1999/2000 US MSPPSA report on DNA Sequencing

224 pages, 194 graphs and tables

Published: December 15, 1999

Price: $2995

U.S. DNA Sequencing Market Heads in New Direction

The latest market research report by PhorTech International provides stunning information concerning the U.S DNA Sequencing market. An extensive analysis of the market for 1998 puts instrument sales at over $300 million. These results can be compared with the situation from the first half of 1999, also included in the report. As far as the future of this market, surprising changes appear to be in store for many sectors and declines are projected in key areas.

The 218 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 US and European surveys. For example, it was found that fewer individuals, now estimated at a core group of around 24,000 individuals, currently use DNA sequencing techniques. In-lab sequencing also now accounts for only a quarter of all raw sequencing data generated in the US. While the amount of automated sequencing work is expected to continue to increase, where and how this work is performed is forecast to change.

A large number of demographic screens, broadened considerably from previous surveys, were used to characterize the more than 500 respondents to the survey. End-users continue to stem from a cross-section of organizational types, now with almost three out of four utilizing some type of service facility for some or all of their sequencing work. For example with researchers based in academia, a whopping 78.8% outsource some or all of their sequencing either to on-site sequencing facilities or off-site sequencing services. Looking at this another way, of our cross-section of respondents, fully 15.0% now report working in a core facility or sequencing service lab, up from 6.0% in our previous report.

These changes reflect a continued centralization of sequencing capability into a relative small number of sequencing factories. A second key movement is seen in the dramatically lower percent change forecast for automated sequencing for the coming year: only a +24.3% weighted increase across all respondents versus +43% measured in our 1997 report and +53% in our 1995 report.

One of the bright notes in the report is the expected future for robotic workstations -- now projected to increase faster than automated sequencers, perhaps due to growing problem of preparing ever larger numbers of samples to feed an expanding number of high capacity automated sequencers in these centralized sequencing factories.

The throughput for all automated sequencers is examined. Summarizing the mean and median throughput, respondents report a current number of templates sequenced per week that is significantly lower than the throughput reported in our previous report, while the average number of bases called has risen slightly and the reported average costs increased significantly. However, due to the lower number of templates being reported, the total bases called per week and the total reagent spend per week have both dropped compared with corresponding values in our previous report.

The comprehensive section on sequencing strategies and methodologies has been expanded this year to provide greater detail regarding current usage. For example, the template throughput for various sequencing strategies is measured for different read lengths beyond primer, and the throughput in templates is measured for in-lab sequencing and sequencing services, separately, for ten of the most common sequencing methodologies. In addition to this more detailed information, the methods utilized for purifying and sequencing templates, labeling methods, and the usage of kits compared to reagents is also examined, as is suppliers' shares for each of six categories of consumables. The throughput for eight specific sequencing enzymes is also examined and compared with previous reports.

All respondents performing DNA sequencing were asked to itemize all manual and automated instruments they owned or operated, providing the brand, model, date acquired, and approximate cost for each unit. A total of 567 manual instruments and 247 automated were uncovered by PhorTech International. This sizable database covers over a decade, and represents over $26 million in sales of itemized instruments. The lions share of the dollars associated with automated sequencers was attributed to instruments from PE Biosystems. The market for thermal cyclers used primarily for cycle sequencing was split with half going to one supplier, a quarter to a second while the remainder was served by remaining suppliers. This represents a change from the picture seen just two years ago and a strengthening of the number two playerFor each type of instrument, respondents were questioned regarding their choice of suppliers, whether they would make the same choice again, and why. Ease of use, cost, and previous experience were major factors for manual sequencers, while group decisions, reputation, performance, throughput, and reliability were most important for the automated instruments. Timely and pertinent insight into customer satisfaction as well as desired improvements in instrumentation and methodologies is provided through hundreds and hundreds of verbatim comments.

Based upon an expanded four-page survey investigating 200 variables, this sequencing report is even larger and more comprehensive than any of our previous studies. Over 194 graphs and tables distill a wealth of data into a clear and salient tool for understanding this complex market. This report is required reading for suppliers interested in evaluating their present market position, identifying their marketing strengths and weaknesses, and developing sustainable competitive advantage.

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