Although long overlooked, exosomes are rapidly gaining momentum as a novel strategy for accessing the therapeutic effects of stem cells without the risks and difficulties of administering the cells to patients. Exosomes also have enormous potential for use as biomarkers in non-invasive tests, vehicles for drug delivery, and active agents in cosmeceutical products.
On the therapeutic front, companies investing in exosome-based therapies include Anjarium Biosciences, Capricor Therapeutics, Codiak Biosciences, Creative Medical Technology Holdings, Everkine Corporation, Evox Therapeutics, Exogenus Therapeutics, Kimera Labs, ReNeuron, and Unicyte AG, a subsidiary of Fresenius Medical Care.
As companies make progress with exosome therapeutics, market competitors are also showing growing interest in manufacturing technologies to support exosome applications. In particular, Lonza, RoosterBio, and Exopharm have expressed intent to compete in this area. In May 2017, Behzad Mahdavi, Lonza’s vice president of strategic innovation and alliances, stated: “With Lonza’s capabilities in large scale cell-culture manufacturing, we are well suited to develop the processes needed for the commercial scale production for exosome applications, an additional logical step in the advancement of this field.”
Similarly, RoosterBio and Exopharm entered an August 2017 agreement to “develop and implement a standardized, scalable, commercially-viable biomanufacturing process utilizing Exopharm’s Exomere technology in order to enable rapid clinical translation with a cGMP-compliant Exomeres product into regenerative medicine (RM) applications.” It is anticipated that other cell culture manufacturing groups will quietly expand into this niche as well.
Escalating Exosome Research Activity
Although exosomes were discovered more than 30 years ago, it was not until recently that the scientific community began to its research activity. Ten years ago in 2006, there were only 76 articles published about exosomes on PubMed.gov. Five years ago in 2011, there were 271 articles published about exosomes. Today, there are more than 4,400 articles published about exosomes on PubMed.gov, of which approximately 25% were released in the past calendar year.
To support this swell in research activity, tools for isolating and expanding exosomes are now being offered by a wide range of life science companies, including exosomes derived from various cell lines, exosome binding antibodies, kits for the enrichment of specific exosome subpopulations, and more.
Life science companies that have launched tools and systems to support exosome research include Beckman Coulter, Exiqon, System Biosciences (SBI), Lonza, Thermo Fisher, Qiagen, ZenBio, and others. In particular, Lonza is aggressive investments in the sector through its May 2017 acquisition of HansaBioMed Life Sciences and investment into Exosomics.
Finally, exosomes are receiving funding support with accelerating velocity. Exosome Diagnostics raised nearly $80 million its Series A and Series B rounds, which it followed on July 24, 2017, with $30 million in Series C financing. Codiak Biosciences was launched in late 2016 when the MD Anderson Cancer Center joined two venture capital firms to form the company with more than $80 million in Series A and B financing, which it followed on November 29, 2017, by announcing $76.5 million in Series C financing ($168.5 million in total funding). ExCoBio, Inc., also announced in May 2017 that it had raised US $11 million in a Series A funding round within four months of its being founded, making it the “largest and fastest investment attraction in South Korea”.
With exosome companies multiplying in number and exosome publications on the rise, it is clear that exosomes will have a major impact on therapeutic and diagnostic markets for years to come.
Interested to learn more about the exosome market? View the “Market for Stem Cell Exosomes.”
 Bio.lonza.com. (2017). Available at: http://bio.lonza.com/uploads/tx_mwaxmarketingmaterial/Lonza_NewsReleases_Lonzas_New_Investments_in_Exosome_Technologies.pdf [Accessed 27 Nov. 2017].
 Exopharm, S. (2017). Stem Cell Exomere Program announced by RoosterBio and Exopharm. [online] PRWeb. Available at: http://www.prweb.com/releases/2017/08/prweb14567717.htm [Accessed 10 Aug. 2017].
 Bio.lonza.com. (2017). Available at: http://bio.lonza.com/uploads/tx_mwaxmarketingmaterial/Lonza_NewsReleases_Lonzas_New_Investments_in_Exosome_Technologies.pdf [Accessed 18 Nov. 2017].
 ExoCoBio Inc. attracts Series A investment of US$11 million. [online] PRWeb. Available at: http://www.prweb.com/releases/2017/04/prweb14284662.htm [Accessed 3 Sep. 2017].