News & Views
Promise of Multiple Benefits Underlines the Growing Popularity of Lab-on-chip and Microfluidics
Jan 04 2010
Microfluidics and lab-on-chip is a field with tremendous growth potential. As it is primarily an enabling technology, coupled with the fact that this is an era of miniaturisation, which has already swept up the information and communications industry, the life sciences industry has come to realise its potential. Microelectronics provides striking opportunities for advancing biomedical research and creating new markets for the medical sciences industry.
New analysis from Frost & Sullivan (http://www.drugdiscovery.frost.com), European Lab-on-chip and Microfluidics Market, finds that the market earned revenues of about $666.3 million in 2008 and estimates this to reach about $1.62 billion in 2015, as this market is in the early growth stage with tremendous potential for growth. The following applications are covered in the research: genomics, proteomics, cell-based assays and clinical diagnostics.
“The adoption of microfluidics by pharmaceuticals companies provides them multiple benefits such as improved data quality, economical reagent consumption and cost reduction, and acceleration of drug discovery processes - ultimately shortening the time-to-market of a drug,” notes Frost & Sullivan Senior Research Analyst Rasika Ramachandran. “Microfluidics significantly reduces the time and cost of producing large amounts of biological material, such as proteins or enzymes for drug screening, by reducing the amount of material needed. This helps drug development companies to cut down on the initial expenses of drug development and, at the same time, gain speed in bringing a drug into the market.”
The lab-on-chip and microfluidics market for life sciences applications is likely to experience double-digit growth cumulatively over the next seven years. However, due to the global recession, this is unlikely to happen in the next two years. During this stage, only single-digit growth can be expected from the market.
The global recession is bound to affect the microfluidics and lab-on-chip market in Europe as well as globally. This market requires capital expenditure, and all major pharmaceutical companies - the key customers for these instruments - are undertaking substantial cutbacks in capital spending.
“Revenues from new placements will be slim in the coming year or two due to budget cut backs by the major pharmaceutical companies,” states Ramachandran. “Nevertheless, lab-on-chip companies that already have a significant installed base will continue to enjoy small but consistent revenue flows from the sale of consumables.”
To experience improved revenue growth in the coming years, the market needs to aggressively address technical challenges that are currently hampering uptake. Market participants also need to address interoperability concerns that keep pharmaceutical companies from readily including lab-on-chip instruments in their existing workflows.
“Being a new technology that has to fit into an existing laboratory set up, it is essential that lab-on-chip equipment is compatible with the pre-existing robotics and automation lay-out of the lab,” advises Ramachandran. “Companies that meet these standards will achieve greater success in attracting customers as pharmaceutical and biotechnology companies are always looking for ways to cut costs and will not be willing to spend on a new technology if it entitles more incidental expenses to accommodate a new instrument; the instrument should be as easy to use as plug-and-play.”
Currently, there is only limited cannibalisation among lab-on-chip and microfluidics instruments providers for life sciences applications. However, as the technology moves towards the mainstream in the next 5-7 years, participants need to co-operate to keep the scenario at status quo, as there is enough scope for everyone. The life sciences market is a multi-billion dollar market with myriad applications and problems to be solved, thereby presenting ample opportunities for all market participants.
If you are interested in a virtual brochure, which provides a brief synopsis of the research and a table of contents, then send an e-mail to Katja Feick, Corporate Communications, at firstname.lastname@example.org, with your full name, company name, title, telephone number, company e-mail address, company website, city, state and country. Upon receipt of the above information, a brief brochure will be sent to you by e-mail.
European Lab-on-chip and Microfluidics Market is part of the Drug Discovery & Clinical Diagnostics Growth Partnership Services programme, which also includes research in the following markets: Opportunities for the European Mass Spectrometry Market in Basic Research Applications and European Protein Purification Markets. All research services included in subscriptions provide detailed market opportunities and industry trends that have been evaluated following extensive interviews with market participants.
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