STEMCELL Technologies, Canada’s largest biotechnology company, is marking its 30th year of accelerating research into cancer and other diseases by celebrating its culture of collaboration, curiosity, and discovery.
In July of 1993, Dr. Eaves remortgaged his home and obtained a government business loan to start STEMCELL and commercialize a reliable source of cell culture media for growing the blood-forming stem cells that can result in leukemia when they go wrong. This media, which he called MethoCult™, is now the global standard for growing blood-forming stem cells.
Today, Vancouver-headquartered STEMCELL sells more than 2,500 other products including specialized media, growth factors, monoclonal antibodies, cell separation reagents, instruments, plastic ware, and contract assay services.
“STEMCELL has come a long way in the last 30 years, and by growing our talented team we are well-positioned to achieve even more in the decades to come,” said Founder, President and CEO Dr. Allen Eaves.
“Through our ever-expanding portfolio of high-quality products and services, we are supporting cancer research by making culture media for growing the stem cells of tissues that are prone to cancer, including blood, brain, breast, intestine, kidney, liver, lung, pancreas, prostate, and skin cells. This has enabled us to build unparalleled trust and confidence within the global scientific community.”
STEMCELL’s story originates in the 1980s when Dr. Eaves was Director of the Vancouver based Terry Fox Laboratory. His team was working to understand how growth factors cause blood stem cells to give rise to white and red cells, and what goes wrong in cases of leukemia.
This work required cell culture media with raw materials that were carefully selected to produce reproducible growth from one experiment to the next. Soon colleagues in other institutions wanted to use this media so their results could be compared both internally and between labs in other institutions.
As a privately held company, STEMCELL has averaged 20 percent annual growth since its inception. This has been accomplished by putting all profits back into research, facilities and sustainability initiatives.
Ninety-seven percent of its sales are outside Canada to over 25,000 customers globally. With sales staff in 20 countries and distributors in 80 other countries, STEMCELL is a company of scientists helping scientists. Of its 2,300 global employees, 1,800 of those are based in Canada.
Deeply rooted in education, the company provides on-site and virtual training programs, as well as 21 tissue-specific weekly newsletters as part of a Science News program with more than 200,000 readers. This helps ensure scientists are trained and prepared to conduct reproducible research effectively and efficiently. For its own staff, STEMCELL offers over 1,700 training courses, either in-person or virtually.