The Total Addressable Market (TAM) for Liquid Handling System was valued at USD 4.18 billion in 2022. It is estimated to reach an expected value of USD 6.37 billion by 2031, registering a CAGR of 4.8% during the forecast period (2023-20231).
Automated liquid handling systems and high-throughput screening applications are now widely used in drug discovery. Most significant market players have been moving toward automated liquid handling systems. The rising investment in research and drug discovery is expected to increase the demand for liquid handling systems. The significant factors for the market growth include the rising investment in research and drug development, increasing demand for high-throughput screening, and technological advancements in automated liquid handling systems.
Increasing Demand for High-throughput Screening
High-Throughput Screening (HTS) is an automated process that can rapidly identify active compounds, antibodies, or genes. The results provide starting points for drug design and understanding the interaction or role of identified biochemical processes in biology. HTS is used to test small molecules in the drug discovery process, which further identifies those seeking treatment for chronic conditions, such as cancer, HIV, and heart disease. The prevalence of these conditions has been increasing worldwide, resulting in the demand for HTS products. The increase in chronic diseases has led to an increase in the need for drug availability. HTS in the drug discovery process uses automation to quickly assess the biological or biochemical activity of large amounts of drug-like compounds. It helps detect ligands receptors, enzymes, ion channels, or other pharmaceutical targets.
When responding to new infectious diseases for which there are no specific medications or vaccines on the market, the effectiveness of the HTS screening strategy can quickly uncover drug leads with clinical potential. The search for pharmacological treatment for coronavirus disease has also been fueled by open access to HTS laboratories. Recently, it was discovered that combining high-throughput screening, virtual screening, and structure-based drug design was an effective way to find antiviral leads for COVID-19. In European countries, EU-open-screen, the European counterpart of the United States National Institute of Health initiative, has also been working on getting open access to all European organizations involved in chemical biology. The association of HTS centers has also been emerging, aimed at sharing valuable information about the compound or target or the whole process. Open access provides a better platform for knowledge sharing and can help optimize the entire process, which may drive the demand for HTS technology among end users. The increasing HTS demand increases the automated process that helps drug development and liquid handling systems' usage. It is expected to boost the market growth in the forecast period.
Rising Investment in Drug Development and Research
Pharmaceutical companies' expenditure on research and development has increased over the years. For instance, Pfizer spent USD 7,690 million on research and development in 2015, which increased to USD 9,405 million in 2020. Additionally, according to the research article published in Molecules, 2020, between 2015–2019, the US Food Drug Administration (FDA) authorized a total of 208 new drugs (150 new chemical entities and 58 biologics), 15 of which were peptides or peptide-containing molecules, showing the vast number of drugs that are being developed increasing the usage of liquid handling systems.
According to a study published in BioPharma Trend 2020, the pharmaceutical industry has seen a rapid advancement in artificial intelligence for drug discovery. This development is anticipated to increase the high investment in R & D activities for finding new drug targets. Additionally, biotech investors have been investing heavily in AI-based drug discovery methods and expanding the use of automated liquid handling systems. They are becoming more and more optimistic about the potential of artificial intelligence in the field of drug discovery. Most investors are now inclined to invest in drug discovery research and development due to the many breakthrough innovations of highly effective drugs against various chronic diseases. As a result, pharmaceutical companies have increased their investment in drug development and research, which has increased the use of liquid handling systems worldwide.
Lack of Skilled Labor in Developing Countries
Shortage of skilled professionals negatively impacts the market studied because laboratories across pharmaceutical and biotechnology industries work with smaller liquid volumes and more complex multipart tests, including serial dilution protocols and polymerase chain reaction (PCR) assays, where inaccuracies of just one microliter can be detrimental. As microliter quantities are more sensitive to volume variation, operator variability can significantly alter research results. Multiple reasons contribute to the shortage of skilled professionals in the market studied. There needs to be more knowledge about professional lab opportunities since relatively few people know about the variety of career options available in the medical field in developing countries. All such factors hamper the market growth.
Technological Advancements in Automated Liquid Handling Systems
Automation has empowered modern science laboratories by dealing with critical aspects of speed, accuracy, precision, and efficiency. Rapid and repetitive liquid handling is often the key to scientific health or drug discovery testing. Therefore, automated liquid handling devices that deliver precision and speed for small volumes of reagents are essential. Companies continually innovate to bring new products in line with consumer requirements based on the needs and challenges of specific research applications. Critical criteria driving continued improvement include fluid type, volume range, nature of the liquid being handled, the scale of use, accuracy, and rate of dispensing. Other focus areas include addressing hurdles, such as problematic disposable tips, non-independent channel spreading, and restricted platforms.
Automated liquid handling systems have already been doing a lot of work for researchers efficiently and have been booming quickly. In January 2019, Formulatrix launched the next generation of liquid handlers based on a unique microfluidic, positive-displacement technology called the FLO I8 Liquid Handler. This takes liquid level detection and tracking to the next level with sensors that enable dynamic liquid level tracking without a prior definition of labware well profiles. Modern liquid handling systems have made significant advancements in low-volume accuracy and precision, which do more than increase experimental results' confidence. Workflows are becoming smaller and more efficient thanks to the ability to manipulate fluids at the nanoliter or even picolitre scale. The advancements and technological developments in automated liquid handling systems boost the market growth.
The global liquid handling system market is segmented by type, product, application, end-user, and region.
By type, the global liquid handling system market is segmented into manual liquid handling, automated liquid handling, and semi-automated liquid handling. The automated liquid handling segment market share is estimated to grow at a CAGR of 5.5% during the forecast period. Automating liquid handling, in particular, will improve the performance of high-throughput laboratories cost-effectively. The automated liquid handling instruments reduce the time spent on repetitive pipetting tasks at any throughput level. These automated liquid handlers are small enough to fit on a lab bench and in biosafety cabinets, anaerobic chambers, and standard fume hoods. The automated liquid handlers' compact size and open design make it simple to integrate them with various add-ons, including heating and cooling nests, incubators, magnetic bead nests, automatable centrifuges, microplate readers, and more. Thus, these advanced features of automated liquid handling systems are expected to fuel the segment's growth. Thus, the factors mentioned above are expected to aid in the steady growth of the studied market.
By product, the global liquid handling system market is segmented into automated workstations, pipettes, dispensers, burettes, and other products. The automated workstations segment accounted for the largest market share and is estimated to grow at a CAGR of 8.3% during the forecast period. Automated workstations are increasingly used in laboratories to improve performance and productivity. Automating experimental procedures, traditionally done by scientists, can help increase reproducibility and throughput. The controlled robotic movement also helps minimize any variation in manual techniques from different personnel. Modular workstations can be further customized to suit a particular application, such as sample preparation for genomics, proteomics, cellular analysis, and more. Biology research labs and drug development labs are among the laboratories that have limited sample contamination and free up personnel to do other tasks using a multipurpose liquid-handling automated workstation. The increased level of automation in the research laboratories and the rising trend of product launches by prominent players are expected to drive the growth of the studied segment.
By application, the global liquid handling system market is segmented into drug discovery, cancer and genomics research, clinical diagnostics, and other applications. The drug discovery segment dominated the market and is estimated to grow at a CAGR of 8.3% during the forecast period. The growing burden of chronic disease across the globe led to increased research and development activities by pharmaceutical and biotechnology companies to discover novel therapeutics, which is expected to drive the growth of the studied segment.
By end user, the global liquid handling system market is segmented into the pharmaceutical and biotechnology industry, contract research organizations, academic institutes, and other end users. The pharmaceutical and biotechnology industry segment dominated the market and is estimated to grow at a CAGR of 8.3% during the forecast period. The growing demand for the development of novel therapeutics in the treatment of various chronic illnesses is driving the use of various advanced liquid handling systems by pharmaceutical and biotechnology companies in drug discovery, which is expected to aid in the growth of the market studied.
By region, the global liquid handling system market is segmented into North America, Europe, Asia Pacific, Middle East & Africa, and South America
North America dominated the market share and is estimated to grow at a CAGR of 6.7% during the forecast period. The United States leads the world in terms of research and development spending in life sciences, pharmaceuticals, and analytical chemistry. It is among the largest markets for bulk drugs and finished dosage formulations, for which liquid handling systems are used for drug production. As liquid handling systems are used extensively in drug discovery, cancer research, and clinical diagnostics, these industries' growth is expected to impact the market positively. Other factors, such as an increase in infectious and chronic diseases, investments by major companies, and a higher number of products launched by market players, are expected to boost market growth.
Europe is the second largest region. It is estimated to reach an expected value of USD 2160 million by 2031, registering a CAGR of 6.5%. The German healthcare system provides patients with access to technologically advanced products, and it is a high-focus market for most diagnostic manufacturers. High government investment, a rise in the prevalence of chronic and infectious diseases, and growing product launches are some of the growth factors driving the market. Cardiovascular diseases, infectious diseases, such as COVID-19, diabetes, and kidney-related complications pose huge burdens on the country. According to an article published in 2018 in PLoS One titled, "Who is Where at Risk for Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease? A Spatial Epidemiological Analysis of Health Insurance Claims for COPD in Northeastern Germany", the prevalence of chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) ranges from 1.3% to 13.2%, which may grow by 24% by 2030. As per the Johns Hopkins University, around 3,692,908 confirmed cases of COVID-19 were reported in Germany, with around 88,781 deaths, as of June 1st, 2021. This led to a massive increase in research, increasing the demand for liquid handling systems.
Asia Pacific is the third largest region. The increased R&D activities about drug development research in the country boost the market growth. In November 2019, AstraZeneca announced the establishment of its Centers for Drug Research and Artificial Intelligence Development in China. The pharmaceutical company received USD 1 billion as funding to improve biotech innovation in China. Automated liquid handling has become an indispensable tool in drug discovery, particularly in screening campaigns across millions of compounds. The growing research about drug development leads to an increase in the usage of liquid handling systems in the country. In December 2020, Daiwa Securities Group of Japan funded JPY 14 billion for drug discovery in China. Such funds for drug discovery and research boost the market growth in the region.
Major companies in the global liquid handling system market are
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