6 Biotech Trends to Watch in 2024

6 Biotech Trends to Watch in 2024

As we progress into 2024, strengthened investment into the life science sector demonstrates great potential for industry growth. This blog explores the trends and technologies that could shape the 2024 life science investment landscape.

  1. CRISPR Gene Editing

CRISPR (clustered regularly interspaced short palindromic repeats) is a technology that research scientists use to edit the DNA of living organisms. CRISPR was adapted for use in the laboratory from naturally occurring genome editing systems found in bacteria and it was first used as a tool to modify the genome in 2012. Only a few years later, in 2020, the first clinical trials using CRISPR cleared safety concerns as a treatment for lung cancer [1].

CRISPR-gene editing was approved in Europe for the treatment of inherited blood disorders [2]. Sickle-cell disease was the first illness to be overcome by CRISPR using a therapy called Casgevy. However, the treatment is currently estimated to cost $2-3 million per patient [3].

In late 2023, The US Food and Drug Administration approved the first CRISPR medicine for sickle cell patients, who formerly could only be cured with a stem cell transplant. In addition, base editing, a high-precision successor to CRISPR genome editing, has made its US debut in a clinical trial [4]. The trial tests more complex genome edits than those performed in humans so far [5].

All CRISPR treatments are currently experimental and there are still concerns regarding their safety. While the widespread use of CRISPR is promising, those with severe and rare disorders will be the first to have access to the treatment. The price as well as the safety of gene-editing treatments, will determine their success in the future. 

  1. RNA Gene Editing

In addition to advancements in CRISPR-gene editing therapies, RNA editing gained approval for clinical trials in the UK in February 2024. RNA editing reverses disease-causing mutations and is thought to be a safer alternative to CRISPR and DNA editing due to its reversibility and flexibility [6].

Wave Life Sciences, Cambridge, Massachusetts, is investigating the use of single-base editing for treating alpha-1 antitrypsin deficiency (AATD), a genetic condition that poses a risk to both lung and liver health [7].

  1. Biosensors

The improvement of AI and increased sensitivity of biosensors means improved accuracy and usability of healthcare biosensors or ‘wearables’ for real-time monitoring, prevention, and treatment of some diseases. Biosensors can be categorized into three distinct types: in vitro biosensors using blood, saliva, or urine; continuous monitoring biosensors (CMBs) and ‘wearable’ biosensors. A good example of biosensors that have gained traction in recent years is continuous glucose monitoring (CGM) devices. These biosensors allow patients with Diabetes to continuously monitor their condition at home. With 1 in 3 adults in the US having prediabetes [8], biosensors could influence users' lifestyle habits in a way that could prevent disease progression. Widespread use of biosensors for diagnosis and monitoring is expected in 2024.

  1. Bioprinting

Similarly to 3D printing, bioprinting uses active human cells to construct tissues [9]. Globally, scientists have “printed” human bone, skin, and cornea for use in research. The future could see the use of bioprinting to create artificial organs which could help to tackle the current issues faced with a lack of viable organs for transplantation. Studies have shown the feasibility of bioprinting for burn wound reconstruction which could allow for in situ repair [10]. This could replace the use of skin grafts which can have a long preparation time making them impractical in some cases.

  1. Precision Medicine (Enhanced by AI)

Researchers in 2024 continue to investigate personalized forms of treatment and will continue to find ways to overcome the challenges currently faced in precision medicine.

Due to specialized testing required in precision medicine, laboratories will require new technology and assays. Clinical trials are also a challenge due to the complexities involved with the identification and detection of biomarkers which require greater sample collection and analysis and complex procedures that may put patients at risk [11]. With more investment in precision medicine predicted in 2024, it may be possible to overcome these hurdles.

  1. AI and Machine Learning for Drug discovery

When combined with biology and drug development, AI can help researchers to develop better drugs faster. AI can speed up the time between discovering a drug and its translation to the clinical setting. In addition, it accelerates the identification of viable candidates for clinical trials.


As we look ahead to an optimistic 2024 for the life sciences, the industry anticipates significant growth and innovation driven by continued innovation and investment coupled with the resurgence of M&A activities. 

The six key technologies discussed in this blog are expected to play a pivotal role in shaping the landscape of the life science industry in 2024. Continued investment into new and emerging technologies holds immense potential for scientific advancement as well as lucrative opportunities for businesses and investors. 

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  1. The first human trial of CRISPR-based cell therapy clears safety concerns as new treatment for late-stage lung cancer | Signal Transduction and Targeted Therapy (nature.com)
  2. The world’s first CRISPR therapy is approved: who will receive it? (nature.com)
  3. UK first to approve CRISPR treatment for diseases: what you need to know (nature.com)
  4. The First Crispr Medicine Is Now Approved in the US | WIRED
  5. Super-precise CRISPR tool enters US clinical trials for the first time (nature.com)
  6. Shoot the messenger: RNA editing is here | Nature Biotechnology
  7. Move over, CRISPR: RNA-editing therapies pick up steam (nature.com).
  8. About Prediabetes and Type 2 Diabetes | National Diabetes Prevention Program | CDC
  9. Future of Bioprinting | BioScience | Oxford Academic (oup.com)
  10. In situ bioprinting of the skin for burns - ScienceDirect
  11. Precision Medicine’s Breakout Year: 2024 Trends (pharmexec.com)