Nishita C Research Associate IQ4I Research

Fortunes Rise As Molecular and Cellular Approaches Become Indispensable To Translational Medicine

Cell analysis has emerged as an ultrasensitive tool. It explicates molecular mechanisms and pathways. It even reveals the nature of cell heterogeneity. Accordingly, cell analysis has been applied in a range of disciplines—genomics, proteomics, transcriptomics, and epigenomics.

Because cell analysis is being deployed ever more widely, it is becoming more than a scientific phenomenon. It is becoming a market phenomenon, too. In fact, cell analysis will represent a global market of $35.5 billion by 2020, according to IQ4I Research.

Cell analysis market growth is attributed to a range of factors. These include:

  • Greater emphasis in healthcare technology for early and accurate diagnosis of life threatening diseases.
  • Increasing government and corporate funding and investment in cell based research.
  • Higher demand from end users such as diagnostic laboratories for cell analysis products.

Potential countervailing factors include stringent government regulations, a lack of skilled personnel to perform some of cell analysis techniques (such as high-content screening and next-generation sequencing), and the high cost of some of the commercial instruments. Ultimately, these potential growth inhibitors could be recognized as outsourcing opportunities. For example, high-content screening services could be outsourced to contract research organizations.

Cell-Level Techniques

Cell analysis encompasses the isolation of cells of interest as well as the characterization of cellular heterogeneity. Relevant techniques include:

  • Single cell analysis—a technique for analyzing individual cells and assessing changing cell behavior and function over time, whether cells are in their natural states or perturbed by external factors.
  • Live cell imaging—a microscopic process for visualizing and quantifying cellular dynamics in real time.
  • High-content screening—a means of studying many cell features simultaneously in complex biological systems.
  • Laser capture microdissection—an automated sample preparation technique that enables isolation of specific cells from a mixed population
  • Optical microscopy—STED, STORM, TIRF, FLIM, and other technologies.
  • Nanobiodevices—nanopillar arrays or nanowire arrays on a quartz chip, devices that allow ultrafast detection of circulating tumor cells for cancer metastasis diagnosis.

Molecular and Image-Based Approaches

There are many molecular approaches such as polymerase chain reaction (PCR) assays, sequencing, microarrays, microfluidics, and cell separation techniques. Image-based approaches rely on microscopes, fluorescence in situ hybridization (FISH) assays, high-content screening, spectrophotometry, and cytometry techniques.

Among the molecular approaches usually performed at the genomic level, PCR accounted for the largest revenue: $4,843 million in 2013. PCR also has a healthy CAGR in the global cell analysis techniques market. The sequencing segment is expected to have a CAGR as high as 12.7% during the forecast period.

Among image-based approaches, cytometry generated highest revenue. High-content screening is projected to have a CAGR as high as 12.5% between 2014 and 2020.

Cell Analysis Products

The cell analysis products include consumables, instruments, and services. Of these, consumables commanded the largest market share in 2013, mainly due to the sale of reagents. Among cell analysis instruments, microscopes accounted for highest revenue. The microfluidic devices segment is expected to show a double-digit CAGR during the forecast period (2014–2020). During this time, the services segment is also estimated to show a favorable CAGR.

Cell analysis represents a multidisciplinary market. It has applications in varied therapeutic areas. One such area is immunology. It has generating the highest revenue for the global cell analysis market in 2013. Genetic testing is forecast to have the highest growth rate.

The diagnostics segment, a field with which cell analysis is closely identified, accounts for the highest revenue of in the same year, with stem cell analysis showing the highest growth rate (reaching double digits) during the forecast period.

Market Characteristics

The academic and research institutes accounted for highest revenue in 2013 among the end users, surpassing all other segments, which included hospitals, pharmaceutical companies, biotech companies, contract research organizations, cell banks, and diagnostic laboratories. Contract research organizations, however, are expected to post a larger CAGR during the forecast period, mainly because of the outsourcing business they generate from high-content screening.

From a geographic perspective, North America commanded the largest market share, followed by Europe. These mature regions, which benefited from high investments in healthcare infrastructure and relatively generous provision of government funds, also showed improved market growth.

The Asia Pacific region, however, is expected to have the highest CAGR (11.3%) during the forecast period due to increased healthcare awareness, improved economic growth, and increasing disposable incomes. The outsourcing of high-content screening services to contract research organizations in emerging countries also contributes to the Asia Pacific region’s high growth rate.

During past three years, market growth has been driven by significant mergers and acquisitions, collaborations, new product launches, and product approvals from regulatory bodies. New product launches accounted for more than 50% of the growth between 2011 and 2015, meeting customer needs and also expanding the cell analysis global market with innovative technologies and products.

In March 2015, Kapa Biosystems (U.S.) launched library preparation products such as HyperPlus and RNA-Seq kits for NGS DNA and RNA analysis by providing high-quality mechanical shearing and efficient RNA depletion. In the same month, Roche Diagnostics (Switzerland) launched the Cobas DPX test, a RT-PCR duplex assay for detecting parvovirus B19 and hepatitis A virus in human plasma, whereas Cambridge Epigenetix (U.K.) launched TrueMethyl kits for amplicon sequencing and pyrosequencing applications. Rain Dance Technologies (U.S.) announced the availability of the ThunderBolts NGS target-enrichment system to rapidly detect and analyze somatic mutations from CTC (circulating tumor cells) DNA or FFPE (formalin-fixed paraffin-embedded) tissue samples.

Major players in cell analysis market include Agilent Technologies (U.S.), Becton Dickinson (U.S.), Bio-Rad Laboratories (U.S.), Danaher (U.S.), GE Healthcare (U.K.), Merck (Germany), Olympus (Japan), PerkinElmer (U.S.), Promega (U.S.), Qiagen (Netherlands), Sigma-Aldrich (U.S.), and Thermo Fisher Scientific (U.S.). Danaher is a dominant player with a share of 22.4%, followed by Thermo Fisher Scientific, Becton Dickinson, Merck KGaA, Agilent Technologies, and Sigma Aldrich.

Nishita C is a research associate at IQ4I (Intelligence Quotient for Innovation) Research, a global strategy, consulting, and market research firm. For information, contact Satish Birudukota ([email protected]).


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