US demand for combinatorial chemistry products and services is set to increase by more than twelve per cent annually to reach $4 billion (€3.7bn) in 2006, according to a new report from market analyst the Freedonia group.
Advances in assays and instruments will spur growth by improving the effectiveness of compound screening and optimisation procedures. In addition, high throughput imaging systems, cell-based assays, synthesis reagents and virtual screening software will generate particularly strong gains based on cost and performance advantages in drug discovery, catalyst development and other product applications, predicts Freedonia.
Mon-pharmaceutical applications in catalysts, polymers and fine chemicals will account for the fastest growth in combinatorial chemistry demand as drug discovery opportunities weaken due to competition from alternative technologies such as biochips.
The report continues that consumables will remain the largest group of combinatorial chemistry products, with demand advancing 14 per cent annually up to 2006.
Advances in genomics and proteomics will have a favourable impact on gains by identifying new drug discovery targets that will boost opportunities for higher value-added small molecule libraries and cell-based assays. More significantly, ongoing improvements in high throughput synthesis and screening systems will create rapid growth opportunities for reagents and controls employed in catalyst, polymer and fine chemical discovery.
Technological advances will also benefit sales of combinatorial chemical instruments by encouraging drug and chemical developers to upgrade research and development capabilities through the addition of high value-added imaging systems, bench top synthesisers and robotic processing equipment. As a result, combined demand for combinatorial chemistry instruments will increase by nine per cent annually, continues Freedonia.
The increasing complexity of combinatorial chemistry procedures and related measurements will boost opportunities for complementary software. Programs for virtual library screening, lead optimisation and integrated data analysis will see the fastest gains in demand based on contributions to cost and performance efficiency, especially in catalyst and polymer applications.
The design and technical support of in-house synthesis and screening systems will account for the largest share of service revenues. However, contract services involving the creation of compound libraries and the implementation of high throughput screening will generate faster growth opportunities as outsourcing of research activities expands among drug and chemical companies.