovault Technical Ltd, the UK’s largest private human tissue storage facility, to roll-out CellPlan to Biovault’s client base. Additionally, it launched its e-commerce platform, www.cellplan.com, which allows WideCells to sell CellPlan directly to families, whether existing or new clients.
Although the UK stem cell market is comparatively small, our initial launch in the UK has enabled us to trial our offering. The aim is now to roll CellPlan out internationally and include additional product offerings over time. We are preparing to launch in Spain imminently, and in support of this have secured an agreement with Stem Cell Banco Celulas Madre, S. A., an established provider of stem cell storage services, to offer CellPlan to its clients, and will also launch our e-commerce platform to ensure maximum market penetration. A deﬁnitive agreement has also been secured with Hemocord Clinica Medica Ltd in Brazil, a world-class leader in cord blood storage, which is set to provide CellPlan access to the largest cord blood storage market in South America, a market projected to be worth US$445 million by 2023.
In March this year WideCells announced a landmark deal with Cryoviva Group, an established cord blood storage facility with operations in Thailand, Singapore and India, to sell CellPlan in Asia. Cryoviva has c.250,000 inspected samples stored to-date which represents almost 9% of all samples stored worldwide, with forecasts to store c.25,000 new samples every year. CellPlan will be launched to Cryoviva customers on a phased basis, commencing in H2 2018, providing staged revenue increases.
Finally, with our storage division WideCells having recently launched BabyCells, an umbilical cord blood and tissue storage service which is available to clients in the UK and Europe, additional synergistic growth opportunities are available for CellPlan, as one year’s stem cell insurance cover will be included as part of the initial storage package. It is our hope and expectation that this will lead to ongoing uptake and revenue generation for CellPlan, whilst also giving a competitive advantage to our storage services.
WideCells offers stem cell procurement, processing, retrieval and storage services in the UK and Europe. Through WideCells Brasil, it also operates a stem cell laboratory in São Paulo, Brazil, licensed by the Brazilian regulatory authority, the Agência Naciónal de Vigilância Sanitáría (ANVISA).
WideCells has established its own storage and processing facility, called the Institute of Stem Cell Technology (‘ISCT’) based at the University of Manchester Innovation Centre in the UK, which is well positioned to capture an increasing share of the cord blood banking market in the UK and Europe. This provides the Group with exposure to a fundamental part of the market; 4 million cord blood samples are currently held in storage in 500 facilities across the world and this is increasing by 250,000 a year.
Whilst the Group had been offering umbilical cord stem cells processing and storage services through a third-party storage facility under its BabyCells brand in Portugal between 2014 and early 2015, it was only post period end in February 2018 that WideCells was awarded a Human Application Licence by the UK’s Human Tissue Authority. This licence permits the Group to procure, import, export, process, store and distribute for treatment, umbilical cord blood and umbilical cord tissue from the UK and Europe at our ISCT facility in Manchester, UK. This transformational milestone licence enables the Group, under the brand name BabyCells, to offer affordable umbilical cord blood and tissue storage services at the highest standards to clients in the UK and Europe. Our focus is now on promoting client-uptake and we are actively looking for agents, initially focusing on Europe, to promote our stem cell storage services. In support of this, we believe we have a very strong product offering, as alongside offering clients state-of-the-art storage services, new BabyCells clients will be given a year’s stem cell insurance cover, provided by our CellPlan division.
Going forward, WideCells intends to add additional stem cell services such as dental pulp processing and storage (TeethCells) and Adipose tissue collection, processing and storage (LipoCells) to increase the Group’s stem cell storage product offering. Furthermore, during the year under review, WideCells secured a licence to provide INDUS, a novel synthetic bone graft which promotes new bone formation. The Group commenced selling this new product in the UK in Q4 2017, initially targeting the dental industry, with obvious potential for further roll out internationally.
Alongside our cryogenics facility at the ISCT, we have a state-of-the-art laboratory which allows us to undertake pioneering paid-for research projects to support the continued development of the stem cell industry. Our leading stem cell scientists have, for example, been appointed by Qigenix, a California-based clinical stage medical device company, to undertake research on its behalf, testing a new laser technology designed to increase the homing and integration of stem cells. By supporting development, we ensure we remain at the fore of the stem cell industry.
Spearheaded by Alan Greenberg, the former Director of Apple Education, Wideacademy, the Group’s education and training division, is focused on promoting best-practice and quality, whilst driving innovation and supporting sales of insurance and stem cell storage for CellPlan and WideCells divisions. By helping people to understand this growing industry from multiple perspectives and angles, Wideacademy will help drive the uptake of our other products and services and in turn investment across the entire sector, which ultimately, could save many lives. The platform, which combines free-to-access educational areas with paid-for premium digital tools and resources for doctors and medical professionals, was launched post period end and is already receiving excellent feedback.
Going forward, we intend to add additional functionality, including access to educational modular courses that can support Continual Professional Development (‘CPD’) for medical professionals. The Group is currently in discussions with a number of universities and educational organisations to reﬁne its planned courses and CPD offering. Wideacademy also intends to launch a diseases & treatment section in H1 2018, to provide more detailed information on speciﬁc illnesses.
During the year, several corporate changes were undertaken to reﬂect the Group’s transition from product development into a revenue-generative, international provider of stem cell services. Accordingly, we have brought together individuals of outstanding quality who have proven track records in the stem cell industry and ﬁnancial sector.
Directorship appointments included: Alan Greenberg, previously Vice President of Wideacademy and a Group Non-Executive Director, who became Senior Vice President of Wideacademy, a Group Executive Director and Group Chief Business Development Oﬃcer; Malcolm Glaister, who has held a number of management roles across a broad spectrum of leading investment and trading businesses and joined as a Non-Executive Director; and myself as Non-Executive Chairman, having previously held several senior directorship positions with both large and small companies in the insurance, healthcare and IT industries. As part of these board changes, Dr. Graham Hine, my predecessor as Chairman, retired from his board role; I would like to thank him for all his work and support in helping advance the Group to a point of international growth and development.
Post period end, David Henriques, who has signiﬁcant asset management and corporate ﬁnance experience, and is involved with the digitalisation of insurance products, was appointed to the Board as a Non-Executive Director. He replaced Mr. Zakaria Aziz who stepped down from his position as Non-Executive Director.
A new Scientiﬁc Advisory Committee consisting of leading ﬁgures in the industry was also appointed. Responsible for identifying and advising the Board on new developments within the stem cell sector, the Committee will ensure that we continue to address market demand and offer the most competitive and innovative portfolio of services.
Finally, post-period end, investors will be aware that trading in our shares was suspended. This was a result of a delay in publishing our ﬁnal results for 2017 pending completion of the audit process, which in turn could not be completed as we were in discussions with our ﬁnancial advisers with a view to a fundraising.
Having received commitments in respect of approximately £1.47 million via a placing, and with a live market bookbuild underway due to bolster this further, we have been able to successfully conclude the auditing of our annual accounts. In light of this, we are working with the Financial Conduct Authority to achieve a lifting of the suspension following the publication of our results.
I would like to assure shareholders that despite the delay in publishing accounts and subsequent trading suspension, all business operations have continued to operate as usual and our growth prospects remain strong. Our focus is firmly on achieving the commercial roll-out of our stem cell services to build revenues and ultimately drive the value of our business.
We successfully raised £1.4 million before expenses in two placings in 2017. This has enabled us to set up our operations for WideCells and Wideacademy in Manchester and for CellPlan in Porto and we are on target to grow sales in 2018.
We are now focused on growth and the commercial roll-out of products and services across all three divisions. As well as our existing regions, we are exploring opportunities in the Asia-Paciﬁc territories, where the stem cell industry is gaining increasing proﬁle. Our preeminent team and staff are leading the world in this exciting sector and with their support, I anticipate steady growth during the year.
To conclude, I would like to take this opportunity to thank our shareholders who provide ongoing support and look forward to updating our progress on a regular basis.
Chief Executive’s Statement
Stem cell therapy is gaining increasing recognition for its life-saving potential in a wide-range of medical applications. 82 illnesses can currently be treated using stem cell procedures, and developments in its use in illnesses such as cystic ﬁbrosis, cerebral palsy, diabetes and autism have caught the headlines of late. As the value potential of this innovative treatment advances, more and more people are becoming aware of the beneﬁts of storing stem cells, which in turn is driving additional development and advancement in the industry. This is accordingly an opportune time to be building a leading position within the stem cell industry and having successfully launched our ﬁrst of its kind end-to-end stem cell service that covers storage, insurance, research and education/training, we are now focused on achieving global roll-out to build revenues, drive development and ultimately ensure that all people, regardless of geography or ﬁnancial position, have access to stem cell treatment.
Through ﬁrst-hand experience, I have identiﬁed both the value potential and the limitations of the industry in which we operate. In terms of value potential, we are focused on cord blood, taken from the umbilical cord following birth, as we believe it is the most useful and best “quality” source of stem cells and it is an area of rapid growth, with more than 250,000 samples being stored per annum and growing fast. However, looking at the limitations, whilst over 4,000,000 people have stored cord blood with over 500 cord blood bank companies that exist worldwide, paying c.£2,000 to do so, many do not realise that if treatment is needed costs could climb to as high as £300,000, making it unaffordable for many. It is because of these limitations and strong growth dynamics that we have created our end-to-end stem cell service.
At the core of this offering is our highly innovative CellPlan product – the ﬁrst global stem cell insurance package. This provides access to stem cell specialists and hospitals, covering the whole family for up to £/€1 million worth of medical, travel and accommodation expenses worldwide for an affordable £150-£300 per annum. With CellPlan live in the UK and strategic agreements in place to launch in Spain, Brazil, Thailand, India and Singapore in the coming year it is clear to see that our focus is now on achieving roll-out on a commercial scale. Of course, critical to stem cell treatment is stem cell storage and so alongside CellPlan, we are delighted to have recently launched our own stem cell storage services at our state of the art facilities at the Institute of Stem Cell Technology in Manchester, UK. Following landmark licensing approval from the Human Application Licence in February 2018, our BabyCells service, offering umbilical cord blood and tissue storage services to clients in the UK and Europe, is now live and we are accordingly focused on promoting uptake. BabyCells will be charged at a cost of circa £2,000 per sample for one year’s storage (including collection and processing), with recurring storage revenues of £50-£75 per annum thereafter and alternative multi-year pre-paid storage plans. Clients of BabyCells will be also offered one year’s stem cell insurance cover, provided by CellPlan, highlighting the synergistic offering of our tripartite business model.
The ﬁnal string to our offering is education and training focused services, delivered through a bespoke online platform – Wideacademy – of which we launched the ﬁrst stage in February 2018. Being spearheaded by the former Director of Apple Education, Alan Greenberg, Wideacademy is committed to utilising the power of education to support stem cell uptake across all levels of the industry, with revenue opportunities available through educational tools and courseware targeted at medical professionals.
Looking ahead, it is clear to see that 2018 is set to be incredibly active for WideCells Group. Having successfully launched all three divisions/services, our primary focus is now on driving product update to deliver strong recurring revenues and realise meaningful value for our investors, whilst providing our clients with an affordable and quality product offering that provides them with life-saving medical cover for them and their family, now and for many years to come. In line with our commitment to being at the fore of the rapidly growing global stem cell industry, we maintain an active growth strategy and will continue to target strategic opportunities that provide our company with value uplift opportunity, but our ﬁrst and foremost focus is on building the proﬁle and global reach of our innovative stem cell services.
Chief Executive Oﬃcer
For the full report read here