Vita 34 - the largest private stem cell bank in Germany

One stem cell does not make a corporation


Headquarter of Vita 34 at the Leipzig Bio City

Vita 34 AG domiciled in Leipzig is the largest and most experienced stem cell bank in the German-speaking countries. The corporation founded in 1997 specializes in the storage of stem cells from umbilical cord blood and tissue as well as the preparation of stem cell transplants from umbilical cord blood. At present, they store the umbilical cord blood and tissue of about 150,000 children from Germany and other European countries. Vita 34 was able to prove the top quality of the stored stem cell preparations in already 30 applications.

Employees and management all share their belief in progress and innovation in stem cell therapy, which bears enormous medical potential. Vita 34 wants to participate actively in shaping this development. This does not only involve special professional knowledge in the fields of chemistry, biology, biotechnology, and medicine, but also the courage and the far-sightedness to lead an enterprise safely, innovatively, and constantly growing into the future between the conflicting fields of research and economy.

Figures and facts concerning Vita 34

  • Founded in April 1997
  • Headquarters and own stem cell laboratory in Leipzig
  • Head count 140 (as at December 2015)
  • About 150,000 stored umbilical cord blood preparations (as at April 2017)
  • Overall performance EUR 18.5 million (as at December 2015)
  • 30 applications of stored umbilical cord blood (as at July 2016)
  • Field of business: collection, preparation and long-term storage of blood and stem cell products for treating various disorders, research and development of new medical products and therapies based on stem cells

Management board

Dr. Wolfgang Knirsch


Dr. Wolfgang Knirsch (CEO)

Chairman of the Management Board of Vita 34 AG (CEO)

Dr. Wolfgang Knirsch has been a Member of the Management Board of Vita 34 since June 2016.

Following successful completion of his doctorate in Inorganic Chemistry at RWTH Aachen, Dr. Knirsch moved from institutional research to the pharmaceutical industry in 1992. He began this career step traditionally in Sales and Marketing at Hoechst AG. Later he was responsible for the product management of internationally relevant ethical preparations of the successor company Aventis Pharma GmbH. After moving to Merck KGaA he was responsible, inter alia, for new business as well as later for the national marketing of the most important drug sector of the company.

In 2005 Dr. Knirsch took on responsibility for strategic and operative marketing at Biotest AG, a specialist in clinical immunology, hematology, intensive and emergency medicine. Following the successful restructuring and reorientation of this area, he moved within that company to their international business in 2011. In his capacity as Vice President International Business, he developed a strategically relevant area of responsibility of several hundred million dollars successfully with global sales partners.



Alexander Starke

Executive Board of Vita 34 AG



Supervisory board

Following the resolution on the amendment of the articles of association to extend the supervisory board, three new members were elected to the supervisory board at the general meeting July 28, 2015. The new members of the supervisory board are Mister Artur Isaev, Mister Heinrich Sundermeyer, and Mrs. Gerrit Witschaß. Furthermore, Dr. med. Mariola Söhngen was elected the replacement member.

At the meeting on July 28, 2015, the supervisory board elected the member of the supervisory board Mister Alexander Starke the new vice chairman of the supervisory board. He took over the position from Dr. Holger Födisch the same day, who remains a member of the supervisory board. Chairman of the supervisory board is and remains Dr. Hans-Georg Giering.

With effect from December 31, 2015, Mister Heinrich Sundermeyer resigned from the supervisory board for health reasons. Dr. Mariola Söhngen takes over his position with effect from January 1, 2016.

With effect from June 12, 2017, Mr. Alexander Starke was appointed to the Management Board as of December 31, 2017, pursuant to Section 105 (2) AktG. Mrs. Gerrit Witschaß took over the deputy chairmanship of the Supervisory Board of Mr. Starke.



Special characteristics of stem cells from umbilical cord blood

  • Stem cells from umbilical cord blood are unique

    The tissue characteristics of your own stem cells are perfectly consistent. They are as unique as the fingerprint and as individual as the personality.

  • Stem cells from umbilical cord blood are young

    Neonatal stem cells are not impaired by age or environment yet. They are unpolluted, viable, usually free from viruses and bacteria, and divide at a very fast rate.

  • Stem cells from umbilical cord blood are flexible

    Stem cells from umbilical cord blood are particularly adaptive. They can become a variety of cell types because of their differentiation potential.

Research projects

Vita 34 is involved actively in application research and collaborates with universities and research institutions all over Europe. In the business year 2015, Vita 34 intensified its research activities and thus allows for the dynamic development in the field of regenerative medicine.


Leipzig University 

Dr. Michael Cross 

Differentiation of stem cells from umbilical cord blood


Fraunhofer Institute for Cell Therapy and Immunology, Leipzig

Prof. Dr. med. Frank Emmerich and Dr. Johannes Boltze

Treatment of stroke

Therapeutic efficacy of adult stem cells depending on the age of cell population and receiving organism


Translation Center for Regenerative Medicine, Leipzig

Dr. Rüdiger Alt

Establishment and evaluation of VSEL stem cell for tissue repair


Leipzig University

Dr. Manja Kamprad

Expansion of stem cells from umbilical cord blood


Rostock University

Prof. Dr. med. Gustav Steinhoff

Treatment of cardiac infarction


Technical University Munich

Prof. Dr. med. Annette-Gabriele Ziegler

Treatment of diabetes type 1


Hannover Medical School

Prof. Dr. Ulrich Martin

Endothelial cells from umbilical cord blood for the production of induced pluripotent stem cells (iPS cells)


Rostock University and Fraunhofer Institute for Cell Therapy and Immunology, Leipzig

Dr. med. Can Yerebakan

Stem cell therapy in tetralogy of Fallot


Fraunhofer Institute for Cell Therapy and Immunology, BioPlanta GmbH Leipzig, and Leibniz Institute of Plant Biochemistry, Halle

Dr. Anika Schumann

The use of frost protection proteins for the cryo-preservation of umbilical cord blood


Leipzig University

Dr. med. Stephan Fricke

Mesenchymal stem cells from the umbilical cord for the treatment of graft-versus-host disease after the transplantation of blood stem cells



Glass laboratory

Vita 34 has its own specialized laboratory at the Bio City Leipzig. Thus, the entire process, from collection to transport, preparation and storage of umbilical cord blood  and tissue to it being handed over to attending physicians, lies in our hands. Paul Ehrlich Institute, an entity of the German Federal Ministry of Health, and other authorities, regularly monitor the laboratory and processes.

You are welcome to look over our shoulder and follow the preparation process at the GMP-compliant high-tech laboratory. Agree an appointment for a visit on location or check it out directly online with our virtual 360° laboratory tour.