Bioreactor Industry: Current Scenario and Future Trends

Bioreactors and fermenters are complex systems used across numerous sectors of the industry, for the production of pharmaceuticals, nutraceuticals, food, and beverages. These systems provide controlled conditions for cell growth by providing optimum nutrient supply, and oxygenation, enabling the production of biologics. Bioreactors and fermenters can range from small laboratory-scale to industrial-scale systems, and may be operated in batch, fed-batch, or continuous bioprocess. Specifically in the healthcare industry, the development of novel bioreactor and fermenter technologies has led to significant advancement in bioprocessing, biomanufacturing, and synthetic biology, enabling the production of innovative bioproducts with high purity, yield, and quality.

Key Considerations for Fabrication Material of Bioreactors and Fermenters

It is worth noting that the fabrication material used to design bioreactors and fermenters must possess the following critical properties:

  • It should be made up of non-corrosive material.
  • The equipment should not leach any toxic substance into the culture media.
  • It should be able to tolerate the steam sterilization process.
  • The equipment should be able to tolerate high pressure and pH changes.

Components of a Bioreactor

A bioreactor is made up of various components, each with a specific function to support the production of different biomolecules. A typical bioreactor consists of various components including agitators, baffles, antifoams, impeller system, pH probes and temperature probes, sampling ports, spargers, thermal jacket, and charging and emptying lines. The structure of a typical bioreactor is represented in the following figure.

Detailed structural representation of bioreactor

Types of Bioprocesses  

Bioprocessing refers to the production of a value-added materials from the living cells and or their components. Based on the feeding mechanism and supply rate of the substrate, the three types of bioprocesses that are commonly employed by the bioreactors and fermenters, have been summarized below

Various types of bioprocesses involved

The following points highlight the different types of bioprocesses:

  • Batch bioprocess involves a closed system in which the substrate is added after inoculation and no extra feed is added during the process. The biomass or the culture is totally dependent on the initial substrate. However, due to depletion of the substrate and accumulation of inhibitors, the growth rate of biomass is negligible.
  • Fed-batch bioprocess is also known as semi-continuous process. In this type of culture, a growth-limiting substrate is fed during the process which extends the duration and density of the culture. The feeding strategy can be modified accordingly, in order to regulate cell growth and fermentation.
  • Continuous bioprocess represents an open system, characterized by continuous supply and removal of nutrient media. As a result, the products are also removed continuously. The rate of incoming feed is equal to the rate of harvest removal. Balanced input and output leads to steady state culture that can last for several days to months.

Bioreactor Industry Landscape

As per a recent market report by Roots Analysis, more than 255+ bioreactor manufacturers are currently engaged in fermenter and bioreactor industry, across the globe for the production of biopharmaceuticals, such as antibodies, vaccines, cell and gene therapy.

The ongoing and upcoming industry trends

The fermenter and bioreactor industry is currently dominated by small companies (1-50 employees), which represent 56% of the bioreactor manufacturers. Bioreactors are available in varying dimensions and volumes, ranging from micro-mini (less than 1 mL and 1 to 10 mL) to large-scale (more than 10,000 L). Based on fabrication material, bioreactors can be classified in to stainless steel bioreactors, glass bioreactors, and plastic bioreactors. The

COVID-19 Driving the Global Fermenters and Bioreactor Industry

In the recent past, the advent of COVID-19 heightened the demand for vaccines, the supply of which was indispensable for the government led mass vaccination programs. This invariably led to the need for capacity to support cell culture-based viral vaccine production. As a result, several pharmaceutical companies / CMOs upgraded their bioprocessing portfolio to incorporate bioreactors which provided more efficient and cost-effective vaccine production. For instance, In March 2022, Mabion ordered four Kuhner Orbital Shaken Bioreactors (OSB) for contract manufacturing of the first protein-based COVID 19 vaccine developed by Novavax.

Manufacturers in the Bioreactor Industry are Focused on Innovation to Differentiate Products

Another key trend driving the growth of bioreactor industry is the need for the equipment manufacturers to differentiate their offerings, amidst the growing competition. As a result, several companies are rapidly investing in novel technologies that are aligned to the needs of their customers. Several types of bioreactors are currently available; these include disposable bioreactor, stirred-tank, mini / micro, air lift, rocker, perfusion, wave bed, bubble column, fixed-bed, fluidized bed, membrane, packed bed, fibrous bed and photobioreactors. As equipment manufactures continue to upgrade their portfolio to offer customized solutions according to the needs of the biopharma industry, we anticipate the market to grow at a steady rate, in the foreseen future.

Fermenter and Bioreactor Industry to Witness Double-Digit Growth

The global fermenter and bioreactor industry is estimated to be worth USD 20.4 billion in 2023 and is expected to grow at a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 11.3% during the forecast period. Keeping every trend in mind, Roots Analysis has provided complete information on market trends in global fermenters and bioreactors industry in its report titled, Fermenters and Bioreactors Market, 2023-2035. The research report has some of the very recent and precise activities listed for the clients to help them make better decisions. Further, it presents current and future opportunity trends associated with the bioreactors industry, for the time period between 2023 and 2035.

You can also download the SAMPLE REPORT on the bioreactor industry by Roots Analysis.