Biotechnology (or BioTech) has already evolved to be one of the fields that pay extensive attention to research and its industrial application. Progress continues to be made, which becomes evident considering the global biotechnology market size is expected to reach 513 billion Euro by 2020.

Whether it is artificial organs or apps to probe physiological parameters – biotechnology is hard at work, developing effective, inexpensive, and pervasive solutions. We analyzed 600+ BioTech startups and their technologies to identify what’s next. We will disclose the innovation areas that are bound to deeply impact the sector in the near future.

 


The global biotechnology market size is expected to reach 513 billion Euro by 2020.

Biosensors

A variety of biosensors detect indicators of diseases through biological, chemical or physical processes and help prevent and heal them or predict symptoms. Temperature, blood oxygenation, movement and activity, heart rate, cutaneous blood perfusion, and volume are but a few of the variables sensors are suited to track.

Both outside-the-body and inside-the-body biosensors transmit collected data to analyze it correctly. Once data is uploaded to the cloud, physicians are able to view it on their smart devices in order to treat patients.

Israeli startup Sensible Medical creates high-tech vest monitors called SensiVest. The monitors use radar technology to detect the accurate amount of fluid in the lungs of heart failure patients and deliver the data to their doctors via secured cloud technology.

Biosensors

Will this innovation area disrupt the industry?

Artificial Intelligence (AI)

As AI technologies, machine learning and deep learning involve patient demographics, drug discovery, and other external environmental factors these technologies will deeply impact the process of drug discovery as well as detecting, confirming and treating diagnosis using large sets of genome data.

The technology has already improved cancer research as a US-based BioTech company utilized deep learning to detect which cells in a host body were cancerous. Moreover, experts believe AI could lead to the end of human experimentation through detailed simulation of human physiology.

London-based BenevolentAI employs artificial intelligence and machine learning to accelerate and improve drug discovery. Through AI, the startup mines and analyzes biomedical information from clinical trials data and academic papers – a process resulting in the identification of molecules that have failed in clinical trials and the prediction of how these same compounds can instead be more efficient targeting other diseases.

Artificial Intelligence (AI)

Will this innovation area disrupt the industry?

3D Bioprinting

Incorporating viable living cells, 3D bioprinting technology is used to create functional, three-dimensional tissue to repair or replace in the human body. Various tissues like bone, cartilage, skin, and heart valves have already been printed successfully.

Researchers are now trying to reproduce neural structures using 3D nano printing technologies. Furthermore, 3D bioprinting technology promises to be capable of printing pills and drugs in the near future.

Besides the OR and treatment, 3D printed tissues and organs can be used for surgical planning, biomedical research, and education purposes.

The US-based startup Cellink Global builds patent-pending bioink made of a biomaterial that enables cells to grow and thrive as they would in their natural environment. Cellink Global manufactures a universal bioink that is compatible with any cell type and with any 3D bioprinting system. The company’s bioinks combine the advantages of shear-thinning nano-fibrillar cellulose and the versatility of alginate. Moreover, the startup offers a set of bioink kits that are designed for specific purposes.

 

3D Bioprinting

Will this innovation area disrupt the industry?

Gene Editing

The cost of sequencing the human genome has drastically decreased over the past decade, dropping from roughly 8.5 million Euro to just 850 Euro. Emerging technologies allow for a more accurate and more precise modification such as the deactivation, removal, or replacement of genetic material.

The implementation of genome editing or genome engineering, as this innovation area is also called, is currently making headlines with the Clustered Regularly Interspaced Short Palindromic Repeats (CRISPR)/Cas9 method. It is considered the most disruptive among gene editing technologies, holding an immense potential to cure many difficult-to-treat diseases by targeting specific genes.

Swiss CRISPR Therapeutics develops gene-based medicines for patients with serious diseases. Utilizing CRISPR/Cas9, the startup aims at curing diseases at the molecular level. Their lead programs in beta-thalassemia and sickle cell disease have advanced to IND/CTA-enabling studies with a CTA filing, moreover, the team is advancing additional programs in ex vivo and in vivo disease areas.

Gene Editing

Will this innovation area disrupt the industry?

Synthetic Biology & Metabolic Engineering

The rapid advancement of metabolic engineering and synthetic biology has spiked in an increased production of chemicals, fuels, and materials from renewable biomass. Synthetic biology has brought the engineering approach to genetic modification, allowing for the construction of new biological parts, devices, and systems, as well as the remodeling of natural biological systems.

Equipped with these possibilities, new doors open for many industrial sectors such as energy, food, pharma, and IT to develop new products using less costly, more sustainable and energy-efficient processes.

Danish Biosyntia aims at replacing chemical-based vitamin production through sustainable and fermentation-based processes. The startup’s patent-pending high-throughput screening technology allows for the development of several new natural ingredients like nutraceuticals, flavors, fragrances, and feed additives while saving costs.

Synthetic Biology & Metabolic Engineering

Will this innovation area disrupt the industry?

Tissue Engineering

Regenerating or improving skin, bones, muscles up to entire organs is made possible by tissue engineering, a progressive field of regenerative medicine. The development of either synthetic or natural human tissue in a lab is used for patients with severe burns or failing organs, among others.

While researchers have recently found a way to grow the tissue that makes up the human eyeball from only a small sample of adult skin, tissue engineering also offers non-therapeutic applications. Tissue can be used as a biosensor, detecting biological or chemical threat agents and tissue chips to test the toxicity of an experimental medication.

French startup Lattice Medical develops guided adipose tissue reconstruction solutions for breast regeneration. With the help of the Tissue Engineering Chamber (TEC) the startup engineers and creates a bioprosthesis that is completely absorbed by the adipose tissues of the patient. The resorbable tissue regeneration techniques used by Lattice Medical help completely overcome traditional disadvantages such as rejection or infection.

 

Tissue Engineering

Will this innovation area disrupt the industry?

Big Data

Nowadays, big data is one of the most important traits of biological studies. Data such as genome and RNA sequence, protein and metabolism, protein-protein and protein-DNA interaction, gene expression is collected to generate a better understanding of basic biological mechanisms.

Moreover, through gathering information about genomic sequences, molecular pathways, of different populations researchers are able to recognize large-scale patterns and make predictions.

German analytical startup Metabolomic Discoveries offers concepts and solutions for complex biological questions in industrial biotech, health & nutrition, and food & agriculture. The company’s biochemical research is focused on high-resolution comprehensive metabolite profiling in biological systems, the identification of biomarkers and the qualitative improvement of life by combining analytical and big-data approaches. In 2015, Metabolomic Discoveries launched Kenkodo, a personalized metabolomics service that helps individuals find their optimal lifestyle.

Big Data

Will this innovation area disrupt the industry?

Virtual Reality (VR)

VR platforms are already implemented to support rehab patients to recover from various injuries. Additionally, virtual reality makes an essential contribution to the improvement of bioimaging as it provides detailed 3D images of the human body.

It aids in achieving more accurate and superior outcomes in image-guided surgery, improves cardiac and lung imaging, and provides physicians with real-time insights into the cardiovascular system. Furthermore, using 3D imaging, VR equips patients to see how a drug works instead of reading the patient information leaflet.

The US-based startup Syandus uses Virtual Reality for Continued Medical Education (CME). The company’s solution, AliveSim, employs virtual technology to allow physicians, nurse practitioners, and physician assistants to practice virtually, in realistic situations, with conversational, virtual clinicians that deliver personalized, expert feedback. This, so-called Learn-by-Doing technology, builds clinical competency in managing any disease state.

Virtual Reality (VR)

Will this innovation area disrupt the industry?

Augmented Reality (AR)

The many possibilities that augmented reality offers make it especially appealing to surgical fields such as neurosurgery and retinal microsurgery. It enables surgeons to keep their heads up while engaging in a high-res 3D representation of their subject, adding comfort as well as visual information thus increasing efficiency and effectivity.

Apart from the treatment side, AR equipment can also be implemented to aid lab workers in monitoring their experiments.

The US-based startup Mace Virtual Labs offers a full-body immersive extended reality (XR) suit, the Teslasuit. This suit is AR-powered and provides biometric data as well as haptic feedback for analytics. In this way, the suit helps collect medical research data accurately and acts as a full-motion caption device. Additionally, the suit also mimics climatic conditions for a holistic extended reality experience.

Augmented Reality (AR)

Will this innovation area disrupt the industry?
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Though rapid innovation processes in biotechnology are currently happening, the industry has not yet reached its peak. As the nine innovation areas we outlined in this breakdown are only a fraction of the technologies that will impact the industry.

Technologies such as brain-computer interfaces (BCI), bioplastics, precision medicine, microbots, and molecular diagnostics will advance to an even higher level. Decreased cost, optimized output, and innovative diagnostics and treatment methods will support researchers and practitioners in optimizing their processes profits.

As emerging startups and their technologies are the drivers of innovation, companies that act proactively and partner with startups to help them innovate and adjust their business model to gain a competitive advantage will emerge as industry leaders.


These 9 innovation areas are only a fraction of what we've identified.
Get in touch for more insights into the future of BioTech!
Get in touch for more insights into the future of BioTech!




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