PRESENTLY, AROUND 80 4D BIOPRINTERS AND SMART BIOMATERIALS ARE BEING DEVELOPED BY VARIOUS INDUSTRY AND NON-INDUSTRY PLAYERS, EQUIPPED WITH THE VITAL CAPABILITIES THAT CAN BE USED ACROSS A WIDE RANGE OF APPLICATION AREAS
During our research, we were able to identify close to 80 bioprinters and smart biomaterials that are in different stages of development for the treatment of various diseases.
It is worth highlighting that 50% players developing 4D bioprinters have established their presence in the domain after 2012. This indicates that the market is driven by the efforts of new players, majority of which have around 10 years of experience; prominent examples include (in reverse chronological order of their year of establishment) BRIGHTER (2020), Readily3D (2020), TissueLabs (2019) and Nuclera (2013). It is worth mentioning that pre-1985, seven companies have been established; examples include (in reverse chronological order of their year of establishment) 3D Systems (1983), University of Wollongong (1975) and Rutgers University (1766). Presently, the 4D bioprinting technology is being explored for use across various application areas in the biomedical industry, leading to an increase in opportunities within this domain
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Further, 55% players developing smart biomaterials have entered this field before 1970. This indicates that the market is driven by the efforts of well-established players, majority of which have more than 45 years of experience; prominent examples include (in reverse chronological order of their year of establishment) University of Birmingham (1900), RWTH Aachen University (1870), University of Georgis (1785) and Harvard University (1636). It is worth mentioning that post 2014, six new companies have been established; examples include (in reverse chronological order of their year of establishment) Instituto de Nanociencia y Materiales de Aragón (2020), 4D Biomaterials (2018), NanoBio Lab (2018), 1ST GRAPHENE (2016), NanoRegMed (2016) and Grolltex (2015)
Moreover, companies developing 4D bioprinters and smart biomaterials have been segregated under three categories, namely small (less than 50 employees), mid-sized (51-500 employees) and large companies (more than 500 employees). It is important to mention that, for the purpose of this analysis, information has been sourced primarily from company websites and other reliable sources, such as LinkedIn.
As can be observed in the figure, polymer (58%) emerged as the most preferred type of biomaterial. This is followed by natural type of biomaterial (49%). It is worth mentioning that biomaterials offer variety of applications such as making implants / protheses and medical devices, as they have the unique ability to replace or restore the lost or impaired bodily functions.
Further, 58% 4D bioprinters have already been commercialized while 42% 4D bioprinters are under development phase. Examples of some commercialized 4D bioprinters include (in alphabetical order, no selection criteria) NGB-R, Organ.Aut, Origin One and Tomolite.
Moreover, laser-based technology is the most preferred (42%) type of technology used in 4D bioprinters. This can be attributed to the fact that lased-based technology utilizes a nozzle free approach. The presence of nozzle can harm the cell viability sometimes, while its absence significantly improves the same. Further, this nozzle-free approach also allows to adjust the viscosity of bioink as per the need.
As can be observed in the figure, 23% polymer-based smart biomaterials and 8% smart biomaterials made of natural components have already been commercialized. While 44% polymer-based smart biomaterials and 20% smart biomaterials made of natural components are under development. Notable examples of commercialized polymer-based smart biomaterials include (in alphabetical order, no selection criteria) 4Degra resin ink, SLA Resins and Porcine collagen-based hydrogel.
Further, maximum number of smart biomaterials (23%) are available in sheet form. This is followed by 14% smart biomaterials available in liquid form. Further, there are 11% smart biomaterials available in gel and versatile forms, each.
Moreover, most of the smart biomaterials (28) marketed / being developed can be used in the field of tissue engineering and regenerative medicine. It is worth mentioning that 4D printed pictures of tissues are used to manufacture patient-specific tissue structures using computer-aided design (CAD), along with other digital imaging methods such as magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) and X-ray computed tomography (CT). This is followed by six smart biomaterials that can be applied in the domain of orthopedics.
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