Life Science (LS) constitutes the largest category in the analytical instrument industry, representing a quarter of the total industry, with collective market demand of more than $14.3 billion in 2017. Growth in 2017, estimated at 4.8%, was largely driven by sales of consumables for use with a growing base of installed systems.
The LS market is comprised of 13 individual technology segments, which encompass a wide range of applications. This provides significant opportunities for growth of both general applications and niche research markets.
Demand for Next Generation Sequencing (NGS) continues to flourish, impacting not only the sequencing segment, but also driving strong demand in the nucleic acid sample preparation segment. Growth was evident in both the public and private sectors, as genomics technology has reached beyond basic research into the biomedical realm. Illumina and QIAGEN are the biggest players in the sequencing and nucleic acid sample preparation arenas, respectively.
Demand for large-scale NGS systems, which saw explosive growth upon introduction followed by a slowing trend as demand stabilized over the past few years, is expected to experience slower growth in 2018. However, this trend is beginning to reverse, accelerating projected demand for 2019 and beyond. NGS technologies are maturing; new systems implementing technological advances are beginning to enter the market, making sequencing more efficient, increasing sensitivity and significantly lowering the costs of sequencing.
PCR and flow cytometry are the next largest segments of the LS market, each holding double-digit shares of the market. Thermo Fisher Scientific leads the PCR market, while Becton, Dickinson is the undisputed leader in the flow cytometry market.
Geographically, China’s demand for LS instruments is the fastest growing, propelled by the country’s precision medicine initiative. The next largest demand is in the US, which is the largest LS market. Although academia remains the main end-user segment, demand is rapidly shifting to the clinical and pharmaceutical segments, and is expanding in other niche markets such as agriculture and food.