The global liquid handling systems market size was valued at USD 5.1 billion in 2022. It is estimated to reach USD 8,077.4 million by 2031, growing at a CAGR of 7.8% during the forecast period (2023–2031).
Liquid handling systems are a set of equipment used for dispensing, handling, and storing liquid samples. The automated liquid handling system is a class of devices that include electronic pipetting systems, microplate washers, and dispensers for liquid sampling and uses robotics and automation to speed up the process for large-scale production and to reduce the turnaround time. In addition, these systems are used for enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay (ELISA), cell culture, RNA/DNA purification, PCR/Sequencing reaction setup, reaction cleanup, protein purification, automated detection assays, and MALDI-TOF spotting. These systems reduce the chance of contamination, labor costs, and inconsistencies in sample yield and prepare uniform quantities.
According to the study proposed by Straits Research, liquid handling systems are used in the research laboratory for various applications across different industries. Liquid handling systems can be discriminated from sample storage systems, freezing panes, and any other equipment used in a biological experiment. Only hardware, supplies, and programs specifically designed for working with liquids and preparing samples were considered.
Increased automation in the liquid handling systems is expected to boost efficiency, reduce housekeeping costs, eliminate costly safety and ergonomic issues, and reduce ingredient expenditures. With the increasing labor cost, manufacturers are trying to find cost-effective ways to meet the growing demand from the biopharmaceutical industry. Along with technological advancements, customers also expect companies to focus on cost reductions rather than passing on rising costs. For manufacturers, cost reduction requires optimizing plant efficiency with increased automation. These investments in automation have created increased outputs per person-hour and lower costs per unit.
Automated systems can reduce costs by increasing productivity, solving price, safety, and hygiene-related problems, adding flexibility to lines, and eliminating product contamination and other issues. Additionally, the biopharmaceutical industry increasingly uses robotics to automate particular diagnostic and drug development processes, such as manufacturing, screening, and anti-counterfeiting jobs. Therefore, such factors are expected to drive global market growth during the forecast period.
The global liquid handling systems market is estimated to see healthy growth in the coming years owing to rising healthcare spending, increasing prevalence of chronic and infectious diseases, and the introduction of novel drugs. Moreover, with the introduction of the COVID-19 pandemic, the demand for various generic drugs such as antibiotics, antivirals, steroids, and multivitamins has increased tenfold since 2020. This has encouraged the pharma industry to increase production capacity. In addition, the diagnostics market has witnessed a surge since 2020, which can be attributed to the COVID-19 pandemic. The manufacturing process must be automated and more precise to fulfill the growing demand. This is anticipated to propel the liquid handling systems market.
Setting up the liquid handling systems is a one-time process with a minimum shelf life of 10-20 years. However, the equipment and systems cost is high, restricting many end-users from setting up an in-house liquid handling system. Moreover, the integrated and automated liquid handling systems need more specific customization, software, and skilled technicians to operate, thereby increasing the overall cost of installation. Therefore, the high price of liquid handling systems restricts many buyers and forces them to go with manual handling or low-cost semi-automated systems. This is expected to limit the expansion of the liquid handling systems market.
Sales of biopharmaceuticals have significantly increased recently. This growth has been attributed to several factors, including the aging baby boomer demographic, the surging prevalence of chronic diseases, and the greater focus on focused therapy. Further, the rising global demand for biopharmaceuticals has fueled overall production worldwide. Productivity improvement has been noticed in the biopharmaceutical production industry, with increased research and clinical trials conducted by biopharmaceutical manufacturers.
In addition, the outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic increased the focus of biopharmaceutical companies to develop effective medicines and vaccines against the SARS-CoV virus infection. In this scenario, establishing effective workflows with the help of automation and robotics to reduce the time and costs involved in drug and vaccine development has gained significance. This has created opportunities for the growth of the liquid handling systems market over the forecast period.
The global liquid handling systems market is bifurcated into the product, application, and end-user.
Based on product, the global liquid handling systems market is divided into systems, consumables, and software.
The systems segment is the most significant contributor to the market and is estimated to exhibit a CAGR of 7.28% over the forecast period. The systems include liquid handlers or pipettes, which dispense liquid in tubes and wells for mixing, sampling, and combining liquid samples and storage. Both manual labor and automated liquid handling robots can be used to complete this task. The systems are further segmented into automated systems, semi-automated systems, and pipette handling systems or pipettes. The system segment accounted for the most significant market share, ascribed to the expanding need for automated systems in the pharmaceutical and biotech sectors to lower labor costs and improve time efficiency.
Software is an essential component of any automated liquid handling system. It is used to control the workflow configurations, setting of process parameters, and choice of data capture. The design of software design determines the way to program the system efficiently and interact with it. In addition, the software is used to automate the liquid handling systems and to control the robotic arm and other accessories associated with the system. Liquid handling systems software provides an interface for programming basic protocols for washing and dispensing assays. This software can automate processes like ELISA, cell-based assays, bulk reagent dispensing, and automation integrations.
Based on application, the global liquid handling systems market is bifurcated into drug discovery, life sciences, and diagnostics.
The drug discovery segment owns the highest market share and is predicted to exhibit a CAGR of 6.47% over the forecast period. The process of drug discovery is used for finding new drug molecules or finding a compound that is medically useful in treating, curing, or suppressing the disease. Different drug discovery and development stages include target identification, target validation, lead identification, lead optimization, and product characterization. In drug manufacturing, reconstitution is the addition of a diluent or solvent to medication in powdered form and suspending it to form a solution. In addition, drugs that come in powder form must be reconstituted before they can be measured and administered. Precision in the reconstitution demands the use of automated liquid handling systems, thus enhancing the overall market.
In life science research, liquid handling plays a crucial role. Experiments such as purification of nucleic acids, genotyping, gene sequencing, antibody testing, and drug screening require dispensing reagents in precise amounts on the substrate and transferring small volumes of samples to different containers. The volume of the biological specimen or the reagent being dispensed is usually in microliters or nanoliters, and sometimes in large experiments, the process is performed repeatedly. Performing these steps manually is time-consuming, tedious, and prone to human errors, so researchers and scientists are moving toward using automated liquid handling systems.
Based on the end-user, the global liquid handling systems market is bifurcated into research and academic institutions, biopharmaceutical companies, clinical research organizations (CROs), clinical manufacturing organizations (CMOs), diagnostic companies, and others.
The biopharmaceutical companies segment dominates the global market and is expected to grow at a CAGR of 6.80% during the forecast period. Increasing pharmaceutical R&D expenditures by the key drug manufacturers, growing demand for novel therapies due to the introduction of the COVID-19 pandemic, and increasing collaboration with the CMOs and CROs for new drug candidates are the key factors responsible for the growth of biopharmaceutical industries as end-user in the global liquid handling systems market. The segment of biopharmaceutical companies is anticipated to dominate the market due to the growing demand for automated liquid handling systems for large-scale production.
The segment of diagnostic companies is anticipated to experience the most rapid expansion during the forecast period as an end-user of liquid handling systems. Liquid handling systems have increased manifolds in diagnostic companies, attributed to the COVID-19 pandemic, as many samplings and testing were done daily. Many diagnostic companies have installed fully automated liquid handling systems and integrated pipetting solutions for repeated sampling. This, in turn, increases the demand for liquid handling systems in the diagnostics companies' segment.
Based on region, the global liquid handling systems market is bifurcated into North America, Europe, Asia-Pacific, Latin America, and the Rest-of-the-World (RoW).
North America is the most significant global liquid handling systems market shareholder and is estimated to grow at a CAGR of 6.9% over the forecast period. North America is particularly important for the liquid handling systems market. It is home to widespread technological innovation and significant end-users adopting the automation trend at a fast pace for efficient processing of liquid samples. Many companies operate in this region as government regulations and programs support market growth. In addition, North America is home to several liquid handling systems manufacturers and service providers. The majority of the biotech and pharmaceutical giants are also located in the region. Therefore, the industry's increasing demand for automated liquid handling systems to reduce time and labor costs is the main factor driving the market growth.
Europe is anticipated to exhibit a CAGR of 7.10% over the forecast period. In terms of liquid handling systems, Europe has the second-largest market share globally, but it is expected to grow at a high CAGR to acquire a greater market share by 2031. This gain can be mainly credited to the growth of the biopharmaceutical manufacturing industries, increased expenditure on research and development by biopharma companies, and increased funding for drug and biotechnology research activities. Numerous European companies have increased their capacity for producing diagnostics and drugs because of the introduction of COVID-19. They are readily adopting automation in the labs to meet the requirements of precision handling and reduced manufacturing time. For instance, the European Medicines Agency (EMA) approved the full commercialization of a recombinant rabbit vaccine that had been created utilizing CrisBio, a proprietary and patent-protected Baculovirus vector-mediated expression platform from Algenex. The laboratory process involved in manufacturing these drugs needs repeated sampling and automated handling of the inoculated samples, thus increasing the demand for liquid handling systems.
The Asia-Pacific liquid handling systems market is anticipated to proliferate in the forthcoming years. The region comprises many countries with high scientific achievement potential, particularly in pharmaceuticals. The Asia-Pacific region's low- and middle-income countries are witnessing a constant increase in the incidence of various genetic disorders, fueling market growth. Some of the common risk factors connected to economic growth and the epidemiologic transition of the Asia-Pacific region are the high prevalence rate of chronic diseases, the aging population, changes in lifestyle, and genetic factors. These elements are ultimately responsible for the market expansion.
The Latin American liquid handling systems market is still in its intermediary phase. The country is a manufacturing hub for many suppliers in the U.S. and Canada, as the cost of services available in the region is low. Multinational pharmaceutical companies are attracted to the region's high growth potential in the coming future. However, before moving its business into any country, a company checks the opportunities against the regulatory, economic, and political risks. This has led to steady growth in the region's liquid handling systems market revenue.
The Rest-of-the-World (RoW) consists of several other promising nations, such as Saudi Arabia, the U.A.E., Egypt, Argentina, and Africa. In this region, the expenditure toward advanced liquid handling systems is escalating due to the growing healthcare infrastructure. Dominated by regions such as Saudi Arabia and South Africa, the overall liquid handling systems revenue is expected to increase. Most of the pharmaceutical companies within this region welcome automation in the manufacturing process for more precision and shorter delivery time.
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