Yole: Infectious diseases will be best market for on-site diagnostics, but development will take some time still

Contributed by Frédéric Breussin, Project Manager, Microfluidics, Yole Développement

Despite its exciting potential, point-of-care diagnostics has yet to develop into the big market many expected. Testing for infectious diseases now looks like the most promising markets, as companies develop more sophisticated integrated systems that go beyond simple immunoassays to molecular diagnostics at reasonable cost.

Medical and life science applications for MEMS devices saw an estimated 14% growth in 2009 to become a $1 billion market for the first time in 2009, making these bio markets the third largest application for MEMS devices, right behind the consumer and automotive markets, according to Yole Développement estimates. Biomedical demand should jump to $2.3 billion by 2012, driven largely by diagnostic microfluidics. Today, point of care diagnostics represents 15% of the In-Vitro-Diagnostics market and has shown a tremendous growth over the last 3 years. This market share is expected to exceed 30% by 2014. Key driver for growth will be bringing fast, low cost testing to high volumes of users at the point of care but only if developers of the technology focus on the right volume markets with real benefit to specific purchasers, and bring together disparate technologies into integrated systems for simple, low cost tests. …

Point of care applications

The first issue is finding the real markets, where a point of care solution really matters enough to some purchaser to drive demand. Obvious as this sound, it has actually proved quite difficult to find the right mix of need, volume and cost to break into the complex established medical infrastructure. The compelling advantage of true point-of-care diagnostics is of course fast results, right where they’re needed, where getting test results in minutes in an emergency can enable immediate critical treatment of things like heart attack, stroke, drug overdose, or sepsis, and cost is not a major issue. There are, however, only a handful of these critical applications, and most turn out not to be huge markets, typically generating demand of under 500,000 units year. …

To get the complete article, please read MEMS Trends magazine on www.i-micronews.com, MEMS section

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