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2004/2005 US MSPPSA report on HPLC Column Usage in the Life Science Research Market
183 pages, 132 graphs and tables
Published: March 12, 2004
Traditional HPLC Suppliers Ignore Burgeoning Life Science Research Segment
To understand the dynamics in this challenging and under-served business segment, you need the insightful analysis found in PhorTech International's new report: HPLC Column Usage in the Life Science Research Market. Based entirely upon in-depth interviews of more than 350 bioresearchers currently using HPLC, this report provides a fresh and detailed look at column usage by the estimated 32,000 US life science researchers currently using HPLC techniques. Spending a conservative estimate of $80 million annually on these columns alone, these researchers represent an important and growing segment of the total HPLC marketplace - and one that has been poorly served by traditional HPLC suppliers.
Traditional HPLC suppliers focus on the routine analysis of small organic molecules - performed largely in traditional pharmaceutical industry. In contrast, life science researchers using HPLC and FPLC techniques, on both preparative and analytical scales, can be found across the broad spectrum of research organizations that foster bioresearch, including hospitals and medical schools, biotechnology and pharmaceutical industry, public and private institutions of higher learning, numerous government agencies, and private research foundations.
While traditional HPLC suppliers offer primarily reversed phase columns for the separation of small organic molecules, life science researchers use these techniques primarily for the analysis of protein and peptide samples. In addition, researchers have adapted these high performance techniques for the analysis of an incredibly broad range of analytes, including nucleic acids, amino acids, organic acids, carbohydrates, organic polymers, and inorganic ions, among others.
Life scientists encompass wide ranging interests and have backgrounds in an astonishing breadth of fields, as shown in the horizontal bar chart above. This certainly increases demands upon the application support requirements for successful suppliers. Drug discovery applications are just one among many worthwhile application areas, and successful suppliers have to be able to communicate with researchers with backgrounds as diverse as nutrition, toxicology, chemistry, and neuroscience.
Life science researchers purchase 5 new columns a year, on average, with a respective median and mean spend of $2,000 and $4,444 per researcher annually, not to mention the considerable instrumentation necessary to run these columns.
Most astonishing to us, was the realization that Waters and Agilent Technologies, the two giants among HPLC suppliers, together account for just 10.6% of all sales of HPLC columns to this market. In contrast, Amersham Bioscience and Bio-Rad Laboratories account for nearly half the sales, with remaining 40 suppliers accounting for the remainder.
The full report analyzes in great detail the column requirements for this market, including preferred column packings, column dimensions, separation scale, frequency of use, sources of supply, the use of refilled columns, and more.
A variety of customer satisfaction measurements are made for leading vendors of HPLC columns. Respondents were asked to explain why they chose the suppliers they did, how satisfied they were with the columns they purchased, and how they would rate leading suppliers specifically in the areas of best value for money, easiest handling, best technical support, and best refill service. Specific comments regarding desired improvements in performance were requested and 253 verbatim comments were collated, along with each respondent's current supplier. Finally, respondents were asked to itemize the new developments in HPLC columns and/or instrumentation they would most like to see for the future. The hundreds of suggestions provide a roadmap for the supplier interested in increasing their success in this business.
This report is PhorTech's fourth report covering the HPLC market. This latest analysis brings a fresh perspective to this complex business. You have just seen 5 of the graphs from this report. More than 100 additional graphs and tables are available that distill a wealth of data into a clear and salient tool for understanding this 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 competitive advantage.