Life science (LS) constitutes the largest market segment with collective market demand of more than $13 billion in 2016. Thus, LS accounts for a quarter of the total analytical instruments market. In 2016, the LS market grew an estimated 4.8%. Strong growth was predominantly driven by sales of consumable products and service offerings. In 2017, growth is expected to be 4.8%.
LS encompasses 13 individual technology segments, which collectively enable a wide range of applications, thereby providing significant opportunities for growth not only in general applications but niche research markets as well. Nucleic acid–based analysis remains at the forefront of LS market growth, although demand for protein/peptide, cell-based and in vivo animal applications also continue to provide robust growth.
The boom in next generation sequencing (NGS) has strongly impacted nucleic acid analysis and the life science industry as a whole. In 2016, DNA sequencing was the dominant segment in terms of sales, accounting for more than one-fifth of the total LS market. It is also the fastest growing segment, with growth of 9.1% expected this year, thanks to the propagation of NGS technologies, and its widespread applications in both the public and private sectors. Illumina and QIAGEN are the biggest players in the sequencing and nucleic acid sample preparation arenas, respectively, while Thermo Fisher Scientific remains a strong contender in both. The nucleic acid preparation and cell separation market’s share is nearly equal to that of sequencing.
PCR and flow cytometry are the next largest segments and remain the only other markets in LS with a double-digit share, accounting for 19% and 13% of total LS sales. respectively. Thermo Fisher leads the PCR market, whereas BD Biosciences is the undisputed leader of the flow cytometry market. The fifth largest technology segment of the LS market is electrophoresis, in which the leading vendor is GE Healthcare.
Other significant LS vendors that manufacture products for several different segments include Agilent Technologies, Bio-Rad Laboratories, Danaher and MilliporeSigma.
Geographically, China is the fastest growing region in terms of LS demand, followed closely by the US, which is the largest LS market. Although academia remains the major end-user segment, demand is rapidly shifting towards clinical and pharmaceutical labs in addition to the growing niche markets of agriculture and food, thereby driving aftermarket sales and market expansion. Nucleic acid–based analysis segments, in particular, are benefitting from the growing demand emerging from the evolving clinical and biopharma infrastructure in Asia Pacific countries.