After years of monitoring the bioprinting industry, a new SmarTech Analysis report estimates that this segment’s market size is expected to reach almost $1.2 billion in 2028, compared with just $182 million today. In “Bioprinting: Markets and Opportunities,” the AM industry analysis firm expects almost 70 percent of the bioprinting industry to come from applications and service revenues and anticipates that bioprinters will bring in around $100 million in revenues by 2031.
Bioprinting has evolved since the development of the first bioprinter in the early 2000s to the production of pathology models, tissue design for drug screening, medical research, and regenerative medicine. Although the ideal workflow of bioprinting – which ends with the replacement of functional organs in patients – still needs to overcome several challenges, breakthroughs in bioprinting have already led to advances in microfluidics and organs-on-a-chip, with 3D printed biomaterials increasingly becoming part of medical procedures, such as for bone and graft production.
The report also claims that although we are many years from transplanting printed organs, bioprinting is finding a rapidly growing application in drug and cosmetics testing. Using printed tissues and organs avoids the need for animal testing and enables testing on printed tissue and organs that are realistic substitutes for the real thing. Additionally, production-grade bioprinters and reproducible bioprinting applications are coming to the fore, so by 2031, research and development service revenues will clock up almost $250 million in service and applications revenue for bioprinting, which will still only amount to 12 percent of total service and applications revenues in the bioprinting industry.
“New applications are quickly emerging for bioprinting, and they are very much in line with important megatrends in healthcare—notably the trends towards personalized medicine and bringing care closer to the patient. For example, bioprinting can enable procedures such as skin grafting to be performed in a clinic rather than at specialized hospitals,” said Lawrence Gasman, founder of SmarTech Analysis and author of the report.
As SmarTech’s third major report on the topic, it highlights the leading trends in the industry and covers everything from bioprinters to bioprinting applications, including soft robotics, pill printing, and printed food, and examines the long-term prospects for transplanting bioprinted organs. It says that bioprinters will move beyond the currently dominant extrusion and inkjet machines, which account for over 90% of bioprinter revenues today. Moreover, the document states that “by 2031, 15 percent of bioprinter revenues will come from printers based on entirely novel printing technologies.”
Through a realistic assessment of bioprinting’s commercial future and a thorough analysis of the companies in the sector, SmarTech determines that technological innovation across the entire bioprinting sector will accelerate. The new report points to three developments in particular as areas of strong commercial potential, for example, organs-on-a-chip. Additionally, it identifies technical trends leading bioprinting forward and will improve patient costs and expand capabilities. One such trend is next-generation bioprinting platforms that have greater capacities, can automate the work, and integrate medical functionality well beyond basic bioprinting.
Although the report recognizes over 100 businesses in the bioprinting sector, many of them have negligible revenues, while a select few are incorporating various technologies into their portfolio through mergers and acquisitions, such as 3D Systems and BICO. In this sense, the new SmarTech report provides a realistic assessment of bioprinting’s commercial future, including an analysis of how the major bioprinting companies are designing their marketing strategies.
Unraveling the forthcoming bioprinting revolution is critical to a segment that is not without its challenges. Tissues engineered with bioprinting technologies face significant hurdles, like vascularization, higher resolution printers, and more biomaterials. These limitations need to be addressed to achieve the dream goal of creating functional bioprinted constructs for regenerative therapies and transplant purposes. Nevertheless, SmarTech Analysis sees the potential in this sector, and this report sheds light on the bioprinting ecosystem and its role in the wider 3D printing industry as well as the healthcare sector.
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