2021 estimates by one of the world’s leading research firms places the value of the global biotechnology market at 1,023.92 billion.
The same company says that upcoming growth—anticipated at 13.9% between now and 2030— will be driven primarily by a variety of emerging trends that will help the biotech industry speed up their discovery processes, recruit patients for clinical trials more effectively, automate a wide range of internal processes, target prevention strategies and treatment, and much more—all with far-reaching implications for medicine and agriculture.
New trends are emerging daily, but the most influential ones include:
- Artificial Intelligence (AI) is helping biotech companies to analyze microbiomes, screen phenotypes and develop rapid diagnostics. AI-based algorithms are screening cancer cells from medical scans, and cropping disease samples from plant material—accelerating the detection of biomarkers and other distinctive traits.
- Big Data and other analytic solutions are allowing biotech companies to process an unprecedented amount of data—information that is helping agriculture-based companies develop hardier crops and livestock breeds, and medical start-ups to recruit patients for clinical trials more efficiently.
- Gene Editing has evolved significantly with the development of engineered nucleases—specifically, CRISPR, a type of “molecular scissors” that allows genes to be added, replaced, or silenced. This opens up new options for the treatment of human genetic disorders, and facilitates the development of better transgenic animals and plants.
- Precision Medicine is an approach that is allowing medical providers to make evidence-based decisions on treatments and prevention strategies for individuals diagnosed with a wide spectrum of illnesses—including cancer.
- Gene Sequencing is another innovative trend that presents a rapid and inexpensive method to detect the presence of microbes. Ranging from the identification of beneficial soil microbes to the detection of pathogens in clinical samples, gene sequencing is contributing to the identification of and personalized treatments for illness and disorders.
- Biomanufacturing utilizes biological systems to create specialty chemicals, biomaterials, food and beverages, and medical products and therapies. To make the process affordable and scalable, biotech companies are studying various fermentation, cell culture, and recombinant production technologies.
- Synthetic Biology offers increased standardization and reproducibility to the product development process, contributing to a higher yield of biochemicals for pharma and agricultural applications.
- Bioprinting accelerates both prototyping and the development of biopolymers, enabling the creation of bone, skin and vascular grafts from the patient’s own cells for personalized medicine.
- Microfluids allow pharma R&D teams to develop integrated clinical testing solutions in a single, micro-sized platform. Biotech companies are leveraging these microfluids to allow for rapid, inexpensive testing of infectious diseases at the point-of-care (PoC).
- Tissue Engineering, a development that is closely connected to the evolutions in the fields of bioprinting and microfluidics, is being used increasingly in the biotech industry. Tissue engineering allows for the creation of autologous tissue grafts (cells obtained from the same individual), facilitates organ transplantation, and is expected to continue making significant contributions to regenerative medicine.
These 10 biotech trends are just the tip of the iceberg. In addition to these innovations, there are dozens—if not hundreds—more technologies currently being researched, developed and launched with the power to transform the industry. As biotech business entrepreneurs and executives, remember: knowledge is power. Keeping a careful eye on these trends and innovations so you can leverage them in your business can help you gain an important advantage in this competitive arena.