Based in South Africa, Next Biosciences is a unique company. It owns Netcells, Africa’s largest private stem cell bank. It also recently merged with a local laboratory, Genesis Genetics, making Next Biosciences the only facility on the African continent to offer genetic and metabolic screening, as well as storage of umbilical cord blood and tissue for use in regenerative medicine applications.
As such, Next Biosciences plays a leading role within the South African cord blood banking marketplace and operates within genetic and metabolic screening markets.
To learn more about Next Biosciences and its recent merger with Genesis Genetics South Africa, read the company press release below, printed with permission from the company’s Public Relations advisor, Gina de Villiers.
Next Biosciences and Genesis Genetics South Africa Combine their DNA
Merger of local leaders in stem cell banking and genetic testing consolidate their position
in African biotechnology industry
Johannesburg, 17 May 2016 — Next Biosciences, a South African leader in stem cell banking, and Genesis Genetics South Africa, the local provider of internationally pioneered genetic technology, have merged to consolidate their position in South Africa’s burgeoning biotechnology industry. As a result, Genesis Genetics South Africa becomes a Next Biosciences company.
The new Next Biosciences group of companies owns Netcells, Africa’s largest private stem cell bank. This is now the only such facility on the continent to offer genetic and metabolic screening as well as storage of umbilical cord blood and tissue for use in various regenerative medical therapies.
CEO of Next Biosciences, Kim Hulett, says that she is excited about what the merger means for the development of the biotechnology industry locally and in Africa, and for the role this plays in increasing the number of successful, healthy pregnancies and births.
“Our two companies share a commitment to demystify the science behind stem cells and genetics, and make the resulting services more accessible,” she says. “In so doing, we enable people to build healthy families and take ownership of their babies’ future health through the promise of biotechnology.”
Dr Jaysen Knezovich, Laboratory Director at Genesis Genetics South Africa, says, “Many embryos created through in vitro fertilisation (IVF) treatment do not have the right number of chromosomes, which results in nearly 75% of miscarriages.”
“Advances in next-generation DNA sequencing has led to powerful new genetic screening tests that increase the number of successful pregnancies as it is possible to identify and transfer embryos unaffected by specific genetic conditions,” he says.
Stem cell technologies have resulted in therapies for the treatment of blood cancers and related diseases, as well as trials in the new emerging regenerative medicine arena.
“The convergence of genetic and stem cell technologies holds exciting promise for the future in understanding and treating various diseases,” says Hulett.
Genetic testing, screening and stem cell banking services available through Next Biosciences and Genesis Genetics include:
Prior to pregnancy
- Carrier screening of individuals for over 150 inherited genetic disorders
- Pre-implantation genetic screening (PGS) of embryos generated through in vitro fertilisation (IVF) to increase pregnancy success rates
- Pre-implantation genetic diagnosis (PGD) of embryos generated through IVF to reduce the risk of passing on a genetic condition that is present in a family
- Non-invasive prenatal testing (NIPT) for common chromosomal abnormalities such as Down syndrome
- Umbilical cord blood and tissue collection for stem cell banking upon delivery
- New-born screening for metabolic disorders
Based in Johannesburg, Next Biosciences consults to obstetricians, gynaecologists and paediatricians locally and in Namibia, Zimbabwe and Kenya.
“The biotechnology industry in South Africa is internationally competitive thanks to our world-class researchers, scientists and industry innovators, and Next Biosciences is proud to play a leading role in bringing genetic and stem cell technologies to the continent,” says Hulett.
“Through ongoing investment in future health possibilities that combine medicine, science and technology, Next Biosciences and Genesis Genetics embrace our vision of improving overall quality of life for people across Africa.”
About Next Biosciences
Established in 2005, Next Biosciences offers biotechnology-led products and services in the areas of Bioanalytics (genetic and metabolic screening), Biobanking (cryogenic storage) and Biologics (biological dressings and umbilical cord serum eye drops).
The company operates Africa’s largest private stem cell bank – holding stem cells for over 11,000 families – which is also the only African stem cell storage facility to have international accreditation through the American Association of Blood Banks.
Next Biosciences’ specialist consultants work with obstetricians, gynaecologists and paediatricians in South Africa, Namibia, Zimbabwe and Kenya. In South Africa, Next Biosciences is a preferred provider of Discovery Health, the country’s largest medical insurer.
About Genesis Genetics
Internationally, Genesis Genetics is the pioneer of pre-implantation testing of embryos for inherited genetic abnormalities. The company was established by Dr Mark Hughes, an acclaimed scientist known for his involvement in the Human Genome Project, and a founder of pre-implantation genetic diagnosis as a clinical practice.
Their team of genetic counsellors, molecular geneticists, physicians and administrative staff work closely with reproductive doctors to fulfil their mission: helping build healthy families. Laboratories are located in the United States, Brazil, England, Jordan, Taiwan, and South Africa – headed locally by Dr Jaysen Knezovich, PhD.
Genesis Genetics International was recently acquired by Cooper Surgical, which offers a diverse portfolio of products and services focusing on women’s health, fertility and diagnostics. This opens up further local and global opportunities to the Next Biosciences family of companies.
Tribeca Public Relations
Gina de Villiers
082 343 9293
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To learn more about market players within the global cord blood banking industry, view the “Complete 2015-16 Global Cord Blood Banking Industry Report.”