As 3D printing has grown into a multibillion-dollar industry, discussion of the ever burgeoning, thriving economics surrounding it is one of interest and downright wonder. Considering the technology once played absolutely no role in world finance and few even knew of its existence, this is certainly a boon to many areas, as well as offering new jobs and a multitude of new options to those in design, engineering, and manufacturing.
Expected to expand much further in just the next few years, the industry is growing at a very fast rate, with the nearly $11 billion industry in 2015 expected to balloon to $26.7 billion by 2019. But, as 3D printing has evolved and branched off into so many different areas, there are numerous factors to consider as so many different processes are becoming extremely noteworthy—and generating dollars. One of these—and one of great importance—is bioprinting.
According to recent information from Acute Market Reports, the 3D bioprinting market is about to blast right open—but that’s no surprise; after all, we are talking about technology that is going to be responsible, if all goes as planned, for fabricating organs and completely changing the arduous process of transplant waits and procedures.
It seems quite amazing to look at numbers for 2014 stating the 3D bioprinting market volume was only valued at $481 million. It also comes as absolutely no shock to hear that ‘substantial expansion and growth’ are expected, considering the amount of spectacular cases we follow regarding 3D bioprinting, from 3D printed liver tissue to 3D printed kidney tissue and far more, with researchers all around the world focusing on cellular structures, and even looking toward 3D printing heart muscle.
Obviously this market’s growth is directed heavily from the healthcare industry, and that of researchers. As chronic ailments continue (sadly) and more and more patients land on waiting lists for transplants, the push will be greater and greater to move toward 3D printed organs.
“Modernization in techniques and inclusion of information technology within the healthcare sector, growing old age population base and enhanced research and development efforts made for the development and growth of this sector are predicted to serve the long term interests of this sector. All these factors are going to have high impact on the growth of the 3D Bioprinting market encouraging the expansion of the market,” states the report.
Acute Market points out that a wide range of colleges, universities, and research institutes have begun examining the future of bioprinting, to include implants, cellular reconstruction, as well as the holy grail: organs.
“For example, the Herriot Watt University of Scotland made a 3D bio printer capable of printing the pluripotent stem cell cultures applied for testing the medicines and drugs,” states the report. “Yet another instance displaying the considerable growth of the market is the great current achievement and breakthrough in the field of thyroid gland transplantation in mice by using the 3D bioprinting technique for treating ailment of hypothyroidism. If the outcomes are positive, the firm will begin testing the technique for using it for human beings in next few years.”
Technologies used will be that of:
- Syringe 3D printing
- Magnetic levitation
- Inkjet based 3D bioprinting
- Laser based 3D bioprinting
It is expected that the already popular syringe-based bioprinting will become more highly adaptive, but using laser techniques will be where we see true accelerated growth. Something new in the quotient will be the next generation magnetic levitation 3D bio printers used in applications such as human cell generation, toxicity screening, drug response management and human cell generation.
Main applications that the report focused on for bioprinting were:
- Animal products
- Consumer & personal item testing
Logically, the medical arena will be leading this market. Acute Markets predicts, in fact, that the medical sector will be responsible for 30% of market share by 2022, and will encompass regeneration of implants, organs, tissues and prosthetics. Along with this, 3D printed pharmaceuticals can certainly not be ignored, as while there are some concerns and controversy, the benefits, and especially the affordability factor, are huge.
“As per the different market experts, the pharmaceutical sector is predicted to grow manifolds thereby raising the size of medical invoice production,” states the report.
In examining which regions will lead in bioprinting, the report shows the subcontinent of North America will be at the forefront.
“It held more than 36% of the total market share in year 2014 and is predicted to grow at a CAGR growth rate of 10.3%,” states the report. “Presence of a large old age population as well as chronically sick population within the region combined with good healthcare infrastructure, efficient health care services, rise in per capita income and high patient disposable levels of income are the main drivers encouraging the growth of the 3D bioprinting market in this region.”
The amount of R&D ongoing in North America should also prove to spur on further growth.
The Asia-Pacific region bears attention as well, and this area should in the near future reflect ‘high growth of the healthcare IT sector.’ It’s also expected that there will be substantial growth as investors become more interested—and especially from foreign entities.
“Increase in [the] number of research activities plus government support is predicted to fuel the growth of the 3D Bioprinting sector of this region in coming years,” states the report further.
And who will be the players in this thriving industry? They should prove to be those who have successfully partnered with learning institutions and other research companies focused on bioprinting—and specifically, organ regeneration technologies and grafting. Expect to see names like
- Cyfuse Biomedical
- Bio3D Technologies
- Stratasys Limited
- 3Dynamic Systems
- Oceanz 3D Printing & Additive Manufacturing
- TeVido BioDevices
- Aspect Biosystems
- Luxexcel Group BV
- 3D Systems
It’s expected that many of these companies will also work to raise awareness regarding the incredible benefits of 3D bioprinting, as lives can be made so much better—and many will most likely be saved as well as organs become more readily available at better cost, can be patient-specific, and eliminate the dreaded, traditional organ donor waiting list.