Healthcare Technology Featured Article

July 22, 2015

Lux Research: Microfluidics in Healthcare to Reach $4 Billion in 2020

Microfluidics is a discipline that actually encompasses a wide variety of separate disciplines ranging from engineering to biology to even biotechnology. It's not a particularly old field—reports suggest it got its start in the 1980s—but it has been put to use on a wide number of fronts. According to a new report from Lux Research, microfluidics in healthcare is set for some impressive growth, hitting $4 billion by 2020.

The end number alone is pretty impressive, but the study—titled “Health Care Microfluidics Value Chain: A Story of Growing Pains”—brought out plenty more impressive tidbits from there. The market is reportedly set to grow at a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 13 percent to 2020, and dominating the market would be chip developers and device integrators. Device integrators, in fact, were set to capture fully half of the market's profits, as such firms not only designed devices, but also offered manufacturing and completed devices. Materials suppliers would take about a quarter of the market at 24 percent, and the remaining market was set to be split among design services, manufacturing concerns and sensing solutions.

Perhaps even more telling was the projection that the point-of-care (POC) market would triple in that time frame, approaching the $1 billion mark. That's a CAGR of 20 percent, as portable diagnostics solutions with a particular focus on infectious diseases and lifestyle-based conditions were set to drive growth in that field. Drugs—both discovery and formulation—will prove to be a major use of the microfluidics market, reportedly accounting for $1.2 billion itself in 2020.

Lux Research analyst and the report's lead author Milos Todorovic offered up some comment on the release, saying “Microfluidics has numerous potential applications in health care, including drug discovery, formulation, and delivery, as well as life sciences research. However, POC diagnostics is going to be the biggest opportunity for microfluidics, with markets in the developing world providing the greatest growth.”

It's not surprising that big growth would be projected in this market, especially given that there are so many applications for microfluidics in healthcare. Simple, single-use devices that can replace huge pieces of lab equipment, diagnostic systems at the POC, even in-vitro diagnostic systems become possible in this field. When it's possible to replace huge, capital expense-intensive hardware with simple, single-use material, the demand for such applications should skyrocket in developing nations, which further drives total market demand. Even developed nations might be able to get behind reducing expenses by ditching the bulky lab equipment and replacing it with simple, single-use material. When a market has several potential profit vectors across several different markets, it's not hard to suggest that the entire market will rise as most of the potential profit sources prove to be profitable.

Lux Research certainly seems to have a reasonable basis for suggesting big gains afoot in the healthcare microfluidics market. Even if the numbers don't go quite Lux Research's way, the end result is likely to pan out well, and that could mean some very big changes in the healthcare market as we know it today.

Edited by Dominick Sorrentino

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