1995/6 U.S. MSPPSA report on DNA Amplification

113 pages, 81 graphs and tables

Published: January 10, 1996

Price: $2295

Nearly 54% of U.S. life science researchers, over 45,000 individuals, use DNA amplification techniques. Our detailed analysis of the market for 1995 puts combined instrument and reagent sales at over $116 million, with thermal cyclers contributing $35 million and thermostable enzymes the remainder.

The 113 page study, which forms part of PhorTech's MSPPSA series, examines the installed base of thermal cyclers and estimates the consumption of thermostable enzymes. The top three models of thermal cyclers, Perkin Elmer 9600 and 480, along with the MJ Research PTC-100 have not changed since 1993. Perkin Elmer is also the clear leader for enzymes as well. Taq is used by almost all respondents followed distantly by Vent and Pfu. These researchers were for the most part molecular biologists with a moderate degree of experience, working primarily in academia.

Customer satisfaction ratings are produced for suppliers of thermal cyclers and enzymes. Perkin Elmer's leading market position for its instruments appears to have more to do with its reputation for reliability than for any licensing concerns. However, when respondents were asked about their satisfaction with their thermal cycler, underdog MJ Research as well as Biometra scored higher than our leader. Many suppliers performed especially poorly, perhaps pointing to the fact that amplification is not their focus. In addition, rankings were produced for 5 key areas: ease of use, reliable quality, innovation, value, flexibility and commitment to DNA amplification. Perkin Elmer excels in all but one category - value for money - which is common to market leaders. MJ Research takes the top spot for value and a strong second to PE for all other categories. Hybaid also turns in a good performance overall.

In terms of enzyme sales, reliability and quality were the most often cited reasons for choosing a supplier. Dissatisfaction has been felt by a moderate portion of respondents, with one major supplier receiving the most negative citations. However, as they also had a high number of positive citations, their overall rating was still acceptable. PE and Stratagene both had extremely high satisfaction ratings. PE continues as a thermostable enzyme leader in terms of the five key areas, but is beaten badly by Promega in the area of value. Two well-known suppliers do not perform satisfactorily in the area of purity, a criterion that seems crucial to achieving success in this market.

Specific suggestions for improvements of existing techniques are provided as verbatim comments, the most common being speed of cycling times, eliminating the us of oil overlays and improving programming flexibility for thermal cyclers. The requests for enzymes included price, stability and fidelity. This report chronicles many shifts and changes, and should be required reading for any supplier wishing to have a serious impact in this tough market.

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