The Best Bets
According to Kalorama's research, the market for informatics products market will be about $830 million in 2005 and will establish modest, if not spectacular, growth over the next few years to top $1 billion by 2008.
By far the largest segment of the informatics marketplace is the hardware and systems market, with high-performance computing being the largest part of the hardware market and led by the usual suspects: IBM and Sun Microsystems, among others.
However, electronic laboratory notebooks (ELN) represent the fastest growing portion of the hardware segment. Despite problems with early adoption in the life sciences, Kalorama believes ELNs will show average annual growth in the 25% range as the forces pushing for them overcome the inherent resistance.
Aside from hardware, though, cheminformaticssometimes called chemo-informaticsis the best-established market for informatics products, led by MDL and Accelrys. Cheminformatics began with basic software and databases to help chemists design new compounds, but over the past few years, it has grown to include tools for combinatorial chemistry, library design, data mining, and other applications.
Databases and searches are still the dominant area, with 2004 sales of about $75 million, but more recently, cheminformatics has added tools that link cheminformatics with modeling and bioinformatics. It is this information integration that is the fastest growing portion of the cheminformatics marketplace.
Bioinformatics in drug discovery is a significant but highly fragmented market. The market is overcrowded with small players with limited product offerings. Data acquisition and integration is the largest product segment within bioinformatics, but few players have developed solutions that will manage the whole gamut of technology results.
Pathways analysis, which connects with the emerging field of systems biology and offers tremendous potential for impacting drug discovery, is a promising field in the data-mining and analysis portion of the bioinformatics market. Ingenuity Systems is the market leader in pathways analysis; Ariadne and GeneGo are promising newcomers. According to our research, pathways analysis will drive the data-mining and analysis segment to better than 10% annual growth in the coming years.
The hottest property in informatics is in the area of in silico modeling. Although it is currently the smallest segment, it is also the most intriguing, with a tremendous potential for growth. In silico models for lead optimization hold great promise, but have not yet delivered all that was expected of them.
Rather, Kalorama believes that target validation and binding models are where in silico modeling will find its best growthin excess of 20% yearly over the next few years. These models address the critical question of finding the right targets for compounds to bind to.
The emerging research areas of systems biology and protein pathways play an important role in designing these models. While established players like Accelrys, Gene Logic, and MDL have selected products in this market space, it is the newcomers that are creating a lot of attention. Companies like Entelos, Gene Network Sciences, and Schrodinger have launched some promising new products in this area. Kalorama expects this group of products to grow steadily over the next two years, then really take off by 2007.