Microarrays have big future in store
SNP market at about $400 million; in next 5 years to $1 billion.
To date, microarrays for gene expression have made a profound impact in the pharmaceutical and biomedical worlds. Looking forward, information from newer microarray technologies such as CGH, ChIP-on-chip, splice variants, and microRNAs, combined with gene expression data, can be applied to the drug discovery process enabling many exciting applications, such as finding cures for infectious diseases, discovering the mechanisms involved in cancer and finding treatments with fewer side effects. This according to the new report, Beyond Expression Arrays: Emerging Applications for Genomic Microarray Technology, from Beachhead Consulting.
The SNP market is the furthest along this maturity path, with a current market at about $400 million and a potential for growth in the next 5 years to $1 billion.
"We expect the microarray market, not counting instrumentation and reagents, to continue healthy growth through 2009 with an additional expectation of doubling from 2006 to 2009 to $1 billion," says Patricia Landers Gee, a market analyst at Beachhead. "Most of this growth will come from SNP revenues along with continued growth of traditional array applications and new technologies and applications. Our market model shows that the percentage of the array market attributed to SNP arrays in 2004 was approximately 17 percent."
Issues affecting adoption have been due to clinical sample quality and handling and the quality of the available high-density arrays, she notes.
"We expect this percentage to grow rapidly to approximately 45 percent in 2009 as these issues are overcome, and most especially because many biomarker programs center on genotyping, particularly in oncology; the main driver being the effort to find SNP markers for specific tumor types to correlate with treatment," Gee says. She adds that price erosion and the establishment of more stringent FDA regulations could be a tempering factor.
"Of all the applications discussed in this report, SNP profiling is the only one that has been widely adopted and it serves as a good model for the development and introduction of other technologies," points out Richard Fisler, director at Beachhead.
"We believe that market growth can occur rapidly for companies that have taken the time to understand both the application and the workflow," he adds. "High-value technologies can be used throughout the discovery process, rather than only once as a specialty or complementary assay."
Companies involved in development of new applications must work closely with their target customers, namely pharmaceutical, biotechnology and diagnostic research and development groups, to determine if and how to deliver these technologies, the report notes.