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In-vitro market strongest in Europe as testing alternatives take centre stage

By Lucy Whitehouse , 22-Apr-2014
Last updated on 22-Apr-2014 at 12:52 GMT2014-04-22T12:52:29Z

In-vitro market strongest in Europe as testing alternatives take centre stage

A new market report by Markets and Markets which details the size and growth of in-vitro toxicology and toxicity testing markets across the world states that Europe is to hold its position as largest until 2018.

In the wake of the animal testing ban which came into force last year forbidding the marketing of those cosmetics products which are tested on animals, the rise of alternative methods has been strong.

According to the report analysts, a “shift is observed towards emerging technologies such as assays based on human cells or non-mammalian models, high throughput testing, omics approaches, ex vivo models, and in silico techniques”.

EU ban

The European Commission’s implementation of the marketing ban, which came into force irrespective of the availability of alternative non-animal tests, threw up a stumbling block for the industry which experts continue to debate .

The report's analysts note that the EU Commission has been mobilising to help tackle the obstacle with brands, through the promotion of in-vitro alternatives.

The EU Commission “promotes the use of in vitro techniques through launch of programs such as AXLR8 for the purpose of monitoring EU-funded 3Rs research activities with the aim of accelerating the transition from in vivo testing to in vitro testing,” the report notes.

The ‘3Rs’ refers to a widely accepted ethical framework for conducting scientific research alongside concerns regarding the use of animals, and consists of ‘replacement, reduction and refinement.’

The report notes that emerging countries in Asia, such as China and India, will also register high growth for in-vitro testing in the coming years, attributing this to the low development costs in these nations.

Cell culture technology

Cell culture technology has emerged as a technology that has been driving the in vitro toxicology testing market, according to the report, as it allows for better interpretation of in vitro results.

With the increasing demand of emergent 3D models the cell culture technology is estimated to be the fastest growing technology in the next five years,” the analysts note.

With other countries now pulling animal testing regulation into focus , the in-vitro market looks set to continue its steady growth.  

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