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Low Cost 3D Bioprinters Are Opening Up the 3D Bioprinting Market Creating New Opportunities

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SmarTech Publishing, a leader in vertical markets research focused on adoption of 3D printing technologies has published the new report titled, Bioprinting Markets: Materials, Equipment and Applications – 2017 to 2027:  An Opportunity Analysis and Ten-Year Forecast, the first ever in depth analysis of business segments and financial forecast for the rapidly evolving field of 3D bioprinting. One major trend identified in the report is the appearance in the market of highly cost-efficient “basic” systems, which are ideal for educational applications and offer performances high enough for some professional research applications. As the market for cost-effective bioprinters is in its infancy, growth is fast and it is beginning to drive demand for compatible bioinks.

Low cost systems are priced between $10,000 and $20,000, compared to an average high end professional system’s price of $170,000. The appearance of these systems on the market follows similar trends to more traditional 3D printing sectors. In 3D printing for industrial manufacturing, low-cost 3D printing emerged leveraging on the expiring original Stratasys patent for FDM (thermal extrusion). Low-cost bioprinters also use extrusion technology, and specifically various types of pneumatic extrusion.

How Low Cost Bioprinting is Bringing a New Market to Life

Several factors indicate that cost-effective bioprinters will continue to represent a valuable opportunity and contribute to the overall bioprinting market’s growth

Putting Pressure on Professional OEMS (maybe not now but eventually)
Until cost efficient 3D bioprinting manufacturers introduced their low-cost systems, the only available systems ran well above the $150,000 price range and commercial materials to use with them were not readily available. The emergence and early commercial success of low cost systems has meant that more academic organizations can conduct basic research and familiarize with extrusion bioprinting processes with minimal investments.

Follow similar trends as additive manufacturing
Low cost 3D printers did not fulfill the promise of becoming consumer devices but they did penetrate in almost every segment of manufacturing, driving overall adoption of AM.
One significant difference, in favor of an even more rapid adoption of cost-effective bioprinters, is that the scientific community is more likely to share its discoveries.

Open source, university based, rapid awareness
In several cases cost-effective bioprinters have enabled researchers to focus on applications rather than invest time and resources on building a system internally. This market demand alone is enough to drive the businesses of those manufacturers that have focused on this segment of bioprinting, already selling machines into the hundreds.

Small yet solid companies as pioneers
Founded in 2014 by Danny Cabrera, BioBots was the first start-up to attract the market’s attention. The company built its BioBot1 system based on pneumatic extrusion bioprinting.
The machines are open, which means that they can use any material produced in labs as well as materials sold by the company through its website.
CELLINK is a Gothenburg, Sweden-based biotechnology company. It was the first company to commercially and systematically sell a wide range of bioinks for use in extrusion bioprinters. In 2016 it also became the first bioprinter manufacturer to trade on the stock market (on the Swedish index).

Low-Cost 3D Bioprinters

Source: SmarTech Publishing

The cost-effective 3D bioprinter market is currently led by U.S.-based BioBots (which was the first relevant company to enter this market segment) and by Sweden and U.S.-based Cellink, which was the first company to focus on commercial bioprinting materials.