AMG NewTech












In-Depth Market Research and Trend Analysis

Covering Innovative and Emerging Technologies


Healthcare and Biomedical Engineering

The market for 3D bioprinting is estimated to expand at a CAGR of 59.5% through 2021.


Since the start of the new millennium, the three-dimensional (3D) printing market has grown at an exceptional rate worldwide. Surging to a CAGR greater than 15% since 2000, 3D printing has become a very popular technique for rapid prototyping and new product development, reaching global revenues of nearly $5 billion in 2015. Applications target various industry sectors including aerospace, automotive, education, architecture, consumer products and arts and crafts.


3D printing is also gaining increasing interest in the biomedical sector for the fabrication of devices such as hearing aids, dental implants, and artificial prostheses. An emerging field for 3D printing within the healthcare sector is bioprinting. The term bioprinting refers in particular to the use of additive manufacturing in the form of digital printing to create living tissues.


Bioprinting technologies that have been developed to date are summarized in the table below.

Many of these techniques are used to produce 3D structures using layer-by-layer deposition. Currently, the most common bioprinting method is syringe extrusion, in which the fluids to be printed are ejected with a low shear force onto the substrate. The substrate usually consists of a bio-inert hydrogel.


Syringe extrusion is typically performed according to two processes. The first process is a double printing method in which living cells in the form of cellular spheroids are printed by alternating spheroids and a supporting film. The supporting film functions to keep the cells in place during construction of the 3D structure, and is produced from natural and synthetic hydrogels (e.g., alginate, collagen, chitosan, hyaluronic acid, and polyethylene glycol), biocompatible polymers (e.g., polycaprolactone), and ultra-violet cross-linkable polymers (Irgacure).


The second extrusion process is single-step and consists of using a bioink containing both the cells and the fluid that holds the cells in place. In addition to cells and supporting fluid, other biocompatible and biological entities having different functions can be added to the bioink such as bioactive components, morphogens, organoids, and growth factors. To deposit cells, supporting fluid, and other components, printing systems with either single or multi-nozzle configurations can be adopted.  


At the present time, the remaining bioprinting methods are not very popular due to various drawbacks.  Inkjet printing, for example, tends to damage the cells and the printhead becomes easily clogged, while laser-guided direct writing is characterized by low throughput. However, numerous R&D activities are in progress to improve the performance of existing bioprinting techniques.


The ultimate goal of 3D bioprinting is to eventually reproduce human organs. This goal is naturally expected to raise many ethical issues. In the meantime, bioprinting is gaining traction for tissue engineering research, drug development, and toxicology studies. 


A summary of current and emerging applications for bioprinting is provided in the table below. 


Scientists have already been able to print several types of tissues, including bone, cartilage, vascular, muscle, liver, and skin. Fillers are placed in the 3D structures to form channels or empty spaces similar to those present in natural tissues. These features are needed for the delivery of nutrients and oxygen to maintain living tissue. Tissue engineering research is focusing on both implantable tissues and tissue printed on site (e.g., skin tissue printed on a patient with burns).


The next table provides a sample of relevant research activities in progress at various leading R&D organizations involved in 3D bioprinting.



In 2016, bioprinting is estimated to represent less than 3% of the global biomedical 3D printing market. Expected to exit the development stage, bioprinting is forecast to generate global revenues of $248 million in 2021, corresponding to a CAGR of 59.5% during the next five years.  Sales figures include materials (e.g., biocompatible constituents and bioinks), equipment (e.g., inkjet printers), and products (e.g., implantable components and tissues).  In 2021, bioprinting is projected to account for 12.5% of the nearly $2 billion biomedical 3D printing market. Bone and cartilage tissues for implants and skin tissues for cosmetics, wound treatment, and facial regeneration are projected to account for a combined 73% of the total market.



The next table provides a list of key players in the 3D bioprinting industry. They are producers of bioinks, bioprinted tissues and/or bioprinting equipment. 



Related topics: cartilage bioprinting for personalized medicine, nanocellulose-based bioink for cartilage bioprintingmechanically strong structures for bone repair,  bioprinting of differentiated epidermal tissues,  manufacturing readiness of bioprintingthe biopen as a handheld syringe-based extrusion bioprinter



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