The market for cell culture products is getting a lift from stringent regulations from the US Food and Drug Administration and Department of Agriculture, restricting the importation and usage of foetal bovine serum.
FBS has long been used as a key ingredient for cell culture media, but supply has shunk as a result of a reduction in beef consumption in the USA in favour of poultry, as well as fears over potential contamination with material tainted with bovine spongiform encephalopathy, according to a new report from Frost & Sullivan. Prices have sky-rocketed and, as a result, companies involved in cell culture are seeking alternatives.
The invention of a broad-utility specialised media that can support growth of a wide range of cell lines, on a consistent basis, is still pending, according to the report.
"To increase profitability, particularly in the manufacturing of therapeutic products such as pharmaceuticals, gene therapy products, and tissue/wound repair products, companies should streamline research efforts and resources to develop specialised media," said the study's author, F&S' Kelly Westfall.
The cell culture industry generated revenues of $615.9 million (€534m) in 2002, according to F&S, and the market is expected to grow more than 50 per cent to reach a level $930.6 million in 2009.
Westfall notes that to increase productivity, companies involved in the development and manufacture of biological medications, such as monoclonal antibodies, should switch to speciality or serum-free formats from FBS. "Cell culture reagent manufacturers must educate end users through specific programs and impart techniques designed to enhance the transition to serum alternatives," said Westfall.