The constantly growing global marketplace offers continually enhancing products, while maintaining cost-reduction is paramount. Hence, the sanitary line of membrane separation systems and technologies plays a vital role in multifarious industries including industrial biotechnology and pharmaceutical industries.

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Brief Introduction

Membrane processes are commonly used in industrial applications as they easily replace distillation and evaporation at improved economics. Membrane separation technologies such as ultrafiltration, reverse osmosis, and microfiltration are often used to purify and concentrate both small and large molecules in a given application.

Membrane technology has experienced significant development in the last couple of decades. And to this day, the market continues to grow stronger due to certain factors such as environmental regulations, challenges related to water supply and sanitation, advancement of material science and process technologies, and exploration of new applications – all of which are rapidly increasing in emerging regions.

The Need of Membrane Systems
The constantly growing populations across the world and diminishing fresh water sources due to environmental degradation and drought sources that have caused shortages of water have led the world into a huge demand for usable and clean water. Seemingly, such aspects have given rise to advances in membrane filtration and separation technologies from biotechnology development to purification of water supply.

According to the global statistics, the past three decades has shown a rise in the desalination systems that have specifically emerged as effective solutions for changing contaminated water or other liquids into potable or usable products for domestic and commercial use. Worldwide experts estimate that technical advancements in membrane technology coupled with improvements in the membrane-based reverse osmosis RO systems have resulted in an 80%

cost-reduction for desalinated water, and hence the need and growth of such systems is increasing year-on-year basis.

Membrane Technology in Pharmaceuticals Applications

Most of the times there are different membrane technologies leveraged in the field of pharmaceutical Research & Development. Some of them include phosphatidylcholine-immobilized artificial membrane used in vitro pharmacodynamic study for drug absorption profiling and hollow fiber membrane. Also, there is structural and screening characterization of reactive metabolites that helps to reduce attrition rates in drug development. This has increasingly become a fundamental part of the ADMET-guided lead optimization process in drug discovery.

The need for detecting reactive metabolites is highly required in the pharmaceutical industry.

Moreover, its use is also seen in the biomedical industry where synthetic polymer membranes are used in a wide range of applications including blood oxygenators, hemodialysis, and controlled release of therapeutics.

Global Market Growth of the Membrane Technology Market

Due to increasing research and development, and advancements in production in biopharmaceutical, life sciences, and pharmaceutical sectors, the membrane technology market is witnessing remarkable growth across different verticals. The global membrane technology market is estimated at USD 6,461.3 million in 2013 and is further expected to grow at a CAGR of 9.1% in the forecast period of 2014 to 2019, and reach an estimated value of USD 10,886 million in 2019.

The major players in this global market are GE Healthcare and 3M Healthcare, along with some other players that include Sartorius, Merck Millipore, Koch Membrane System, Novasep, and more.

Additionally, some of the major countries active in the advancements of membrane technology market are seen in regions such as North America, Asia Pacific, Europe, and Rest of the World (RoW).

Of all the regions, North America is acclaimed to be the largest market in the biopharmaceutical industry. According to the European Federation of Pharmaceutical Industries and Associations, North America accounted nearly 41% of global pharmaceutical sales in the year 2012. Even the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) certifies North America as the largest market for membrane technology in pharmaceutical, biopharmaceutical and life sciences industries.

Successive to North America, Europe is witnessed to be another dynamically growing region in the progress, expansion, and development of membrane technology. Various organizations in Europe such as the European Desalination Society (EDS) and European Membrane House (EMH) also help to promote membrane technology in companies, universities, government sectors, and research institutes. Nevertheless, currently Asia is the fastest growing region in the membrane technology market with average annual growth rate of 13%.

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