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Multiplexed Protein Assay Market Expands Breadth and Depth according to PhorTech International


2009/2010 U.S. MSPPSA report on Multiplexed Protein Assay Systems

319 pages, 184 graphs and tables

Published: October 8, 2009

Price: $4995


Multiplexed Protein Assay Market Expands in Breadth and Depth

Based upon more than 480 responses to an in-depth, web-based survey, conducted in mid-2009, a new PhorTech report reveals the stunning usefulness of multiplexed protein assays as exemplified not only in the wide range of application areas, but also in the wealth of protein classes and research activities.


This sampling of a wide cross-section of North American life science researchers from a variety of disciplines, representing over 250 different organizations includes bioresearchers currently running assays themselves and those analyzing results from a commercial service while others plan to start multiplexing protein assays in the next 18 months. Careful analysis of this data provides a complete picture of current usage of this technique, primarily in the lab but also by commercial services, and identifies future trends in usage. The conclusions are presented in the comprehensive 300-page study entitled ‘Multiplex Protein Assay Systems’, the latest report in the PhorTech MSPPSA series.


We estimate that these results reflect the work of over 16,000 North American bioresearchers currently using this technology. With annual sales of multiplex platforms rising through 2008, placements per year are typically estimated to be in the range of 300 to 500 units. From the instrument platforms used for multiplexed protein assays and year of acquisition, not only is the growth of platform sales tracked, but also expansion for two major companies, identified by the share of the units reported. From this data, unit market shares reveal the major players and the most popular models of multiplexed protein assay platforms from three different companies. Analysis software is also examined separately, revealing the most frequently mentioned brands, and to some extent, the most prevalent programs.



A simple query regarding the annual expenditure for assay kits associated with multiplexed protein assays is just the beginning of the examination of this market sector. From this, the annual spend per researcher, as well as for core and non-core laboratories is quantified. The North American assay kit market, with projected sales of $112.57 million annually distributed across 50 different suppliers, is characterized in detail. Applying dollar market shares for major players to the extrapolated market size produces annual sales estimates for nine major suppliers which are consistent with published sales figures. In addition, annual dollar sales volume estimates for assay kits purchased for each of the eleven most prominent application areas are also calculated.


Further evaluation of market shares for assay kits purchased for the three top application areas show that two suppliers dominate the cancer biomarker assay kit market. In contrast, kits for inflammation (cytokine/chemokine) applications and cell signaling or signal transduction applications are more diverse with numerous suppliers vying for market share.



Current methodology is examined in detail beginning with the measured throughput of samples per week overall, and for each application. The species of samples analyzed by North American bioresearchers are also appraised, along with the kinds of samples, the kinds of multiplexed protein arrays, and, if applicable, the type of positional arrays in use.



In addition, open-ended responses describe the main reason for using multiplexed protein assays. Suppliers seeking to effectively promote the value of these assays should be able to utilize the perceived benefits revealed in these comments. The subsequent presentation of how well this technique has fulfilled these reasons provides an initial measure of researchers’ satisfaction with multiplexed protein assays.


A Sampling of the Verbatim Comments Describing Reasons for Using Multiplexed Protein Assays & Satisfaction with the Results/Benefits Realized

Main Reason for Using Multiplexed Protein Assays


Speed, throughput, better than other formats

A quantum level improvement

Multiplexing saves time and sample, which is crucial for i.e. in vivo samples (Xenografts) or precious antibodies.

Analysis can be tricky, often correction methods (normalization) are necessary, sometimes signal to noise issues

Get results quickly

As the first screening, it is OK. Need single-plex ELISA to make sure the results obtained from multiplexed assays.

Because the limitations in my sample volumes and the need to reduce time and costs, multiplexed protein assay allow us to test many analytes at one time.

Comparing to the conventional ELISA, multiplex test is reliable and only one or a few samples at a time, reducing the throughput of the assay.

Improve prognostic power over single protein assay

Continuing problems with nonspecific binding / cross-reactivity / low target concentration.

We use multiplexed protein assays to measure host cytokine responses to microbial pathogens and agricultural chemicals.

Generally yes. The major benefit of using multiplex protein assays is that it allows us to examine various aspects of host responses based on a single set of samples, and thus helps reduce the number of experimental animals required and work load.

High throughput

High false positives, but reasonable recognition of novel targets

Convenience of multiple measurements; small sample size being analyzed

Intra- and inter-assay variability too great; quality of antibodies that are multiplexed drifts

Screen for multiple endpoints in valuable samples - protein biomarkers

Mixed feelings - results not as confident as ELISA

To assess complex protein expression level in the brain of Alzheimer's disease patients and relevant animal models

No, sensitivity is a huge problem for us as well as difficulty with reproducibility, especially with postmortem brain samples.

Efficiency; You get results for multiple analytes in the same time as it takes to get results for a single target. Cost. The price of a multiple analyte plate is not proportional to the number of analytes determined per plate.

Somewhat. Everything is a compromise. The dilution of a sample which is necessary to enable optimal assay of one analyte may not be optimal for another analyte on the plate.

As a broad basis to look at proteins that can then be validated by more specific and more sensitive assays such as ELISA

The assays are often insensitive and buffered in a way that diminishes the analysis of certain proteins. Concentration ranges for individual cytokines are often inappropriate. Lots of individual well problems which is difficult to compensate for as the idea of multiplexing is to run experiments in singles. As a broad based screen it is good but as a stand alone set of data it should be treated with caution.

It saves time and money compared to the traditional ELISA.

Well, it is not perfect because we are STILL having trouble with lot-to-lot consistency, but it is still better than the ELISA. No question there. We just couldn't do the work we do with an ELISA.


We also asked respondents the reason behind selecting their assay kit supplier. From these verbatim comments, fifteen themes are identified. Linking these themes with the supplier reveals significant variations in the main reasons researchers select each of three major suppliers.


Satisfaction with assay kit suppliers is based on whether there were any consumable suppliers from which they refused to buy. From responses to this, we can calculate satisfaction rates for each major assay kit supplier and discern problem areas for each. Asking a similar question about instrumentation shows that respondents appeared to be unified in their satisfaction with instrument platforms.


The open-ended responses to a separate more general query highlights suggested areas of improvement to multiplexed protein assays, in general, and more specifically, to instrument platforms. Reading these comments is equivalent to spending weeks of time in the field with end-users and provides essential insight for companies in this field.


As an extension of our presentation of historical growth and current markets, anticipated future usage of multiplexed protein assays is examined in detail. As shown next, nearly half of the current users describing their anticipated change in sample throughput and plex level in their own words indicate that they intend to increase their volume of samples in the near future.



Further queries identify future plans to add new protein targets, new applications and associated suppliers under consideration, and whether respondents are considering using a different assay methodology. The possibility of drilling down from a high to low-content array or vice versa, and the reasons for considering this are also presented in this report.


The likelihood of a repeat/replacement instrument purchase and brands under consideration is also studied. Of the sixteen different companies mentioned, this reveals which manufacturers are likely to maintain or increase their share of this market. 


In addition, current users were asked to identify multiplexed protein assay product suppliers they were familiar with from a list of 36 companies and subsequently, select the highest rated company for each of seven factors they consider important when selecting a product supplier. This analysis shows the relative importance of the following nine factors in manufacturer selection: Affordability/value for money, Minimal hands-on time, Time to result, Selection of available assays, Application-specific assay panels, Multiplexing factor, User-friendliness/ease of use, Ease of ordering, Sensitivity/low signal to noise, Consistent quality/reproducibility, Reputation of supplier, Dynamic range of the assay, Assay specificity/cross reactivity or an optional ‘other’ factor. It also identifies the highest ranked supplier for each. These ratings are invaluable both for companies to measure their own performance as well as to discover areas of weakness for their major competitors that can be used to obtain competitive advantage.


Responses from researchers not currently using multiplexed protein assays but planning to start in the near future suggest that the population of bioresearchers using multiplexed protein assays is expected to increase to over 20,000 by mid-2011. Verbatim comments describing the likelihood of purchasing a new instrument, application areas and the number of protein targets likely to be analyzed by new users will point companies towards areas likely to expand so that companies can focus their efforts.

This report is undoubtedly the most comprehensive analysis of the current market for multiplexed protein assays in North America. Enhanced by over 260 graphs and tables, this study provides a penetrating analysis of the current methodology and future expectations. This report should be considered essential reading for anyone seriously intending to succeed in this competitive area.

The 84 companies mentioned in the report are identified in the following table.

Companies Sited in Multiplexed Protein Assay Market Report

Abd Serotec

Affymetrix (Panomics)

Applied Biosystems

ArrayIt Corporation

Assay Designs, Inc.

Aushon BioSystems

Bachem, Inc

BD Biosciences/Pharmingen


Beckman Coulter

BioArray Solutions

BioGene Ltd

Biomedical Diagnostics (BMD)

Bio-Rad Laboratories

BioTek Instruments

Caliper Life Sciences

Capital Biosciences


Cell Signaling Technology/CST







Full Moon Biosystems, Inc

GE Healthcare (Amersham)


Gentel Biosciences

GraphPad Software, Inc

Hypromatrix, Inc

Illumina, Inc

IDS/Immunodiagnostic Systems

INDOOR Biotechnologies Inc


INOVA Diagnostics

Inverness Med Profl Diag (& subsidiaries)

IVGN/LTI (Gibco, BioSource)

Kinexus Bioinformatics Corporation

Kodak Imaging



Luminex Corporation

Marligen Biosci/OriGene


Meso Scale Discovery

Millipore Corp (Linco,Upstate)

MiraiBio (Hitachi)

Molecular Devices/MDS

Multimetrix GmbH

New England Biolabs

Nonlinear Dynamics

Nordic Biosciences

One Lambda


Primorigen Biosciences



Proteome Sciences


Quansys Biosciences

Quest Diagnostics

R & D Systems


RayBiotech, Inc

Roche Applied Sciences


Rules-Based Medicine Inc

SABiosciences (formerly SuperArray)

Santa Cruz Biotechnology




Stratagene (Agilent)



Tepnel LifeCodes

Thermo Fisher Scientific

Thermo Fisher Scientific (Pierce, Fisher)

US Biomax, Inc.




Zeus Scientific

Original press release for this reportSee original press release for this report in Adobe Acrobat format.

Detailed contents, methodology, demographics, and questionnaire for this reportSee detailed contents, methodology, demographics, and questionnaire for this report in Adobe Acrobat format.

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