Lab Automation Market - Automating Science
Lab automation utilizes high end automated equipment’s such as automated liquid handling system, microplate reader, and automated storage and retrieval system. It also include software’s to perform variety of routine lab procedure such as sample analysis, assay performance, mixing of sample, storage of sample, and many other procedures. Lab automation allows improved productivity with less operational time and more accuracy by minimizing the human error in the operational tasks. Automated liquid handling system can perform three different procedures simultaneously such as sample preparation, reagent addition to different plates having samples, and movement of lab ware from periphery to front area of desk. As the liquid handling systems have multiple arms for operational purpose, number of procedures can be performed within limited space of equipment work stations. High cost associated with reagent and sample preparation can be reduced with lab automation, as it uses smaller sample volumes, which is otherwise difficult to use in manual procedures and it minimizes the risk of errors to prevent sample wastage and reagents. Moreover, lab automation equipment provide high quality data and allows reproducibility of results for given sample with better documentation of those results. It also allows the integration of different equipment thereby optimizing the operations.
The global lab automation market was valued at US$ 5,218.3 million in 2016 and is expected to witness a CAGR of 4.8% over the forecast period (2017 – 2025).
Figure 1. Global Lab Automation Market (US$ Mn), by Region, 2016
Research and development by pharmaceutical and biotech companies to drive growth of the global lab automation market
Pharmaceutical and biotech companies are engaged in discovering novel molecules to treat chronic disease such as cancer and cardiovascular disease, which require high utilization of lab automation equipment, which in turn is expected to drive growth of the lab automation market. According to report published by International Federation of Pharmaceutical Manufacturer and Association in 2017, pharmaceutical industry invests US$ 149.8 billion on research and development annually. There are more than 7000 compounds are in preclinical stage of development out of which 56 were launched in 2015 and between 2011 - 2015 around 225 new chemical and biological entities were launched. Lab automation equipment are immensely helpful in drug discovery steps such a screening and lead optimization, sample assay development, and ADME (Absorption, Distribution, Metabolism and Excretion)-toxicological studies. For instance, with the help of micrometer plate, assay development can be performed rapidly for large volume of new drug samples. High throughput screening of this samples for ADME can be performed with liquid handling system through automated cell permeability, drug solubility, in vitro drug metabolism, protein binding studies, and compound characterization procedures. Implementing the lab automation system reduced the time for preclinical studies and minimizes the lead molecule failure due to precision in procedure. However, high cost associated with these equipment is major factor restraining growth of market.
Increasing research and development in personalized medicine to drive growth of the lab automation market
Lab automation market is expected to gain significant traction in near future due to advancements in personalized medicine by utilizing tools of genome engineering. For instance, immuno-oncology utilizes CAR-T cell therapy for isolation of T cells from patients, which then genetically engineered to produce receptors on their surface called chimeric antigen receptors and such cells are multiplied by in vitro methods. Most of the steps involved in this procedure require lab automation equipment. For instance, automated liquid handling system would boost the assay and sample preparation of CAR-T cells, automated storage and retrieval system helps in efficient preservation and storage of original and multiplied T cells, which are to be administered in patient’s body. Key players operating in the lab automation market include Tecan Group Ltd., PerkinElmer Inc., Danaher Corporation, Thermo Fisher Scientific, QIAGEN, Agilent Technologies, Hamilton Robotics, Abbot Diagnostics, Eppendorf, Roche Diagnostics, and Siemens Healthineers.
Lab automation systems incorporates use of high end equipment’s and software into various laboratory procedure such as sample preparation with reagent mixing, pipetting out sample, performing sample analysis for characterization of the compound in the sample, sensitive lab ware movement, liquid dispensing assay performance, and cell culture preparation. Lab automation systems provides advantage such as precision in operations, saving time by performing batch operations, and accuracy of data due to minimizing human error. It also prevents sample wastage (in case sample having very low yield). Increasing applications of lab automation in research laboratory is creating potential opportunity for growth of the market.
Major factor driving growth of the lab automation market include the need for accurate diagnosis in less time with minimum error. For instance, ELISA test is utilized in diagnosis of diseases such as Zika, AIDS, rotavirus, syphilis, and chickenpox. These diseases has high prevalence worldwide and frequent outbreaks of the same as infectious disease may promote use of automated ELISA systems. Increasing use of the DNA sample in diagnostics with tedious procedure involved in it is expected to propel growth of the lab automation market. Pharmaceutical companies worldwide are involved in genomics research, there is increasing research spending and collaboration with genomics firms by pharmaceutical and biotechnological companies in which lab automation will play crucial role. In April 2016, AstraZeneca launched project to sequence genome of over 2 million people by collaborating with biotech firm Human Longetivity, Inc., and other academic institutions. In March 2015, Genomics England announced to partner with 10 pharmaceutical and biotechnological companies to develop new diagnostics and treatments for cancer patient and rare disease, using the genomic sequences gathered through the 100,000 Genomes Project.
However, high cost associated with lab automation equipment is hindering growth of the market, as these equipment’s are costly to acquire by small research institutions reducing the wide adoption of the system.
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