With the incorporation of technological advances in hardware design and computational power, there has been dramatic improvements in the reliability and design of present-day mass spectrometers. These instruments now promise greater versatility and the progression from laboratories to clinical use has greatly expanded the number of users as well as the scope of applications using mass spectrometry. Further aiding their uptake will be the mounting focus on screening patients through the identification of biomarkers as well as the move toward developing more effective drugs based on the structural properties of targets. In line with these trends, the U.S Life Science Mass Spectrometry market is likely to continue seeing strong growth over the next seven years.
New analysis from Frost & Sullivan U.S. Life Science Mass Spectrometry Markets, reveals that revenues in this industry totaled $695.7 million in 2005 and can reach $1.39 billion in 2012.
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“Mass spectrometry is a versatile research tool, enabling scientists to identify both the causes of diseases and to develop customized treatments against them,” notes Frost & Sullivan Research Analyst Shankar Sellappan, Ph.D. “The search for biomarkers as well as the construction of detailed structural models of drugs, proteins, and other biomolecules will transform the traditional process of disease screening, diagnosis, and prognosis and will make available treatments that have been manipulated to increase efficacy.”
For example, many cancers are not caused by the lack of a protein but by a mutation that alters its structure, thereby altering the function of the protein. Information on how the protein is mutated, or the development of treatments that restore its function, based on structural analyses provided using mass spectrometry can significantly minimize the effects of this abnormal protein.
However, instrument quality and reliability continue to be a major problem facing users of mass spectrometers. Although users are likely to heavily utilize and rely upon these systems to provide data due to their high costs and ability to handle high volumes of sample, mass spectrometers are yet to show that they can withstand heavy pressure and have an approximate downtime of 15 percent. As a result, end users have grown increasingly frustrated with this ‘accepted’ fact and are demanding more of their research dollars.
“The high cost of maintenance, in terms of both dollars as well as time, is a critical market restraint that threatens to curtail investments in these highly technical instruments,” says Dr. Sellappan. “With tightening funding levels, competition for research funding has increased and downtime of laboratory instruments clearly affects project planning, progress, morale, as well as the type of experiments pursued.”
In addressing such concerns, mass spectrometer manufacturers will need to leverage their pricing powers to provide incentives for mandatory feedback on these instruments. Another option worth considering is conducting practical workshops for new mass spectrometers prior to their release for sale. In this approach, a broad range of end users, from those employed in relatively low-skilled, high-throughput environments to highly trained researchers, could test these instruments in real-world applications without the help of company representatives. This would allow for the identification and refinement of problems that would commonly go unnoticed by those employed by the manufacturing company prior to the release of the product for sale.
U.S. Life Science Mass Spectrometry Markets is part of the Drug Discovery Technologies subscription, which also includes research in the following markets: RNAi markets, microfluidics/lab-on-a-chip, DNA microarrays, and proteomics arrays. All research services included in subscriptions provide detailed market opportunities and industry trends evaluated following extensive interviews with market participants. Interviews with the press are available.
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U.S. Life Science Mass Spectrometry Market