AN innovative stem cell extraction and storage company is poised to double staff numbers at its Scottish base after sealing a partnership with a firm from the United States.

Pharmacells already employs 14 at its base at the Biocity complex in Newhouse, Lanarkshire, but is expanding as a result of a strategic alliance with BioEden.

BioEden specialises in extracting and storing Mesenchymal stem cells, which are found in bone marrow and teeth.

The company, which has its main base in Austin, Texas, extracts the material from teeth and is believed to have been the first in the world to do so when it was founded in 2006.

The agreement with Pharmacells will see the Scottish facility receive process and store the dental samples from BioEden clients outside of the Americas.

The processing will be done in the cleanroom facilities at Newhouse with a team of scientists extracting the donor stem cells.

The cells will then be sent to England for long-term storage giving the donor the option to use the cells in regenerative medicine procedures.

It is expected the majority of the samples to be processed in Scotland will come from Europe.

Pharmacells is planning to extend its current office and laboratory space at Newhouse while the tie-up with BioEden will lead to the creation of 15 jobs.

Athol Haas, chief executive of Pharmacells, said the company has further deals of a similar nature in the pipeline which he hopes will take employment in Scotland to around 50 over the next three years.

Mr Haas, who is also vice president of mergers and acquisitions at Pharmacells owner Precious Cells, said: “This partnership comes at a very exciting time for Precious Cells.

“The strategic alliance between the two companies secures our organisations as the world's largest provider of dental biobanking services and represents a breakthrough deal for businesses in our sector within the UK.

“By forming an alliance with them we have effectively opened up a larger market because we are already a large stem cell bank and we have allowed them to concentrate their focus on acquiring new donors because we have taken over the management of processing all of the product.”

The investment in expanding operations at Newhouse over the next 12 to 24 months is expected to run to around £1.2 million.

Mr Haas wants to double the size of the facility there although he admitted negotiations are not yet completed.

Part of the plan involves building additional storage capacity at the site with Pharmacells hopeful of being able to keep samples there for longer term storage around 12 months from now.

Mr Haas, who described the jobs which will be created in Scotland as “skilled” and “scientific”, said: “We are becoming in Scotland the expert in processing stem cells from different places [in the body].”

Pharmacells, which has a novel technique to isolate and then harvest stem cells from blood, was acquired by Precious Cells in June last year.

Precious Cells specialised in the extraction and storage of stem cells from umbilical cords.

In 2012 Pharmacells bought certain assets from the administrators of Edinburgh based life sciences company Immunosolv.

When Precious Cells bought Pharmacells in July last year it forecast the deal would boost its revenue by up to £3m in the first year and then by £7m and £15m in subsequent years.

London-based Precious Cells suggests there is now a 20 per cent chance an individual will use stem cells to treat a medical condition or to help with a diagnosis.

The global market for stem cell products is predicted to be worth close to £4 billion in 2016.

Stem cells can be used to grow tissue such as muscle, cartilage, nerve, bone and liver.