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A high-tech Plymouth based organisation has cemented its ties with a Swiss Company by signing a long term contract. Plymouth International Medical & Technology Park based Biovault Technical has been officially selected as a partner to provide cord blood banking facilities to Zurich based BioCord.

Cord blood banking, a technique developed over 20 years ago, involves collecting blood from the umbilical cord and placenta which contains stem cells that could potentially be used for the treatment of that child or another member of the family. The process is growing in popularity with the global market now estimated at over £10.5 billion and over 580,000 units stored worldwide.

The process pioneered in the US is particularly popular in the USA, Europe, and the Far East and has been used in transplantation to treat a variety of conditions including cerebral palsy and sickle cell disease.

Under the terms of the agreement, BioCord offers cord blood banking services to expectant parents then arranges the collection of the cord blood following the birth of their baby in several countries, including Spain, which are then transported via courier to Biovault, where they are processed and then stored for up to 30 years.

Carlos Moreno, BioCord’s Spanish subsidiary General Manager, who visited Plymouth last week said: “We are delighted that Bio-Cord has extended its relationship with Biovault. Quite simply, they have the best cord blood banking and processing facilities in Europe together with the highest possible accreditations. Naturally, our clients in Spain expect our standards to be extremely high for such a critical service. We look forward to working together in the future.”

Will Barclay, CEO at Biovault said: “We are extremely pleased to have been officially selected by Bio-Cord as their exclusive cord blood banking provider. This is an important part of our plan to extend our overseas network of providers who are drawn by our world class facilities and reputation.”

In addition to BioCord who operates in Spain, Portugal and Switzerland, Biovault has partnerships with organisations around the world including, Italy, Dubai, Jordan and Lebanon who also offer this service. In the UK, Biovault, which is part owned by Plymouth University, is trusted to provide tissue banking facilities to both the NHS and private hospitals. It has successfully released the highest number of cord blood stem cell samples (from a UK private cord blood bank) for transplant on behalf of private clients, and over 3,500 bone marrow and peripheral blood stem cells for use in the NHS as part of a cancer treatment programme for which it is JACIE accredited, the only private tissue bank to have achieved this in Europe.

Biovault is not just a cord blood bank, it is a fully operational tissue bank that releases tissue and cells for transplantation every week to NHS and private hospitals.