The Dynamic Media, Sera and Reagent Market in Biotechnology

Published - Sep 2000| Analyst - Sanker Usha| Code - BIO014C
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Report Highlights

  • The U.S. cell culture media market has been growing at a surprisingly fast pace since the last edition of this report, and some of the media suppliers are enjoying a growth rate higher than the overall rate. The U.S. market for cell culture media was estimated to be about $169.5 million in 1999. This is projected to grow to $190.2 million in 2000, and to reach $343.7 million in the year 2005. The estimated average annual growth rate is projected to be about 12.5%.
  • The sera portion of the U.S. market was an estimated $173.9 million in 1999. It should grow to $183.2 million by 2000, and $238.4 million by 2005. The average growth rate is expected to be 5.4% per year throughout this period.
  • The U.S. market for reagents used in cell culture was an estimated $151.7 million in 1999. This should grow to $170.4 million by 2000, and to $315.1 million by 2005. The average growth rate through this period is projected to be 13.0% per year.



The main goal of this study is to analyze the markets for sera, media, and reagents in the biotechnology industry. It is fair to say that sera, media, and reagents are fundamental to molecular and cellular biology and immunology research, and, as a result, they are vital to the health of the biotech industry. A timely analysis of the state of the industry is in order.



The main reason for this study is to profile an important area of biotechnology that has been undergoing tremendous growth in the last few years. There have been a lot of changes since Dynamic Media, Sera and Reagents Market in Biotechnology [ Communication Co., September 1995] was published, which focused on the state of the media, sera, and reagent market. Approval times for new drugs have been reduced, there are more drugs in clinical trials and production stage, and research towards new drugs is escalating. All of these factors affect the demand for cell culture media, sera, and reagents. In addition, nascent fields, such as tissue engineering, cellular therapy, and gene therapy, are sure to add to the level of demand for media, sera, and reagents over the next several years.

It is very clear that in the recent past the cell culture media market has undergone changes that have injected this market with dramatic growth, and the picture looks very positive for the foreseeable future. There are new products in the media market, the emphasis has shifted from serum-supplemented media to reduced serum and serum-free media, and there is emergence of media that is animal-component free. It seems like the twentieth century, which saw the birth of mammalian cell culture and its growth and dependence on supplementation of cell culture media with animal serum, is giving way to the twenty-first century, which will see the maturation of mammalian cell culture in completely chemically defined media with different media being designed for the different goals of cell and tissue culture.


This study will shed light on the following areas:

  • Range of products available for cell culture;
  • Structure and current market size of the markets for media, sera, and reagents, with forecasts through 2005;
  • Changes in media, sera, and reagent usage patterns and trends;
  • Government and regulatory controls on cell culture media products;
  • The major players in the industry;
  • Range of emerging new products and technologies;
  • The international cell culture media markets and how they are changing; and
  • Future directions.

This study provides and technical information of a timely nature, and it will prove valuable to a variety of readers, including industry executives, managers and planners, industry analysts, and investors.


This study defines and provides background information on products that fall under the classification of cell culture media, sera, and reagents. It takes a close look at the size of the market for these products and analyzes its growth trend. Possible new markets are also discussed.


At the outset, an exhaustive literature search was done. The literature consulted included technical newsletters and journals, and trade papers in both print and online formats. Government sources as well as other online databases were also searched.

The information gained from the literature search provided the background for acquiring more detailed and specific information relating to the cell culture media markets. A number of different scenarios were considered, and these were substantiated with more relevant information gleaned from various sources, including interviews with marketing managers and media suppliers. The market trends were analyzed and predictions made based on several assumptions that are enumerated alongside of the forecasts.

Predictions were based on industry consensus, the funding levels, and shifts in priorities by both consumers and suppliers. Estimates were also based on demographics and rates of consumption. Every effort was made to make the estimates and projections as reliable as possible and to be within a narrow margin of error. However, these predictions are by their very nature speculative. They are a composite of opinions and assessments by interviewees, the author, other analysts and secondary sources. The relative importance of selected factors could change at any time with new technologies and new products, and thus change the direction of the market projections.

To determine the industry consensus, a questionnaire was designed and drafted.  Key executives from the companies involved in media manufacture and supply were interviewed and their answers to the questions in the questionnaire noted.  Attempts were made to include as many media manufacturers and suppliers as possible, but quite a few of those contacted declined to comment, citing the proprietary nature of the information.  Some of the questions from the questionnaire used in the interviews are highlighted below.

  • Who are your customers — universities, biotech companies, contract research organizations (CROs), or hospitals and clinics; or a combination of one or more?
  • What is the size of the market for cell culture media, sera, and reagents, respectively?
  • What is the ratio of research versus industry in terms of the market size for cell culture media, sera, and reagents?
  • What percentage do hospitals and contract research organizations make up?
  • At what annual rate is the market growing for cell culture media, sera, and cell culture reagents respectively?  Is this rate unexpected?
  • Who are the industry leaders among the cell culture media, sera, and cell culture reagent manufacturers and suppliers?  What position is your company in, and is it likely to change?
  • What is the total consumption in the United States and worldwide for cell culture medium and sera, and cell culture reagents, respectively?
  • Is the market for cell culture media growing faster than that for sera?
  • Is there an increase in the size of the market for custom media and serum-free media formulations?
  • What are the current prices for fetal bovine and other types of sera, and are they likely to change?
  • What are the sources of the sera that you supply?  Are they all domestic, or are there imported sera as well?  If you supply imported sera, which countries are they imported from?
  • Do you think that the emergence of CROs has resulted in an increase or decrease in the consumption of cell culture media, sera, and reagents?
  • What do you see as the future trends in this field?
  • What do you think will be the impact of the $2 billion increase in the budget of the National Institutes of Health (NIH) for the year 2000-2001 on the cell culture media and sera market?
  • Is there a likelihood of pharmaceutical companies increasing their research and development budgets?


A broad range of information sources was consulted in preparing this study. The sources consulted included newsletters, company literature, product literature, a host of technical articles, journals, indexes, and abstracts, as well as trade magazines, books, and reference guides. Also, a number of different computer searches were carried out. Exhaustive investigations of databases by key terminology were performed.

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