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StemBioSys CEO: Company has room to grow in San Antonio
July 3, 2018

Bob Hutchens is CEO of StemBioSys Inc. CARLOS JAVIER SANCHEZ | SABJ

By W. Scott Bailey – Senior Reporter, San Antonio Business Journal

StemBioSys' positive growth curve is drawing interest from potential partners outside its San Antonio home. While a sale or merger could cost the city one of its most promising biotechs, the company’s top leaders said the Alamo City is the perfect place to build on StemBioSys’ momentum.

A year ago, StemBioSys had a single stem cell expansion product. By July, the Alamo City biotech expects its portfolio will include seven or more products and additional cell-related platforms from which to further expand its commercial reach.

The company’s upward trajectory has captured attention on both coasts from people who have questioned whether San Antonio can muster the assets needed to keep growing.

“One of the questions I get is can we actually hire the people that we need. It’s a fair question. But the fair answer back is that it’s a nonissue,” StemBioSys CEO Bob Hutchens told me. “We have a labor force here that can support this industry.”

The possibility of a merger — perhaps sooner than later — is real.

“We’ve had offers. And we have to look at those as we are ultimately owned by our shareholders,” Hutchens said.

After securing $8 million in its Series A round, StemBioSys closed on a $4.3 million Series B funding in May, giving it a significant fiscal boost. The company also hired a chief marketing officer and is directing more of its focus to branding the company.

Meanwhile, there are several factors working in San Antonio’s favor, Hutchens said. High on the list are affordability and access to space that would be much more expensive in some biotech markets.

“There is an incredible cost advantage to being here,” Hutchens said. “Cost of living, other things make this a very attractive proposition.”

It’s also important to StemBioSys leaders that BioMed SA has focused much of its attention on regenerative medicine — an area in which the Alamo City has an opportunity to differentiate itself from other cities.

In 2014, BioMed SA helped bring the World Stem Cell Summit to San Antonio. Organizers of the global event were impressed with its outcome and indicated an interest in bringing it back to the Alamo City.

Other international conferences have taken note of the talent here as well. On June 22, StemBioSys was among the presenters at the International Society for Stem Cell Research Innovation Showcase in Melbourne, Australia.

“We have the potential to become a major player in this emerging industry,” Hutchens said. “It’s very clear as you look at the city’s assets in this space that, even if we were to merge with a partner outside of San Antonio, you could envision we would continue to have a presence here because of the assets that are here.”

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