In the past few years, continuous bioprocessing has come up in most discussions with bioprocessors or product vendors in this space. With this production method clearly on the rise, how much can be quantified? From a variety of information angles, each indicates growth—sometimes substantial.

One of the most common angles of assessment involves the market. According to the report, “Continuous Bioprocessing Market Research Report by Product, by End-User – Global Forecast to 2025,” the market could grow from about $6.7 billion in 2019 to more than $12 billion by the end of 2025  “at a Compound Annual Growth Rate (CAGR) of 10.37%.” That compares favorably with the industries that use this technology.

According to the NYU Stern School of Business, the CAGR in net income over the past five years for drugs from biotechnology and pharmaceutical companies is 10.18% and 5.54%, respectively. So, the continuous bioprocessing market is expected to equal or surpass both of those.

Although many of the advances in continuous bioprocessing could get protected as company secrets, it’s worth a look at the growth in patents. A search of the topic on Google Patents turned up more than 30,000 results. Most interesting, from a growth perspective, is the increasing rate of patents per year from the late 1980s to 2019.

To grab one more perspective, articles on PubMed were reviewed (see Figure). A search of perfusion culture and bioreactor showed an increase in articles from the 1990s to the 2000s, but mostly ups and downs since 2003. Looking specifically at continuous bioprocessing, the phrase first showed up in 2008, and then the related articles show a relatively steady climb from 2012 to 2019, and has already hit a new high in 2020.

Each of these metrics—market growth, patents, and articles—indicates increasing growth in continuous processing. It will probably be even more interesting to look at this again in 5–10 years. Then, we’ll have an even better idea of how this technology will impact the overall bioprocessing industry.

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