Technology advancements, emerging market adoption, and new business models are positively impacting the sector.

The $7.7 billion global immunoassay market, which comprises over one-fifth of the $37 billion in vitro diagnostics (IVD) market, grew approximately 6% a year between 2005 and 2007, according to a Scientia Advisors review. The immunoassay market has since shown a 9% compound annual growth rate, which is expected to continue through 2012.

Growth in the immunoassay market will be driven by the emergence of (1) ultrasensitive platforms, which enable detection of analytes at minute concentrations, (2) multiplex technologies, which allow simultaneous analysis of multiple compounds, and (3) novel biomarkers that increase the accuracy and efficiency of diagnosis or treatment, the report continues.

Such advanced technologies are faster, more accurate, and more cost-effective than many traditional tests. As a result, they may command higher prices and are driving growth in the overall immunoassay market.

“Most current immunoassay technologies focus on detecting one or several proteins in a patient’s blood/serum or other samples,” says Arshad Ahmed, a partner at Scientia Advisors. “However, novel markers and new technologies that can detect and measure multiple markers simultaneously will become increasingly available in the next several years.”

Increasing adoption in emerging markets such as China and India is also contributing to the positive growth prospects for the immunoassay market. The Chinese market was $361 million in 2006 and has been growing at a 15% CAGR.

What is more, for diagnostics players, marketing and business models are changing, according to Ahmed. Companies are looking to couple immunoassays with marketed drugs. They are also embracing the sole-service model in which tests are marketed directly to physicians and performed in company-run laboratories.

In light of these changes, “it is crucial that companies in the diagnostics space re-examine their business strategies in order to compete successfully in the coming years,” Ahmed points out.

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