10 October 2016
WideCells Group PLC ('WideCells Group' or 'the Group' or 'the Company')
Update on CellPlan - an innovative stem cell insurance plan
WideCells Group PLC, the healthcare services company focused on providing stem cell banking services and ground breaking insurance for stem cell treatment, is pleased to announce that it has finalised the terms and conditions for CellPlan, the world's first stem cell healthcare insurance plan and medical concierge service, which was launched to cord blood banks in May 2016 at the World Cord Blood Congress in London. Additionally, the Company has established offices in Porto, Portugal and made a number of staff appointments. CellPlan is designed to make treatment using stem cells collected from umbilical cord blood affordable and accessible to families worldwide. It provides access to international stem cell specialists and hospitals and financial cover for up to €1 million worth of medical, travel and accommodation expenses.
· Finalised the terms and conditions for CellPlan's innovative insurance product, which is offered in conjunction with Best Doctorsâ, a global leader in expert medical opinion, and underwritten by a leading reinsurance company
· Established headquarters in Porto, Portugal and registered subsidiary in Portugal as CellPlan International Lda - Portugal is a cost-efficient location for the Company, providing a strategic base from which to access the wider European stem cell market
· Strengthened operational team through the appointment of key professionals who have proven experience within the healthcare and insurance sectors to support CellPlan's active growth strategy as it looks to sign up international cord blood banks
WideCells Group CEO, João Andrade, said, "CellPlan has the potential to revolutionise the stem cell industry and ultimately, to make access to potentially lifesaving treatments much more affordable. Having launched our product earlier this year in May 2016 we are delighted to have now finalised the insurance terms, which marks a crucial milestone in CellPlan's development and ultimate commercialisation. Our focus is now on securing the necessary licencing needed to roll-out our product, a process which is much quicker in Portugal than in some other markets. To support this process, we are delighted to have appointed a number of experienced healthcare and insurance professionals who have the requisite skill set and experience to lodge the necessary licencing applications and fuel the growth of our integrated stem cell services offering. This team will be based at our newly established offices in Porto, Portugal, which ideally positions the Company to target the European stem cell market. Crucially, our team is working alongside a world class team of health care professionals who have renowned global experience. We are delighted to be combining our skills within the stem cell and healthcare industries to develop this innovative CellPlan product."
Frank Ahedo, European Managing Director of Best Doctors, said, "We are seeing a transition in how health insurance is being designed and sold. It is no longer being developed in isolation of true customer needs and insurers are no longer shying away from specialised areas of medicine such as stem cell therapy. To really develop value propositions there must be a clear understanding of customers' needs and the specific area of medicine that is being addressed. This can only truly be achieved when working in partnership with companies who are experts in their field. We certainly feel that our partnership with CellPlan ticks all the necessary boxes."
Finalised Terms & Conditions
CellPlan has finalised the terms and conditions for its insurance plan (the 'Policy'), which aims to make stem cell treatment accessible and affordable by providing financial cover for services and medical expenses in respect of treatment involving the use of stem cells obtained from the donor's stored umbilical cord blood. Currently, it costs a few thousand pounds to collect and store stem cell; however, in the event that stem cell treatment is required, the costs can run into the hundreds of thousands of pounds, making it unaffordable for most families. Consequently, CellPlan's insurance cover removes this significant cost, providing access to potentially life-saving treatments for an average price of £150 per annum. This covers medical expenses, travel expenses, accommodation expenses and repatriation expenses.
Medical procedures covered under the insurance plan (the 'Covered Medical Procedure') are:
· Haemopoietic Stem Cell Transplantation (HSCT), using CD34+ haemopoietic stem cells
· Infusion of haemopoietic stem cells for the treatment of Cerebral Palsy as part of a Clinical Trial registered at clinicaltrials.gov
The insurance plan is valid when the following terms are met:
Conditions for the use of the donor´s stored Umbilical Cord Blood ('UCB')
· The recipient of the transplant is an Insured under the Policy;
· The procedure requires the use of stem cells obtained from stored UCB stem cells from a donor who is an Insured under the Policy;
· The sample of the UCB is stored at the cord blood bank declared at the moment of the application for the Policy
· The blood tests performed at the cord blood bank prior to storage show an amount of Viable Stem Cells in the sample to be deemed Suitable Stem Cells for a Haemopoietic stem cell transplantation or a Clinical Trial covered by the Policy.
Conditions for the medical treatment:
· The procedure is performed during the period of cover;
· The treatment is Medically Necessary;
· The diagnosis leading to the Covered Medical Procedure is confirmed by the Your Expert Consultation service;
· The relevant Illness or condition leading to the diagnosis of the Covered Medical Procedure:
o was not diagnosed, treated or showed related medically documented symptoms
o was not the subject of genetic counselling or medical advice prior to the Commencement or the relevant Inclusion Date for each insured patient.
· The expenses covered by the Policy are within the Sum Insured and limits stated in the Particular Conditions;
· The treatment is arranged by Best Doctors in accordance with the Claims Procedure set out in the Policy;
· The expenses for any medical diagnostic procedures, treatment, services, supplies or prescriptions are covered by the Policy.
Partnership with Best Doctors
This insurance plan has been agreed in conjunction with Best Doctors, a global leader in expert medical opinion and underwritten by a leading reinsurance company. The operational complexities of delivering healthcare services and insurance solutions on a multimarket basis are considerable, including such important areas as regulatory, legal and data protection. CellPlan's partnership with Best Doctors is a unique opportunity to merge their core competencies in the areas of medical, operational and insurance and create a distinctive customer proposition.
Best Doctors is well established as a global provider of expert second medical opinion. In recent years it has also had considerable success and become a market leader in the development and implementation of niche health insurance products. Its experience in connecting individuals with complex health conditions with leading medical experts and building transparent and affordable customer friendly health insurance products made them a perfect partner for CellPlan.
The Company is now officially registered in Portugal as CellPlan International, and has founded offices in Porto, Portugal. Portugal was identified as a strategic location for the subsidiary company due to the favourable pricing environment; rental costs, average salaries and consultancy costs are generally lower compared to the UK.
Refurbishment of the 90m2 office has now commenced and is expected to be fully operational by the end of November.
Strengthened Management Team
CellPlan has made four appointments to its management team, all of whom will be based in Portugal at the Company's newly established Porto office. These professionals are experienced in the insurance and healthcare industries and will be responsible for managing CellPlan's ongoing operations, including signing up and providing support to cord blood banks globally, coordinating the medical treatment process with Best Doctors, providing customer support services, and building and executing targeted marketing campaigns.
Ricardo Pires, Office Manager
Ricardo has extensive experience within the insurance industry and has worked with a number of global companies including AXA Exclusive Agent, Global Alliance Angola Seguros and Aon Mozambique Insurance Brokers. Most recently he was Managing Director of Real Risk Mozambique before assuming the role of Commercial Director at Liberty & Trevo (Angola) Companhia de Seguros, S.A. in February 2016, where he was responsible for the brokers' network and created a pipeline worth about US$24 million. He will be integral in overseeing the licencing process for CellPlan, which is anticipated to take up to 100 days in Portugal.
Maria Camacho, Marketing Manager
Maria has a BA (Hons) in Marketing Management has significant B2B and B2C experience. She has previously worked with a number of global marketing agencies, including Interbrand, one of the world's largest brand consultancies.
Susana Seromenho, Key Account Manager
Susana has a BA, MA and Executive MBA from Porto Business School, focused on Marketing and Organisational Development. She has experience working with large companies in the pharmaceutical industry including Johnson & Johnson and Bluepharma, S.A. She has excellent sales experience, including on an international level.
Mariana Lima, Marketing Assistant
Mariana previously worked for one of the largest pharmaceutical companies in Portugal, BIAL - Portela & Cª, S.A., as a marketing assistant for international markets. She has a BA (Hons) and post-graduate degree in Marketing Management and Digital Marketing.
For further information, please visit the Company's website www.widecellsgroup.com, follow us on Twitter @WideCells_Group or contact:
CEO - João Andrade
Tel: +351 919 033 171
Vicarage Capital Ltd
Broker - Jeremy Woodgate & Rupert Williams
Tel: +44 (0) 20 3651 2912
Shard Capital Partners LLP
Broker - Damon Heath & Erik Woolgar
Tel: +44 (0) 207 186 9950
St Brides Partners Ltd
PR - Elisabeth Cowell & Charlotte Page
Tel: +44 (0) 20 7236 1177
Notes to Editors
WideCells Group PLC is building an integrated stem cell services company, focused on making stem cell treatments accessible and affordable. The Directors believe that the use of cord blood stem cells for transplant will drive one of the next important phases in medicine and is therefore developing market leading products in complementary, strategic areas which are designed to take advantage of substantial market opportunities in one of the fastest growing segments in the healthcare industry. With this in mind, it has created three divisions:
· CellPlan: the world's first stem cell healthcare insurance plan with financial cover for medical treatment, travel and accommodation expenses and concierge service to manage the treatment process
· WideCells: a portfolio of best in class stem cell processing and cord blood storage facilities with an existing presence in UK and Brazil
· WideAcademy: developing an education and training division to promote awareness of the benefits of stem cell storage across the global general practice community.
The Group has built an experienced senior management team that has been integral to the development of its growth and business to date.
Stem Cell Fast Facts:
· Cord blood (which is taken from the umbilical cord) provides the most effective source of stem cells for families due to it being simple, safe and painless to collect relative to other sources of stem cells such as bone marrow - WideCells will focus on promoting the collection and storage of this.
· Since 2005, there has been a 300% increase in the number of illnesses that can be treated using stem cells
· 82 illnesses can currently be treated using stem cell procedures
· Despite initial storage often costing no more than a few £thousand, actual treatment can cost in the £hundreds of thousands
This announcement contains inside information for the purposes of Article 7 of the Market Abuse Regulation (EU) 596/2014 (MAR).
This information is provided by RNS