Liquid chromatography on the up in US

By Katrina Megget

- Last updated on GMT

Related tags Biochemistry Protein Molecule

The US market for liquid chromatography is looking 'very
promising', according to a new report.

Released by Frost & Sullivan, the report titled US Liquid Chromatography Markets, estimates the market revenue for the technology, used extensively throughout the drug discovery and development process, could reach just over $1bn (€737m) in 2013.

Liquid chromatography is an analytical technique that separates ions or molecules that have been dissolved in a solvent and has been increasingly used for drug discovery, manufacturing and production applications, and quality assessment of pharmaceutical products.

According to the report, the increased uptake of the technology, especially in life science applications, would account for the majority of the growth in the liquid chromatography market, which sat at $596.3m last year.

"The need to separate small molecule compounds and biomolecules for research and commercial purposes has prompted users to look at liquid chromatography as a reliable method for analytical separation of complex mixtures," Frost & Sullivan research analyst Shankar Sellappan said in a statement.

"The market outlook is very positive for liquid chromatography products through 2013, as investments in this approach continue to be made."

In particular, the need to develop drugs quickly, inexpensively, and uniformly, and the emergence of biologic-based drugs had been the driving force in making liquid chromatography an attractive choice for the pharma industry.

But there was a lack of competing technologies that could achieve the same success as liquid chromatography meaning the technology could be cemented in the market place for some time, the report said.

Originally confined to being a research tool, liquid chromatography has since grown due to its application in the pharma industry, which has created demand for instruments of higher resolution power that can handle larger volumes of samples and lend themselves to constant use.

Likewise, there has been a concomitant growth experienced by market participants that provide columns, resins, and other consumables needed in liquid chromatography, the report said.

"One of the reasons why liquid chromatography is so sought after as a separations methodology is that it provides a greater level of efficiency in the processing of high volumes of samples," Sellappan said.

"Resin particles that are less than two microns in size offer significant efficiency and cost benefits, but manufacturing these smaller particles as well as ensuring their quality and homogeneity are a considerable challenge."

The report also warned the demand for liquid chromatography products in the US may be affected by the move to have manufacturing facilities outside the country, such as in Puerto Rico or India.

Other challenges noted were the need for constant innovation in the liquid chromatography industry to expand capabilities and create opportunities in newer applications in order to maintain the growth which is expected to be seen over the next few years.

Improvements in the systems to date were a result of increased knowledge of the molecular properties that can be exploited for separation.

"The flexibility of liquid chromatography is a testament to the industry for developing products that can be exploited for analytical separation.

Although the liquid chromatography market is led by a few major participants, opportunities for smaller companies do exist and the needs of different types of end users will continue to drive participation from new companies," Sellappan said.

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