About us

We treat families and their cells as we would wish our own to be treated, so if times get tough, you can depend on us.

Based in Plymouth’s International Medical and Technology Park beside our partners at Derriford Teaching Hospital, our laboratory is the heart of our facility. Stem cell scientists, quality managers and customer advisors collaborate here to provide you with an informed and dependable service. 

 

Our mission
by Kate Sneddon, CEO

 

Welcome to Biovault

Making the decision to store our children’s umbilical stem cells is often an act of bravery. It means we have admitted the possibility of someone we love becoming seriously ill and have decided to take control of fear by putting in place this incredible biological protection.

I find this very humbling. Working with the NHS on a daily basis as the South West Peninsula Transplantation Service’s tissue bank makes us aware of our responsibility to get everything right first time, every time. Perhaps this is why we treat every person and cell as we would wish our own loved ones to be treated. If times get tough, as they sometimes do, the families who store with us know that they can depend on us.

“We store the cells we hope you’ll never need and keep them safe and healthy in case you do.”

Biovault have led the way in human tissue processing and storage since 2004. We have released over 4,000 stem cell units derived from peripheral blood, bone marrow and cord blood for transplantation and our unrivalled facilities and expertise allow us to work closely with public and private clinics and hospitals all around the world. We have successfully collected and processed cord blood and tissue from over 30 different countries and have released cord blood stem cells to treat conditions ranging from leukaemia and neuroblastoma to sickle cell disease and cerebral palsy.

Of course, we are not content. We are curious and innovative pioneers in stem cell technology. As a centre for stem cell research and development, our state-of-the-art laboratories and long-standing relationships with Plymouth University and University College London support our stem cell scientists as they develop human understanding of stem cells, and how they might be used therapeutically. All of us at Biovault know this is only the beginning for regenerative medicine and we intend to play a positive role in its future.

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Our Values

Ethical

Our first and highest priority is to protect the cells in our care. We have always stored our clients’ cells in our own facility and we always will. We have the capacity, the skills and it is the only way we can guarantee the safety of your child’s life-giving cells. 

Some banks store patients’ cells in two facilities, but this means transporting cells at a stage when they are vulnerable which we believe is an unnecessary risk. Instead, we invest highly in security and never compromise or economise on the systems that keep your samples safe.

We are also the only UK cord blood bank to use Escrow protection. This means that in the extremely unlikely event that something were to happen to Biovault Family, neither your cells nor money would be in any danger. Biovault transfers a portion of the fees paid to Escrow to cover the long term storage costs. Each year a portion of your fees is released to us to cover the annual cost of stem cell cryopreservation, the rest remains in an independent account until the completion of our contract with you. If Biovault were to cease trading, your fees would be available to cover the cost of storing your cells elsewhere.

Caring

We look after billions of cells that have the potential to save and enhance lives. We don’t take this lightly, as our accreditations and testimonials show. We do it because we care. 

Our unrivalled facilities and expertise allow us to work closely with public and private clinics and hospitals around the world. We have successfully collected and processed cord blood and tissue samples from over 30 different countries, and work collaboratively with partners around the world.

“Most of us are parents too and we all care deeply about the potential of each sample to save or enhance a life.” Nikki, Client Advisor

“Everything has to be right first time, every time. It is critical to cells that could save a life.” Sam, Office Manager

 

Pioneering

Biovault is a centre for research and development. Our state-of-the-art laboratories and long-standing relationships with Plymouth University and University College London (UCL) support our scientists as they develop human understanding of stem cells and their medical uses.

In 2017 our lead stem cell scientist, Shaun Mansfield,  was awarded Knowledge Transfer Partnership funding by Innovate UK. Shaun is collaborating with UCL peers to establish a safe and repeatable process to expand stem cells for transplants.

Experienced

Biovault is the South West Peninsula Transplantation Service’s tissue bank. This means that we work in genuine partnership with the NHS, releasing tissue and cells on a weekly basis for transplants that improve the quality of life of patients suffering from life-threatening and limiting conditions.

Biovault has led the way in human tissue processing and storage since 2002. We have released over 4,000 tissue and stem cell products for transplantation and all have resulted in 100% engraftment. For us, this is the ultimate measure of success.

Kate Sneddon, CEO

Kate joined Biovault in July 2009 and, having held the roles of Operations Director and Technical Director, became Chief Executive Officer in 2016. Prior to this Kate studied Microbiology at the University of Newcastle upon Tyne, joining GlaxoWellcome (now GlaxoSmithKline or GSK) on completion of her degree as a Graduate Microbiologist. 

After two years, Kate became Microbiology Team Manager at one of GSKs manufacturing facilities. Kate worked for GSK for 10 years and held a number of positions including Lean Sigma Expert, New Product Project Manager and Value Stream Leader. Kate’s desire to settle in the south west of England drew her to Biovault and an exciting new sector in the healthcare industry. Kate now lives in Cornwall with her husband and two daughters, where she enjoys spending time outdoors exploring the region’s stunning beaches, forests and moorlands.

Ann-Marie Myers
CFO

Ann-Marie started her career in practice, qualifying as a Certified Accountant in 1996 and preparing accounts for small and medium-sized businesses as well as auditing larger ones. 

By 2004, Anne-Marie had held a number of roles up to Assistant Manager at Francis Clark Chartered Accountants and decided to move into industry as the Financial Controller of a local Print and Direct Mail Company. 

After 6 years in industry and after gaining valuable experience, she joined Biovault as Financial Controller. Ann-Marie now heads up the finance team as Biovault’s CFO and has responsibility for all things financial from controlling the day to day running of the finance function to the contract pricing and proposals. 

Ann-Marie lives in Cornwall with her husband and 3 children.

Ben Charles
Quality Manager

As Biovault’s Quality Manager, Ben is responsible for our compliance with the highest standards in human tissue storage. 

For Ben, as for all of us at Biovault, compliance is not enough. We work on a daily basis with the NHS and understand that every sample in our care could save or enhance the life of someone suffering from cancer or another life-limiting condition: “We go above and beyond the demands of accreditations” Ben says, “and actively seek out higher standards. We want these cells to be usable.” 

Ben leads our team in working towards the highest industry standards and accreditations in the UK, Europe and Worldwide. Biovault is the only cord blood bank in Europe to be accredited by the AABB and JACIE, something of which we are very proud.

Sam Hearn
Laboratory Technician

Sam is responsible for ensuring the security and integrity of cord blood and tissue samples from receipt through to storage. 

When a cord blood or tissue sample arrives at Biovault it is labelled and tracked at every stage. Sam’s role involves processing cord blood: reducing its volume by removing red blood cells and plasma and refining samples to optimise stem cell numbers. Attention to detail is paramount in the laboratory and as Sam explains, “Everything has to be right first time, every time. It is critical to cells that could save a life.” 

Sam’s role gives him unique insight into the rate of progress in regenerative medicine: “at any point,” he says “stem cell treatment could become the norm. The research is ongoing and new discoveries are made all the time.”

Nikki Driver
Client Advisor

Nikki has been our lead Client Advisor since 2015 and is proud to be much loved by the parents she helps. 

Nikki defines her role as: “listening and supporting, not patronising or hard sell. Most of us are parents too and we all care deeply about the potential of each sample to save or enhance a life. “

Our client advisors work alongside our laboratory team, including our stem cell scientists. This gives them a unique insight into cord blood and tissue research and development, as well as a practical appreciation of the logistics of cord blood and tissue collection, processing and storage. 

Nikki is able to advise families on all aspects of our service, and is well-informed regarding current and forthcoming stem cell treatments. 

Licenses and accreditations

We actively seek out and work towards accreditations that insist on the highest industry standards worldwide, ensuring that Biovault Family leads the way in ethical cord blood banking.

“Our work with the NHS and our care of samples goes above and beyond accreditations and compliance: we want the cells to be usable, to help someone.” (Ben Charles, Quality Manager)

Consent | Safety | Quality

The HTA offers guidance to parents making cord blood banking decisions and regulates cord blood collection, testing, processing, storage and distribution.

Biovault is licensed by the The Human Tissue Authority (HTA) to process and store all transplantable material for human application. We are one of only a handful of tissue banks with this breadth of capability and encourage clients to read our biannual inspection report on the HTA website.

Biovault Family honours the three key messages of HTA cord blood banking: Consent, Safety and Quality, and are proud that we have never had any conditions placed on our licence.

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We are incredibly proud to be the only private tissue bank to be accredited by JACIE: the Joint Accreditation Committee for the two leading scientific organisations involved with blood and bone marrow-derived stem cells transplantation (European Society for Blood and Marrow Transplantation (EBMT) and the International Society for Cellular Therapy (ISCT).

As the processing and storage facility for the NHS South West Peninsula Transplant Service for peripheral blood and bone marrow stem cells, JACIE standards, the highest and most coveted in the industry, are proudly upheld throughout the Biovault Family facility.

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Respect | Integrity | Transparency | Excellence

The AABB are the world’s leading authority on transfusion medicine and cellular therapy, and promote the highest standards of care for patients and donors in all aspects of blood banking, transfusion and therapy. As AABB certified members, we consistently demonstrate the core values of the Association: Respect, Integrity, Transparency and Excellence.

AABB accreditation is globally recognised and is endorsed by the International Society for Quality (ISQua), which aims to: ‘inspire and drive improvement in the quality and safety of healthcare.’

The Cord Blood Association (CBA) is an international, non-profit organisation that promotes both public and family cord blood banking, with the objectives of saving lives, improving health and changing medicine.

The CBA offers information and guidelines to parents who are deciding whether to bank their baby’s umbilical cord blood, or donate it to help others. 

CBA member banks must adhere to the principles of the Cord Blood Association: advocacy, quality products and services, market expansion, research and development, and public and professional education.

Biovault Family became a Cord Blood Association member in 2018 and is proud to adhere wholeheartedly to its principles.

Maintaining the very best quality management processes is a critical part of our work, and Biovault has earned internationally recognised accreditation ISO 13485.

This standard is issued by the International Organisation for Standardisation, which governs the standards for business and government in 162 countries.

It not only ensures that quality management processes meet regulatory standards, but also encourages continual improvement of these processes, something that Biovault Family takes very seriously.

ISO 13485 guarantees the comprehensive management system for the design and manufacture of medical devices. Our certificate no is: GB07/72849.

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Biovault‘s Flow Cytometers are externally quality controlled by UK NEQAS. Since 1969 the United Kingdom National
External Quality Assessment Service (UK NEQAS) has been providing a comprehensive worldwide service that enables
laboratories to fulfil quality goals and facilitate optimal patient care.

Discover our world

Our philosophy is that conversation and compassion make the world a smaller and kinder place. We are always open to collaborations with academic and medical institutions that share our core values. The cord blood community is an open and curious space where life-saving developments occur every year. We are grateful to have a voice amongst these dedicated and passionate pioneers of regenerative medicine and to work with people who simply want to make more people live better.

Transplant centre, Plymouth

Partner, Lebanon

Biovault Family Lebanon Lifeline Services Lebanon SAL Sfeir Bldg. 1st Fl. Phoenicia Str. Ain El Mraysseh

Partner, Ukraine

Biovault Family, Regus, 42-44 Shovkovychna St. Kiev, 01601

Partner, Malta

Natural Remedies, 69, Triq K Galea, Birkirkara, BKR1807

Partner, University College, London

Gower Street, London, WC1E 6BT

Transplant centre, Duke University Hospital

2301 Erwin Rd, Durham, NC 27710, USA

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Family

Cord blood processing and storage for families. Choose a 10 or 25 storage period and reduced fees for twins.

Family Plus

Cord blood and tissue storage for families wishing to store stem cell-rich umbilical tissue as well as cord blood.