1997/8 U.S. MSPPSA report on DNA Sequencing
207 pages, 198 graphs and tables
Published: June 6, 1997
A new market research report by PhorTech International provides surprising details concerning the U.S. DNA Sequencing market. An extensive analysis of the market for 1996 puts instrument sales at over $170 million, with automated sequencers contributing an impressive $145 million. As far as the future of this market, growth appears very healthy for some sectors but virtually stalled for others. While the amount of automated sequencing work is expected to continue increasing dramatically, forecast placements of new sequencers are more conservative.
The 208 page study, which forms part of PhorTech's MSPPSA series, examines the installed base of sequencing instrumentation and software, and quantifies the consumption of sequencing reagents. The report assesses the attitudes and expectations of a cross-section of researchers in the US, and compares the results with previous U.S. and European surveys. It was found that roughly two out of three U.S. life science researchers, over 62,100 individuals, use DNA sequencing techniques, a significant increase since the last examination of the market in 1995.
A large number of demographic screens, broadened considerably from previous surveys, were used to characterize respondents and the nature of the sequencing they performed. End-users stemmed primarily from academia, with almost half utilizing some type of service facility. The report also provides differentiation between researchers in core facilities and those using a sequencing service. These groups prove increasingly important in determining the future behavior in this complex market.
A comprehensive section on sequencing methodologies includes an analysis of throughput, sequencing strategies, the degree to which various templates are used, and the methods for purifying and sequencing templates. When queried about the size of their weekly sequencing output, researchers most often reported 1-5 kb weekly, with the number of megabase-sized projects dropping. Users of automated sequencers were interrogated regarding alternative uses for their instruments and their preferred labeling methods.
All respondents performing DNA sequencing were asked to itemize all manual and automated instruments, robotic workstations, and sequence analysis software they owned or operated, providing the brand, model, date acquired, and approximate cost for each unit. A total of 977 manual instruments and 372 automated were uncovered by PhorTech International. This sizable database covers over a decade, worth over $23 million in sales. The huge dollar share associated with automated sequencers was attributed almost completely to instruments from Perkin Elmer's Applied Biosystems Division. The market for robotic workstations also went primarily to one strong supplier, while manual sequencers and analysis software seem to be more evenly divided between several competitors.
To track the recent boom in cycle sequencing, a new section was added to examine the market for thermal cyclers. The leader in this area, Perkin Elmer, dominates completely, even compared to some highly respected suppliers. However, one of these companies does seem to be gaining on the market leader in the most recent view of the market.
For each type of instrument, respondents were questioned regarding their choice of suppliers, whether they would make the same choice again, and why. Cost and previous experience were major factors for manual sequencers, while accuracy, quality and reliability were most important for the automated instruments. Satisfaction rates were sub-standard for manual sequencers, but the leading suppliers performed well when ranked for value, ease of use and quality.
Automated sequencer suppliers were ranked based upon the above categories as well as field service, innovation, instrument throughput, running costs, and commitment to the field. PE/ABI is the clear market leader with one glaring weak spot. Another supplier has lost considerable ground since the last U.S. survey in 1995, and is in danger of being displaced by a company many had written off.
Timely and pertinent insight into customer satisfaction as well as desired improvements in instrumentation and methodologies is provided through more than a thousand verbatim comments.
Based upon an expanded four-page survey, this sequencing report
is 33% larger and more comprehensive than previous studies. Over
175 graphs and tables distill a wealth of data into a clear and
salient tool for understanding this complex market. This report
should be considered required reading for suppliers interested
in evaluating their present market position, identifying their
marketing strengths and weaknesses, and developing sustainable
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