In the 21st century, the world is standing at the edge of a biological revolution, where the convergence of science, technology and engineering is restructuring life as we know it. Bioengineering stands at the forefront of this transition, merging diverse disciplines like nanotechnology, biochemistry, 3D printing, AI, IoT and quantum computing.
According to the HCLTech Trends 2024 report, the convergence of these technologies is disrupting the traditional paradigms of life sciences and healthcare, driving advancements in biomedical solutions, transforming agriculture and championing sustainability.
Bioengineering's high disruption score, as indicated in the report, signifies its transformative capabilities, driven by breakthroughs in genetic engineering, synthetic biology and other cutting-edge techniques. The global pandemic in 2019 further accelerated advancements in the field, emphasizing its critical role in addressing emerging challenges.
Shrikanth Shetty, Chief Growth Officer, Life Sciences and Healthcare at HCLTech highlights the changing tide: “With every engineered innovation, we redefine the boundaries of what’s possible, sculpting a future where technology and biology harmonize to propel humanity towards new frontiers of health and discovery.”
The trends report reveals that 35% of the impact in bioengineering is attributed to nanotech and biochemistry, 33% to biomedical applications, 21% to food and agriculture and 11% to sustainability. This diversity highlights the broad spectrum of bioengineering applications, ranging from medical interventions to sustainable agricultural practices.
Understanding the current bioengineering landscape
The report delves into various emerging trends, with a focus on personalized medicine, genome editing and organ-on-chip emerge as the top trends, showcasing their significant influence on the bioengineering landscape.
Report emphasizes the high impact of personalized medicine and genome editing on future revenue streams, with organ-on-chip following closely. The market for organ-on-chip is projected to reach $487 million by 2028 with a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 33% expected between 2023 and 2028 reflecting its potential for substantial growth.
Both genome editing and organ-on-chip technologies contribute significantly to community welfare. Their applications, whether inefficient drug discovery or the treatment of genetic disorders, make them valuable assets to society.
Organ-on-chip (OOC): A new era of ethical and efficient medical research
Organ-on-a-chip technology represents a groundbreaking leap in bioengineering by providing a realistic and human-relevant platform, offering a revolutionary approach to studying human biology and disease.
Unlike traditional two-dimensional (2D) cell culture models, which often fall short in accurately replicating complex cellular interactions and organ microenvironments, OOCs emulate the three-dimensional (3D) structure and function of human organs on a microfluidic chip. This innovation enables researchers to study the effects of drugs, toxins and environmental factors on human tissues in a controlled and physiologically relevant setting.
The HCLTech Trends 2024 report highlights the growing hype around OOC technology, citing 19% of respondents who view it as a pioneering innovation with immense potential to revolutionize diverse industries. From a strategic perspective, Shetty notes: "OOC's profitability is promising, but it needs to catch up on certain parameters for swift market adoption." He believes it can significantly enhance the speed, affordability and efficiency of drug discovery process and development.
The transformative potential of OOC as a disruptive force in biomedical research is evident, given its ability to mimic physiological conditions and replace traditional animal testing methods. Despite its immense potential, it faces challenges for widespread adoption. Technical complexity, high development costs, standardization issues and limited commercial availability present hurdles that need to be addressed for the technology to reach its full potential in reshaping the biomedical research landscape.
Genome editing: A flag bearer for a healthier, more sustainable future
Together with the OOC revolution, genome editing stands as another technological marvel that has garnered significant attention in the HCLTech Trends 2024 report. The technology's disruptive nature lies in its ability to modify genetic material, offering innovative solutions that can revolutionize genetic interventions and lead to breakthroughs in healthcare and beyond. With a 15% compound annual growth rate projected between 2023–2028 and the $10.6 billion estimated market size by 2028 highlights genome editing's significant role in shaping the future.
The HCLTech Trends 2024 report highlights the diverse applications of genome editing, extending beyond healthcare into agriculture and biotechnology. CRISPR (Clustered Regularly Interspaced Short Palindromic Repeat), a leading genome editing tool, enables the targeted modification of disease-causing genes, holding the potential to eliminate hereditary disorders at their source and improve the health of future generations. Furthermore, CRISPR's application in introducing genes for lifelong protection against infections could enhance immunity and contribute to better public health outcomes.
In agriculture, genome editing shows promise in modifying crops to improve yield, disease resistance and taste, addressing global challenges of hunger and malnutrition. The ongoing discussions about genetically modified organisms (GMOs) and environmental impact, however, underscore the need for ethical considerations in the application of genome editing.
The drivers for genome editing adoption are multifaceted, ranging from transformative medical advancements and research opportunities to agricultural benefits that address global food security. As this disruptive technology continues to evolve, it holds the key to shaping a healthier and more sustainable future across various industries.
Shetty acknowledges the strategic implications of genome editing, stating: "Genome editing has the potential to redefine the boundaries of precision medicine, where diseases can be treated at their genetic roots." The report echoes this sentiment, noting the immense promise of genome editing in developing targeted therapies, personalized medicine and the eradication of genetic diseases.
As these cutting-edge technologies continue to advance, the convergence of OOC and genome editing holds the key to unlocking unprecedented opportunities in healthcare and biotechnology. Shetty's strategic foresight underscores the need for continued innovation and collaboration to fully harness the potential of these transformative technologies in shaping the future of medicine.
Bioengineering, as outlined in the HCLTech Trends 2024 report is at the nexus of transformative technologies reshaping healthcare, agriculture and sustainability. As genome editing and organ-on-chip technologies advance, strategic collaborations, investments and standardization efforts will play a crucial role in maximizing their impact on industries and society at large. The strategic integration of bioengineering technologies holds the promise of a future where precision, personalization and efficiency converge for a healthier and more sustainable world.