How are microfluidics solving major sample preparation issues in diagnostics?
How microfluidic technologies are solving the major issues of IVD sample preparation
In the 21st century, in-vitro diagnostics (IVD) are playing a role of unprecedented importance. They are used everywhere in the fields of medicine and biology, whether detecting bacteria in food or water, diagnosing a disease or sequencing DNA. However, before the analysis step, biological samples must be prepared in order to get the most reliable results possible. Sample preparation steps will depend on the type of assay, type of sample, and detection method. Today these are the major issues in laboratory analysis. Without automation, these processes are time-consuming and risk human manipulation errors that have a serious impact on analysis quality. Microfluidic technologies are now ready to address these issues. New solutions are starting to improve sample preparation and bring automation while reducing associated costs.
After years of lagging behind microfluidic technologies for detection, microfluidics for sample preparation have taken a big step forward in 2015. Numerous products integrating automated sample preparation steps or even fully dedicated to sample preparation have arrived on the market. In the meantime, the market dynamics have never been more positive. Numerous specialized startups have been acquired by large players, while investor confidence is at an all-time high, leading to numerous and impressive fundraising efforts for innovative companies in the field. The market has reached an inflection point thanks to the arrival of solutions relying on mature microfluidic technologies on the market, which will replace existing manual manipulations. An increasing number of players are involved in the field of sample preparation and this positive dynamic will continue in 2016, with many planned product releases, leading to huge year-to-year growth rates. Some segments of the microfluidics for sample preparation market will double from one year to the next. Their contribution will lead this market to reach $353M by 2020 from $98M in 2014. In the report, we will discuss the state of the market, identify the drivers and current and future trends and explain how and why it will evolve over the next few years.
Positive market dynamics rely on improving microfluidic technologies
During the past few years, numerous technological improvements have occurred in the field of sample preparation, many thanks to microfluidics. Innovative technologies enable miniaturization and automation of processes, thus leading to reduced reagent consumption, the ability to process lower sample volumes containing rare analytes. All these improvements will enable better performance and lower costs. Microfluidic technologies are now able to compete with the gold standards in some sample preparation workflows and are continuously improving. In some cases where gold standards are missing, microfluidic solutions can enable new possibilities. However, there is still a flexibility issue with microfluidic solutions that only address parts of the whole sample preparation workflow most of the time. Only a few fully-integrated microfluidic solutions exist today, as the technology is not completely ready yet: further improvements are still required. In the report, some sample preparation techniques relying on microfluidics are reviewed. The advantages and drawbacks are explained, showing the techniques used and which challenges must still be overcome. Examples of innovative products relying on such microfluidic technologies are also presented in the report. A roadmap will present which technologies are going to be used and which players will support these technologies, for which applications. This technology race is led by numerous acquisitions of innovative startup companies by the major diagnostics players, as generally seen in the IVD field.
These new technologies have the potential to bring major cost reductions
Sample preparation plays a major part in very competitive fields such as Next-Generation Sequencing (NGS). While the race to the $1000 genome is almost over, the cost reductions in sequencing have made sample preparation increasingly important. The race for NGS is now taking place in the sample preparation field, where the workflows are expensive and time-consuming, often demanding hours to days of hands-on time from operators. The automation of such workflows would bring huge cost savings, and microfluidic technologies are well-positioned to address this challenge. This cost reduction opens new opportunities in several applications. The report provides a cost analysis of different NGS sample prep workflows and introduces a scenario with a fully-integrated microfluidic solution. This helps explore the extent to which the costs will be reduced in the mid-term future, the cases in which it will be suitable to automate such workflows, and who will benefit from such solutions when they arrive on the market. This analysis shows that despite the numerous promises brought by microfluidic technologies, numerous improvements are still necessary before they become the gold standard.
Objectives of the Report
- The report provides an overview of the applications in which sample preparation is critical and challenging today, and in which microfluidic technologies have a role to play.
- Microfluidic technologies issues, challenges & roadmap for sample preparation
- The quantification of sample preparation microfluidics markets for Single-Cell, Next-Generation Sequencing and Molecular Diagnostics, with forecasts for the next five years and a detailed analysis of the market trends and drivers.
- Supply chain analysis: Which companies are supporting which technologies for which markets?
- Review of microfluidic technologies for sample preparation in the challenging fields of Single-Cell, Next-Generation Sequencing, and Molecular Diagnostics, with a focus on point-of-care solutions and trace analysis.
- A cost analysis in order to evaluate the potential benefits of microfluidic automation for NGS sample preparation.