Probiotics: what are they?

Probiotics are microorganisms having a beneficial effect on our body when ingested. This new market, englobing food industry and pharmaceuticals, is overgrowing: its global size was evaluated at $ 49.4B in 2018 and is supposed to reach $ 69.3B in 2023, with a growth rate of about 7% (source).

This is therefore a market full of promises and opportunities. But, what are really probiotics, how are they used and how can BIB help with its services in this industry?

What are probiotics?

Probiotics are designed as microorganisms, most of the time bacteria, creating a beneficial effect when ingested.

There is a huge range beneficial effects based on the microorganisms, such as protecting against pathogens, absorbing vitamins or modulating immune response. Those probiotics are part of a wider family called the microbiota. The human microbiota englobes all the microorganisms living in all the different regions of our body. This represents about 100 trillion of microorganisms (source).

Probiotics are therefore used to fight against several disorders, such as gastro-intestinal disorders, inflammatory diseases or autoimmune diseases for instance.The most commonly used probiotic bacteria are Lactobacilli (41.5%), Bifidobacteria (35%), and Bacilli (13.2%).

Probiotics can be ingested in different ways: the most common one is currently dietary supplements (more than 50%), which is regulated as food by the FDA. But we can naturally find those bacteria in food you can consume on a daily basis: yogurt, kimchi, cheese, algae, sourdough bread, etc.


Also, a new way of consuming probiotics has emerged: therapeutics. Those are regulated as drugs by the FDA and using probiotics in their formulations. This is an emerging market, since no drugs was yet commercialized in 2018 and most of them were still in preclinical/discovery phase. This market will be worth of more than $1B in the next 3 years however.

BIB and probiotics

Manufacturing those drugs requires several steps: isolation of specific strains, strains identification and characterization, process development, scale-up, and fill & finish.

Several challenges can then occur for the pharmaceutical companies manufacturing those drugs:

  • Manufacturing stable products with same consistency and purity
  • Lack of experienced personnel
  • Trouble to get certified facilities and processes,

Here at BIB, we can help manufacturing your probiotic drugs and follow you from your discovery to your commercialization. We have a team composed of technical-core coming from leading CDMO and superior employees with decades of experiences in the CDMO industry.

BIB can provide strain line development for your bacteria, purification services, analytical services combined with upstream and downstream processing. We can also offer scale-up to design your commercial production processes.

Finally, thanks to your GMP manufacturing site in Shanghai, China, we can offer you the manufacturing processes required by different regulations for your drug commercialization (FDA, EMA, etc.).

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