Growth factors (GFs), which include cytokines, are rather unstable proteins with half-lives sometimes as short as a few minutes. This instability is an important part of their function. Imagine GFs that persisted for months in-vivo: they would be widely diffused and their ability to define tissues would be lost.
Extracellular vesicles (EVs) are microscopic hollow lipid spheres which shuttle cargo, including proteins and nucleic acids, between cells. The biological importance of EVs in normal tissue homeostasis and also disease is well established. Consequently, their clinical potential as therapeutics and diagnostics is the focus of much attention.
Extracellular vesicles (EVs), and exosomes in particular, are transitioning from academic research to biotech development and onwards towards the clinic. Close to 50 EV companies have already emerged, particularly since 2017, with growing support from investors. These companies are focusing on both therapeutic and diagnostic applications. The emerging exosome biotech companies have a surprisingly diverse set of strategies which are shaping the medical and commercial future of the nascent exosome field.