The 3D cell culture market revenues surpassed US$ 778 million in 2018, as per a new FMI study. The market is estimated to grow at 7.8% y-o-y in 2019; key factors responsible for the projected market growth include,
- A steady rise in global research and development expenditure
- Efforts to leverage the potential of 3D cell culture to replace animal model testing
- Increasing demand for biosimilar products
- Extensive application of stem cell research and a growing emphasis on regenerative medicine
“While 2D cell culture revolutionized the research efforts in stem cells, tissue engineering, and molecular biology, 3D cell culture has pushed the boundaries of traditional 2D cell culture technique with functional superiority. As the R&D efforts continue to rise in a bid to investigate the cause of different diseases and improve human health, 3D cell culture is set to remain a highly sought-after technique in the coming years,” says FMI.
The FMI study finds that scaffold-based 3D cell culture techniques are highly preferred over scaffold-free 3D cell culture. Owing to the significant adoption of scaffold-based 3D cell culture, the study finds that this technique garnered over 81% of the global market revenues.
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Scaffold-based 3D cell culture techniques deliver researchers with additional functional operations in terms of material – natural or synthetic and different mechanical properties.
The technique uses either hydrogel-based support or polymeric hard material based support. Both types of supports find equivalent penetration in terms of application, however revenues garnered from polymeric hard material based support are higher.
According to the study, revenues of polymeric hard material based support held over half the scaffold-based 3D cell culture technique revenues in 2018 and the trend is expected to continue in the future.
Application of 3D Cell Culture in Cancer Research Prominent
The FMI study estimates that 3D cell culture application in cancer research accounted for over 31% of the 3D cell culture market revenues in 2018. Cell culture is an integral part of cancer drug discovery practices. Greater strides are underway in the field to precisely characterize the diseases and develop advanced tumor cell lines using 3D cell culture techniques.
2D culture lines are considered as a standard for in vitro pre-clinical cancer treatment screening. However, more recently, the field is turning to 3D cell culture techniques to implement an ideal experimental model that mimics the human body environment to its best.
Stem cell technology is another lucrative field for 3D cell culture market. According to the FMI study, application in stem cell technology accounted for over one-fourth of the 3D cell culture market revenues in 2018. While 2D cell culture posed challenges of scalability in stem cell technology, apart from a few challenges, 3D cell culture has provided greater density and multi-fold expansion of the culture system in stem cell technology. Other fields that utilize 3D cell culture techniques are tissue regeneration, regenerative medicine, and drug discovery.
Biotechnology and Pharmaceutical Industries – Prominent End-Users
The study reveals that the biotechnology and pharmaceutical industries were accounted for over one-fifth of the global 3D cell culture market revenues in 2018. Buoyancy in the biotechnology and pharmaceutical industries can be profitable for the 3D cell culture market in the coming years and over 9% growth is projected in 2019 over 2019.
Academic research institutes are the second prominent end-users of 3D cell cultures wherein they accounted for over one-fourth of the global 3d cell culture revenues in 2018. Government funding in cancer research projects carried out at academic institutes and organizations has increased significantly, thereby supporting the investments in advanced technologies including 3D cell culture techniques.
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Revenues in North America Continue to Surge
North America continued to spearhead the revenues of 3D cell culture market during the historical period and the status-quo is likely to continue in the future. In 2018, North America accounted for over two-fifths of the global 3D cell culture market revenues. The study estimates that regional revenues are expected to grow at 8% in 2019 over 2018.
Funding in research and development, especially in cancer research remains higher in the United States as compared to other developed countries. Europe also presents significant funding in R&D activities. The FMI study finds that over one-fourth of the 3D cell culture market revenues were accounted for the Europe region in 2018, of which a bulk of revenues come from Western European countries such as Germany, the UK, France, Italy and Spain.