Alternative to electronics; analyst forecasts growth in microfluidics

June 11, 2013 // By Graham Prophet
How will microfluidics applications change the material mix and quadruple the microfluidic device market in the next five years? “Microfluidic applications in the pharmaceutical, life sciences, in vitro diagnostic and medical device markets”, a new report from market researchers Yole Développement, gives an insight

“The microfluidic device market will grow swiftly, from $1.4B in 2013 to $5.7B by 2018”, according to Benjamin Roussel, Technology & Market Analyst, Microfluidics & Medical Technologies at Yole Développement, “This impressive 27% growth will be fueled mainly by pharmaceutical research and point-of-care applications”.

Facing new challenges, the healthcare industry is currently moving toward personalised medicine. In this context, the line between traditional markets (pharmaceutical and in vitro diagnostic markets) has blurred. More than ever, rapid, accurate tests are needed to increase pharmaceutical research yield and better monitor/cure patients.

By offering innovative solutions, microfluidic technologies have successfully managed to fill the gap. Microfluidic devices can be produced either by pure microfluidics fabs or in-house by fully integrated players. After revealing the top 15 pure microfluidic fab players, the report looks at the “hidden” market linked to in-house production.

These microfluidic devices can either be used directly for some applications (analytical devices, flow chemistry, etc.) or must be completed by reagents/biological content. The distinction between the microfluidic device market (first-level package device) and the microfluidic technology-based test market has also been calculated.

Today, microfluidic devices are widely accepted in several applications. Nevertheless, the advantages and motivations for adopting microfluidic technologies are highly-dependent on the targeted application. For example, the added value of microfluidic devices in point-of-care applications depends on the associated small volume of necessary reagents, low-cost disposables and high sensibility. Conversely, the advantages for pharmaceutical research applications are to allow process automation and multiplexed assays.

This report provides a market segmentation covering the following applications: general dispensing - drug delivery - accurate dispensing - analytical devices - clinical and veterinary diagnostics - point-of-care testing - industrial and environmental testing - pharmaceutical and life science - microreaction technology.

Each application is presented with market data, trends/drivers, key players and technologies used.

Recent changes in the material mix provide new opportunities for polymer and silicon

Different materials are used to manufacture microfluidic