14 Nov 2012, BioSpectrum Bureau , BioSpectrum
Singapore: Cell culture is going to become the next big pharmaceutical trend, as laboratories rush to meet demand for stem cell and biologics, states a new report by healthcare experts GBI Research. The global cell culture market was worth $3.4 billion in 2011, and is expected to grow at a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 9.3 percent between 2011-18 to reach $6.3 billion in 2018.
Manufacturing of biopharmaceuticals involves cell culture methods, and the growing trend for biologics will boost the demand for cell culture processing. Due to their unique method of development, biopharmaceutical products are not easy to be imitated by generic forms. R&D in the sector is largely devoted to deriving novel mechanisms of action, and increasing access to newer treatments to produce potential cures and improve the quality of life for people suffering from various diseases and conditions. The development and manufacturing of these biological products is directly related to the growing demand for cell culture.
Stem cell research also has enormous potential for cell culture. Cell culture methods ensure standardized production and propagation of highly purified stem cells and their differentiated progeny. Conventional therapies manage the disease symptoms, while stem cell therapies treat the cause of the disease, and from a commercial perspective this deficit of curative treatments in conventional therapies makes stem cell research a potential goldmine.
The cell culture market has more than 90 percent of its products manufactured by a small number of players, including EMD Millipore, Life Technologies, Sigma-Aldrich and Thermo Fisher Scientific. A significant number of small players are also entering into the market, especially in emerging countries. However, tough industry regulations limit the speed at which these companies can progress.
The cell culture process requires precise handling, with any changes affecting the safety and efficacy profile of the final product. As a result of this, the processes used for cell culturing are constrained by strict controls, which slow down development and act as a bottleneck to progression in cell culture processing techniques.