Label-free detection is a set of highly sensitive techniques for the detection of endogenous targets in cell assays that eliminates the need for use of reporter labels like dyes, tags, or specialized reagents. Label-free technologies offer the ability to analyze molecular interactions without use of labels or molecular tags, which tend to interfere with the molecular interactions, and may even confound the data due to steric hindrances. Furthermore, label-free techniques allow for small reaction volumes, are much more rapid than conventional techniques, and have higher throughput than conventional techniques. Increasing drug discovery programs by pharmaceutical companies and academic institutes will drive the growth of this market along with the increasing molecular interaction analysis in drug discovery during the forecast period. However, increasing market consolidation and high cost of instruments and consumables will restrain the growth of label-free detection market.
Currently, the adoption of label-free technology is low. However, the adoption of these technologies is expected to increase in the future because of their advantages like higher sensitivity, lower analysis time, and lower recurrent cost for consumables. These advantages are particularly important for high throughput drug discovery research in pharmaceutical companies. Furthermore, increasing R&D budgets of pharmaceutical and biotechnology companies and the increase in pharmaceutical outsourcing are important factors driving the label-free detection market.
The label-free detection market is primarily driven by the increasing number of drug discovery programs. Pharmaceutical and biotechnology companies are increasingly adopting label-free detection technologies for drug-discovery programs. As such, this end-user segment commanded the largest share of the global label-free detection market in 2013. However, the label-free detection market for CROs is expected to grow at the highest rate in the near future owing to increasing trend of pharmaceutical outsourcing. Many core functions such as manufacturing, clinical trial management and drug discovery research are being increasingly outsourced to CROs.
Thelabel-free detection market has multiple product technologies. The patents of most of these technologies are owned by specific market players. For instance, Bio-layer interferometry technology is patented by ForteBio (U.S.). The company has implemented this technology in 96- and 384-well Octet systems that are used for protein-protein and protein-small molecule studies. Furthermore, there are several patent sharing agreements between prominent players in this market for the commercialization of patented technologies. One such instance of an agreement was between PerkinElmer (U.S.) and Corning (U.S.) in 2009. As a result of the agreement in 2011, PerkinElmer launched the EnSpire Multimode Plate Reader with Corning’s Epic label-free technology for drug discovery research. With multiple (and often competing) technologies for label-free detection present in the market, it becomes important to identify the current market size and future market potential for each of them. This information will enable market players to identify key growth areas at this critical growth juncture of this nascent market.
The global label-free detection industry is in the nascent stage, representing significant growth potential. Most of the market players in this market are aiming to either diversify their product portfolios or expand their geographic presence to maintain their market shares. During 2011 to 2014, new product launches was the key strategy followed by major players. For instance, in February 2013, FortBio, a subsidiary of Pall Life Sciences, launched a new Dip and Read Anti-FLAG biosensor for detection of FLAG-tagged proteins on the company’s Octet and BLItz instrumentation systems. This product launch was a key addition to the company’s label-free device portfolio for protein research and drug development. This strategy was mainly adopted by Attana AB (Sweden), BiOptix (U.S.), Corning, Inc. (U.S.), Pall Corporation (U.S.), PerkinElmer (U.S.), and Roche (Switzerland).