Cryobanks International India(CII), a JV between Cryobanks International Inc of US, and RJ Corp of India, is planning to invest Rs 500 crore in the health care industry in the country over the next five years. The stem cell banking company is looking at investing Rs 150 crore in the first phase to set up cord-blood stem-cell banks. Around 10 to 15 such banks will come up, of which some would be overseas. It aimed to start stem cell therapy units in the country as well. Stem cells collected from cord blood can be used for treating more than 75 serious ailments like thallasemia, different kinds of congenital anaemia, and metabolic disorders. Apart from these already established clinical usages, trials were on in areas like heart disorders, parkinsonism and diabetes. Trials to develop potential stem cell therapies for peripheral vascular diseases and cardiac disorders are in the Phase II stage. Given the potential of therapeutic uses, the company was looking for partner institutions, both private and public, to develop stem cell therapy units, besides setting up banks. At present the country’s only stem-cell bank is in Gurgaon with the facility to preserve around 150,000 units. Delhi will soon to have a cord blood transplant (CBT) unit as well with facilities for R&D. India has over 25 million births every year, and therefore the market in the country for collecting cord blood cells was huge, said Mrinalini Chaturvedi, medical director. The company expected turnover to rise from Rs 8 crore last year to Rs 300 crore in the next five years.