The 3D cell culture market is witnessing stable growth due to the factors, like the use of 3D cell culture models as alternative tools for in vivo testing, development of automated large-scale cell culture systems, and rising need for organ transplantation. The 2D monolayer cell cultures were employed in cell-based screening and were considered as an effective means to discover new drug candidates. However, 2D cell cultures have limitations, like the loss of tissue-specific architecture, mechanical and biochemical cues, and cell-to-cell and cell-to-matrix interactions, thereby making them relatively poor models to predict drug responses for certain diseases.
- The 3D cell culture and co-culture models are advantageous, as they not only enable drug safety and efficacy assessment in a more in vivo–like context than traditional 2D cell cultures, but they also eliminate the species differences that pose limitations in the interpretation of the preclinical outcomes, by allowing drug testing directly in human systems.
- A 3D cell culture is preferred to 2D cell culture, since it allows cells to grow in all directions in vitro, similar to how they would in vivo. Due to advantages of 3D cell culture over alternative tools, the adoption has benefited the researchers and drug developers. Hence, owing to these factors, the market is expected to witness rapid growth over the forecast period.
Key Market Trends
The Drug Discovery Segment is Expected to Exhibit the Fastest Growth Rate Over the Forecast Period
Based on application, the market is segmented into drug discovery, tissue engineering, clinical applications, and other applications. Conventionally, drug discovery has been carried out using animal models. However, with the explosion of drug molecules synthesized/discovered in the past two decades, there has been a growth in high-throughput screening. Consequently, drug discovery has become a process that was time-resource intensive. Additionally, animal testing is subject to ethical controversies. Hence, the rising demand for alternative methods for drug testing and drug discovery processes gained momentum.
A specific application of 3D cell culture in drug discovery is organ-on-chips. These systems are being extensively employed by cancer therapeutic manufacturers for improving the benefit-risk balance by targeting precisely a particular cell type, a defined biomechanism, or a precise receptor. The current up-trend in cancer therapeutics’ research is likely to further spur the application of 3D cell cultures in drug discovery. Over the forecast period, many novel cancer therapeutics are expected to receive market approval, which are likely to, in turn, drive the growth of the 3D cell culture market.
North America Captured the Largest Market Share and is Expected to Retain its Dominance
North America dominated the overall 3D cell culture market with the United States being the major contributor to the market. The United States is focusing more on R&D and is currently spending a lot on it. This resulted in increasing technological advancements in the country. Many American applicants feature among the main patent applicants for the 3D cell culture domain. American applicants tend to develop their technologies in the United States, as well as in Asia. In 2016, an international collaboration between the United States, the United Kingdom, and the Netherlands, cancer-research heavy-weights, aimed to grow 1,000 new cell lines for scientists to study. The project is also expected to use cutting-edge techniques to generate its models, which will include 3D cultures called organoids, and cells that have been reprogrammed to grow indefinitely in culture. ICTDCCS 2018, 20th International Conference on 3D Cell Culture Systems, was held in Boston (the United States) on April 23-24, 2018. These factors have augmented the US 3D cell culture market.
The 3D cell culture market is highly competitive and consists of several major players. In terms of market share, few of the major players currently dominate the market. The presence of major market players, such as Corning Incorporated, Lonza AG, Merck KGaA, and Thermo Fisher Scientific, is increasing the overall competitive rivalry in the market.
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