Trends and innovations

    The Biotech industry is adopting trends like artificial intelligence (AI), data analytics, and automation to optimise production. Consequently, there has been a rise in consumer BioTech or BioTech products targeted directly at customers instead of biopharma or healthcare businesses.
    While the industry largely still focuses on medicine, working on solutions ranging from food and materials to environmental monitoring. The COVID-19 pandemic really highlighted the far-reaching impact of the BioTech industry, with companies alike developing rapid testing kits, repurposed drugs, and vaccines.

Impact Of BioTech Industry Trends
    Biotech leverages AI, big data, and analytics to interpret the massive amounts of biological data available now to speed up innovation in the industry. Gene sequencing and gene editing technologies allow companies to understand genomes and engineer them for commercial purposes.
    This facilitates applications in precision medicine and synthetic biology, with the latter employing DNA synthesis as well. Biomanufacturing enables sustainable and scalable manufacturing of a wide range of products. Lastly, utilising bioprinting, microfluidics, and tissue engineering to reinvent what a BioTech product means – with offerings ranging from cultured meat and artificial organs to miniaturised labs.

Artificial Intelligence
    AI enables BioTech to automate a wide range of processes, helping it scale up operations. For instance, biopharma leverage AI to speed up the drug discovery process, screening biomarkers as well as scraping through the scientific literature to discover novel products.
    Image classification algorithms allow rapid detection of different traits – cancer cells from medical scans and crop disease symptoms from leaf images, for instance. Further, leveraging deep learning to analyse microbiomes, screen phenotypes, and develop rapid diagnostics.
    Using AI to identify genetic markers. The proprietary deep neural network architectures analyse genomic data to understand the genetic mechanisms of a trait. DeepTrait’s solution finds applications in plant and livestock breeding, novel drug design, and the development of diagnostics.

Big Data
    There is an unprecedented amount of data available in BioTechnology today, from the ever-growing omics technologies and integration of sensors and the Internet of Things (IoT) devices. Big data & analytics solutions allow BioTech to tap into this wealth of data to drive innovation.
    It allows biopharma companies to recruit patients for clinical trials more effectively. Companies deploy bioinformatics solutions to develop better feed, improve crop and livestock varieties, and explore undiscovered microbes.
    Leveraging big data to discover better and safer treatment regimens. BioXplor performs network pharmacology analysis to develop treatments from unstrucured and disparate data sources. The solution determines the synergistic or antagonistic effects of drug combinations. It also analyses patient data for responder and non-responder signals, improving patient outcomes and treatment response analysis.

Gene Editing
    Genetic engineering has come a long way from genetically modifying organisms by random insertion of foreign DNA to making precise edits in genomes. The increased efficiency of gene editing is due to the development of engineered nucleases, and lately CRISPR, as molecular scissors.
    This opens up applications in gene therapy for the treatment of genetic disorders as well as other conditions, with gene editing techniques adding, replacing, or silencing particular genes. The targeted gene modification also enables the development of better transgenic plants and animals.
    Producing non-transgenic, genome-edited plant products. They uses patented genome editing tools and its in-house transformation technology to enable efficient direct delivery and swift regeneration of genome-edited plants. PLANTeDIT mutates the FAD2 gene in soya to create a high oleic variant. The high oleic oils help food companies lengthen the shelf-life of food items.

Precision Medicine
    The falling costs of gene editing and gene sequencing make them more routinely applied in clinical practice. It enables precision medicine, an approach that allows physicians to determine which treatment and prevention strategies will work for a particular group.
    Moreover, it enables personalised treatment for the treatment of several diseases, including cancers. Biotech is leveraging precision medicine to identify new drug targets, discover novel drugs, offer gene therapies, and develop new drug delivery technologies.
    Developing AI-powered gene therapies. CapsidMap platform optimises adeno-associated viral (AAV) vectors to improve targeting ability. The solution maps the synthetic AAV capsid sequence space to develop better gene therapy vectors.

Gene Sequencing
    The costs of DNA sequencing have fallen by 5 orders of magnitude since the early 2000s, opening up a wide range of applications in the industry. The reduced cost of sequencing whole genomes allows the identification of pediatric disorders, personalised treatments, and setting up large cohorts with extensive phenotyping.
    Sequencing also presents a rapid and inexpensive method to detect the presence of microbes, ranging from detection of pathogens in clinical and dairy samples to beneficial soil microbes. Biotech is innovating with new sequencing technologies, as well as novel applications for gene sequencing.
    Developing ResolveDNA, a whole-genome sequencing workflow. The workflow is compatible with single cells, multiple cells, and low-input DNA samples. BioSkryb offers the BaseJumper Bioinformatics Platform, compatible with most sequencing platforms, for DNA sequencing analysis.  

    Biomanufacturing utilizes biological systems for the production of medical products and therapies, biomaterials, food & beverages, and specialty chemicals. Advancing different cell culture, fermentation, and recombinant production technologies to make biomanufacturing inexpensive and scalable.
    The use of biological raw materials also makes it comparatively more sustainable as compared to other manufacturing paradigms. The industry’s production models are also adopting machine learning and automation. By integrating Industry 4.0 models, BioTech offer bioprocessing 4.0 to optimise each step of the production process.
    Developing an insect-based production platform for next-gen biomanufacturing. InsectaPro technology leverages mass-produced insect larvae as mini-bioreactors for recombinant production. It grows them in data-driven vertical farms, making the process predictable and environmentally sustainable. The solution enables a more scalable and robust alternative to conventional bioreactors.

Synthetic Biology
    An unprecedented ability to read and write genomes allows BioTech companies to develop products faster than ever before. Moreover, synthetic biology offers increased standardization and reproducibility, allowing manipulating organisms at the level of gene networks.
    Synthetic biology work on challenges ranging from computational drug design and cellular agriculture to microbiome-based solutions. Bacterial cell factories provide a high yield of valuable biochemicals for applications in pharma, materials, and food. Moving beyond microbes, to developing mammalian synthetic biology solutions as well.
    Developing plant-based, cell-free protein expression solutions. ALiCE kit produces over 500 proteins with post-translational modifications at a high yield of 3 mg/ml. It simply requires the addition of a gene in a plasmid to the lysate, eliminating the need for multiple pipetting steps. They report proteins, antigens, antibodies, allergens, and hormones for use in BioTech and biopharma sectors.

    With the introduction of additive manufacturing in BioTechnology, bioprinting offer a wide range of materials and products. These utilise bioprinters that work with bio-inks developed from bio-based materials or biomaterials.
    For medical applications, cells act as substrates and grow around a scaffold. This enables the development of bone, skin, or vascular grafts from the patient’s own cells for personalised medicine. Other's leverage bioprinting for rapid prototyping and the development of biopolymers.
    Offering 3D bioprinting of human tissues with high cell viability. Prometheus combines cells with biomaterials to create a bio-ink which is then printed layer by layer. The artificial 3D human tissue has a similar composition, functionality, and architecture to that of real human tissue. They also develops Ematik Ready, a veterinary patch that promotes wound healing in dogs and horses.

    The interest in microfluidics in the BioTechnology industry stems from the need for lab-on-a-chip (LOC) devices. These miniaturised labs allow inexpensive and rapid testing of infectious diseases, facilitating point-of-care (PoC) diagnostics.
    Also developing paper-based microfluidics for diagnostics and environmental monitoring. The technology finds more biopharma applications in organ-on-a-chip (OOC) devices that simulate the physiology of organs or organ types on small chips. OOC systems find applications in drug screening and disease modeling.
    Leveraging microfluidics for microfabrication solutions. Eden Tech provides a range of microfluidic equipment and accessories, as well as Flexdym, a biocompatible polymer. It develops high-volume artificial organs for use in the MedTech sector. For cleantech applications, the solutions use smart microchannel networks for ultra-efficient wastewater filtration.

Tissue Engineering
    Tissue engineering have grown sharply in number in recent years, thanks in large part to developments in bioprinting and microfluidics. It enables the creation of autologous tissue grafts to treat burns or for organ transplantation, as well as regenerative medicine.
    Traditionally limited to biomedical applications, engineering tissues to create sustainable alternatives to animal products such as meat or leather. However, this needs to reach an enormous scale for the food products to be cost-comparative to animal-based products.
    Producing cultured meat. Aleph Farms isolates cells from healthy cows and grows them into an ethical and sustainable meat alternative. It produces indistinguishably real beef steaks without the need for slaughtering animals or producing carbon emissions. The process also offers a way to sustainably grow food in long-term space missions.