3D Bioprinting 2014-2024: Applications, Markets, Players
A technology and market roadmap for the future of bioprinting in the coming decade
3D bioprinting will begin to realize its true potential within the coming decade
3D bioprinting constitutes a raft of technologies, commercial and not-yet commercial, which have the potential to significantly impact a number of major markets, including in vitro testing for more efficient drug discovery and toxicity testing of personal consumer products, as well as the clinical fields relating to implant/grafting of human tissue.
Though not yet employed within its addressable markets (current bioprinter sales and products are to research and development organisations only), the potential for rapid deployment in some areas already exists, subject to adequate funding being made available.
Drug discovery is a highly expensive process which in most cases will end in failure to gain regulatory clearance (see figure 1). The reason for this high failure rate is related to the lack of sufficiently accurate pre-clinical (prior to human volunteer) testing methodologies which have to date been limited to 2-dimensional human cell assays together with animal testing.
Fig. 1. Drug discovery process
Different species can react to different drugs in very different ways, and further, 2-dimendional cell cultures behave very differently in terms of coalescence and proliferation compared to cells which inhabit a 3-dimensional environment. In short, humans are not 2-dimensional 70kg mice.
For some time therefore, medical researchers have sought means to mimic the 3-dimensional human tissue environment in the laboratory in an effort to make the drug discovery process more reliable, thereby (a) reducing complications associated to human clinical trials of novel drugs, (b) lowering the costs resulting from late-stage failures, (c) ensuring that dead-ends are abandoned quickly in order that attention can be focused on more promising avenues, and (d) shortening the drug discovery process timescale so that potentially life-saving drugs make it to the market as soon as possible.
Development of 3D assays has remained a challenge however, as the degree of precision required to emulate cell-to-cell communication in vivo (in the body) has proved elusive. Computer controlled 3D bioprinting, combined with curable bioinks, has now enabled the fabrication of 3D tissue, which moreover can survive for significantly longer periods of time compared to their 2D counterparts, enabling longer term impact of a novel drug on human tissue cultures to be analysed.
Cosmetic/consumer product testing
In 2013 the European Union (EU) enforced new legislation banning the use of animal testing on all personal consumer products. No such product, or any ingredient thereof, may be tested on animals, and no product/ingredient which has been tested on animals outside of the EU may be retailed within the EU. This has proved a major driver for companies in this sector to seek new means of testing the safety of their new products, not least as the EU represents the largest single market for cosmetics and other such products.
For example, in October 2013, the world's largest cosmetic company, L'Oreal, entered into an agreement with 3D bioprinting company Organovo to explore the use of 3D bioprinting for cosmetic safety testing, specifically skin care products.
The longer term holy grail of 3D bioprinting is the ability to be able to print viable human tissue for grafting or implant into the human body. Research is already underway looking at the 3D bioprinting of non-vascular tissue (thin tissue which does not require a network of nutrient delivering capillaries) such as skin and cartilage. Work in this area is expected to commence clinical trials in the immediate future and will reduce the need for mechanical implants and human donors.
On a 30 year horizon, it is hoped that clinicians will be able to 3D bioprint vascular (thick) tissue such as a human kidney or liver. Transplant waiting lists continue to grow disproportionately in comparison to the availability of donor organs and 3D bioprinting of organs would have a number of advantages over donor organs including:
- Earlier transplant when the patient is healthier yielding better outcomes
- Reduced possibility of organ rejection where the organ is grown from the patient's own cells
- Reduced requirement for eg. dialysis or other life supporting intervention, and
- Reduced need for lifelong medication to supress the immune system.
This report provides a realistic timeline for the development and commercialisation of the 3D bioprinting technologies in what are largely heavily regulated application areas. A challenge matrix is presented, and evaluations of the addressable markets and their value provided. Forecasts are given for the period 2014-2025.
In addition to detailing each of the technologies currently employed, together with their state of commercialisation, future application areas are discussed including:
- Medical - tissue engineering, drug discovery, regenerative medicine, dental implants etc.
- Cosmetic/personal consumer product screening
- Food and animal products
The report is informed by in depth interviews with the organisations working in the area of 3D bioprinting, analysing the challenges they face, both technological and otherwise, as well as the different business models employed.
The potential losers resulting from the large-scale uptake of 3D bioprinting are also outlined, emphasising their need for organisations working in the areas listed above to understand the technology and its likely evolutionary path.
This report draws on the wealth of experience of IDTechEx in the area of 3D printing in general, supported by expert opinion. The particular hurdles faced by each application area are addressed, and a timeline for the progressive commercialisation(s) presented (see figure 2).
Fig. 2. Commercialisation timeline
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|3.1.||Inkjet based bioprinting|
|3.2.||Syringe/extrusion based bioprinting|
|3.3.||Magnetic levitation bioprinting|
|3.4.||Laser assisted bioprinting|
|4.1.3.||Tissue replacement (avascular)|
|4.1.4.||Tissue replacement (vascular)|
|4.3.||Consumer/personal product testing|
|4.5.||Food and animal product bioprinting|
|5.1.||Market structure and key players|
|6.||ROADMAP AND FORECASTS|
|7.6.||Fraunhofer Additive Manufacturing Alliance|
|7.7.||Fripp Design Ltd|
|7.8.||MicroFab Technologies Inc|
|7.9.||n3D Biosciences, Inc|
|IDTECHEX RESEARCH REPORTS AND CONSULTANCY|
|3.1.||Comparison of 3D bioprinting technology specifications|
|5.2.||Cost of replacing a human kidney|
|5.3.||The benefits of 3D bioprinting|
|6.1.||Addressable markets with market value for 3D bioprinting|
|6.2.||Possible further opportunities for 3D bioprinting|
|6.3.||Compound annual growth rates under multiple scenarios for diffusion|
|1.1.||3D bioprinting forecast scenarios to 2024|
|1.2.||The widening gap in transplant demand and supply|
|1.3.||A roadmap for 3D bioprinting|
|2.1.||2D (left) vs. 3D (right) cultured cells|
|2.2.||Scaffold built human bladders|
|2.3.||Schematic of the 3D bioprinting process|
|2.4.||Timeline for medical applications of 3D bioprinting|
|2.5.||Organovo 3D bioprinter|
|3.1.||3D inkjet bioprinting|
|3.2.||SWOT analysis for inkjet printing|
|3.3.||Extrusion based bioprinting|
|3.4.||SWOT analysis for extrusion/syringe based bioprinting|
|3.5.||Magnetic levitation bioprinting|
|3.7.||SWOT analysis for magnetic levitation based bioprinting|
|3.8.||Laser guided (left) and laser induced (right) bioprinting|
|3.9.||SWOT analysis for laser-assisted bioprinting|
|3.10.||SWOT analysis for valve-based bioprinting|
|4.1.||Pipeline for drug discovery|
|4.2.||Lung-on-a-chip (top) and gut-on-a-chip (bottom)|
|4.3.||Human organ vascular network|
|4.4.||Section of human skin|
|4.5.||3D bioprinted skin|
|4.6.||The Dermal Repair Construct Printer|
|4.7.||In situ bioprinting device|
|4.9.||3D bioprinted IVD (right)|
|4.10.||3D bioprinted heart valve|
|4.11.||Human organ bioprinting (illustration only)|
|4.12.||Illustration of a kidney vascular tree|
|4.13.||3D bioprinted living tooth|
|4.14.||3D bioprinted sensors|
|4.15.||The Algaerium bioprinter|
|4.16.||Growth factor mechanism|
|5.1.||Number of 3D bioprinting companies as a function of time|
|5.2.||3D bioprinting company activities|
|5.3.||Technologies employed by commercial organisations|
|5.4.||Summary of product offerings of 3D bioprinting companies|
|5.5.||Patent activity of 3D bioprinting companies|
|5.6.||3D bioprinting value chain|
|6.1.||Roadmap for 3D bioprinting|
|6.2.||Market forecasts for 3D bioprinting to 2024|