Changes in industrial technologies are a continual phenomenon. Changes are observed in the daily industrial landscape with updated technological breakthroughs and knowledge advancements. One of the prime industries to be witnessing a high number of changes in biotechnology. With continued research, technology improvements, discoveries, and science is advancing at an incredible pace.
In this field, all companies, research institutions, and organizations aim to improve an organism’s quality of life. In terms of health, this covers a deep understanding of diseases, thereby conducting research to devise new ways to fight against these health calamities. Mentioned below are top technological trends in the biotechnology sector that can optimize operations in 2021:
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- Growing Trend of Personalized medicine:
Precision medicine is used to prevent and treat disease by collecting information about the people’s genes, lifestyles, and environment. It focuses on targeting the right therapies to the right patients at the right time. Precision medicine requires a detailed analysis of information carried out at both the macro level, such as identifying health trends among populations, while requiring detailed studies at the individual and genetic levels.
This technology is most often adopted by the oncology or cancer treatment department. Companies like 2bPrecise, Oneome, Syapse Inc., Astarte Medical, and Fabric Genomics, INC. have already earned a reputation as an innovator in the field.
- Enhancing Immune Responses Using Monoclonal Antibodies:
Monoclonal antibodies are laboratory-grown antibodies engineered to restore, strengthen or mimic the immune system’s response, particularly cancer cells. From detecting cancer cells to supplying radiation to affected areas, they operate in several ways. These antibodies formed the basis of biotechnology for some time; they are now improving in new ways. The U.S. FDA issued an emergency Use Authorization (EUA) for the investigational monoclonal antibody therapy of bamlanivimab in adult and pediatric patients to treat mild to moderate COVID-19.
Pfizer Inc., Immunomedics Inc., F. Hoffmann-LA, Spectrum Pharmaceuticals Inc., Bristol -Myers Squibb, Nordic Nanovector Inc., Merck & Co. Inc., Actinium Pharmaceutical, Takeda Pharmaceuticals Industries Ltd., and Daiichi Sankyo Company Limited are some significant players in the market for conjugated monoclonal antibodies.
- Biofuel as an Environment-friendly alternative:
Biofuels are classified as fuels that have been derived from plants and crops such as sugarcane, wheat, soybeans, and maize. Bioethanol and biodiesel are the most widely extracted and used. It is mixed with gasoline and can be used as the car’s substitute fuel. It is an effective fuel as it produces less toxic carbon emissions than fossil diesel and is relatively less flammable. It also ensures economic stability in that the production of biofuels raises the market for sufficient biofuel crops, giving the agricultural industry a boost. Again, these are less costly than fossil fuels to heat houses, companies, and cars.
Cosan, Cargill, GLENCORE Magdeburg GmbH, and Biowanze S.A. are renowned players in the market for biofuels.
- Creating Prototypes Using 3D Bio Printing:
Using a layer-by-layer processing technique, 3D bioprinting is converting a 3D model or 3D digital file into a real, biological component. It is identical to actual 3D printing, except that biomaterials and cells are the materials printed. In the particular architecture or intended structure, such biomaterials are designed for cells to survive and grow.
Cellink, headquartered in Gothenburg, is one of the largest bioprinting firms worldwide. The business offers a wide range of equipment that enables 3D bioprinting to be done by laboratories, concentrating on tissue engineering and regenerative medicine applications. The Wake Forest Institute uses this technology for Regenerative Medicine to print scaffolds for body components covered with cells and then grown into noses, bones, ears, etc.
- Increasing Prominenence of Biomanufacturing:
Biomanufacturing is a form of manufacturing that uses biological systems to produce biomaterials and biomolecules of commercial significance for medicines and industrial applications. In natural sources, such as culture plates of bacteria, blood, or plant and animal cells that have been artificially grown in specialized equipment, bio-manufactured products are found. Pharmaceutical companies are outsourcing key processes and using analytics, production methods, bio-analytical testing, and regulatory support.
Univercells, regenHU Ltd, and Ab Biotechnology are some top Biomanufacturing companies.
- Advancing Diagnostic Processes Using Capsule endoscopy:
Capsule endoscopy is a diagnostic technique in which you swallow a micro-camera enclosed in a capsule so that photographs can be taken of your esophagus, stomach, and small intestine as your gastrointestinal (GI) tract passes via the device. It is painless, minimally invasive, does not require anesthesia; due to these factors, capsule endoscopy has gained favor. It also helps the doctor imagine the entire length, not just the first one to two feet, of the small intestine. Pill Cam SB3 system is widely used to perform endoscopy operations. Software algorithms allow smarter, 40% more successful video compilation than the PillCamTM SB2 method. With this recent model, there is increased versatility in the frame rate, maximized mucosal coverage, and more significant tissue acquisition that is unique to each patient’s motility.
AccuRead Endoscopy Inc., Fujifilm Holding Corporation, RF Co. Ltd., IntroMedic, Medtronic plc, Chongqing Jinshan Science & Technology, CapsoVision Inc., and Olympus Corporation are significant players in the global capsule endoscopy industry.
- Developing Biological Operations Using Synthetic Biology
A interdisciplinary field involving the application of engineering concepts to biology is synthetic biology. It aims to (re-)design and produces biological components and structures which do not already exist in the world of nature. Synthetic biology blends chemical DNA synthesis with increasing genomics expertise to enable researchers to generate cataloged DNA sequences quickly. Synthetic biology allows Life Technologies, with high expression, ability to design, synthesize, deploy antigens, and help develop efficacy and high titer immunogens and produce rapid immunogen purification tests.
DNA synthesis companies, including ATG: Blue Heron Biotechnology, Biosynthetics, GENEART, DNA 2.0, and Genomatica, are commercial firms that market synthetic DNA (oligonucleotides, genes, or genomes) to consumers.
- Miniaturizing Experimental Setups Using Microfluidics (Lab on a chip) System:
To achieve automation and high-throughput screening, a lab-on-a-chip (LOC) system incorporates one or more laboratory processes on a single IC, integrated circuit (commonly called a ‘chip’) of only millimeters to a few square centimeters. The researchers aim to create microfluidic chips that allow healthcare providers to perform diagnostic tests such as microbiological culture assays, immunoassays, and nucleic acid assays without laboratory support in poorly equipped clinics. One of the Lab-on-a-chip’s impacts would be to enable healthcare providers to open diagnostics to a larger population in developing countries.
Diana, eNuvio, Biomimix, FLUID-SCREEN, and Skyphos are some emerging startups in this field.
- Use of Artificial Intelligence To Automate Biological Processes:
In biotechnology and related applications, Artificial Intelligence plays a crucial role in controlling biological processes, improving medicines’ development, handling supply chains, and keeping track of the industry’s data pools. AI is continually optimizing operations in all fields of biotechnology, from bioinformatics to medical biotechnology. AI is currently being applied in many areas like drug discovery & clinical trials, gene editing, diagnostic procedures, and radiotherapy.
Almost all leading biotech companies like Pfizer, Sanofi, Bayer, etc., invest in advanced AI software to analyze research data, speed up creating vaccines, select the appropriate market and population, and choose the necessary ingredient for vaccine production.
- The game-changer for conventional, unsustainable plastics — Bioplastics:
Bioplastics are biodegradable materials from sustainable sources that can reduce the plastic waste problem that suffocates the earth and contaminates the atmosphere. These are 100% degradable, equally resistant, and flexible and are already used in the agricultural, garment, medical, and, above all, container and packaging industries. The growing attention of shoppers to biodegradable packaging has triggered the colossal growth of the general market.
In recent years, BIOTEC, Sanner, Eranova manufacture and sell a new range of customized thermoplastic products with several functional properties.
All the big names in the biotechnology sector can be seen employing these technologies in their day-to-day biological processes to optimize efficiency and to meet the growing consumer demand. This situation puts pressure on other blooming biotechnology companies to utilize these technologies to keep holding a competitive place in the market.
Mansi Talwar is working as Research Associate Trainee at Ingenious e-Brain, a leading global ISO certified company providing a broad spectrum of IP intelligence, technology intelligence and business intelligence services to worldwide companies and legal firms across the globe.