Lab Equipment: Transfection Stands Out

IBO includes the following technologies in its lab-equipment section: lab centrifuges, water-purification equipment, transfection techniques, extraction techniques, gas generators, concentrators and evaporators, incubators, fume hoods, biological safety cabinets, microwave-assisted chemistry, fermentors and bioreactors, lab washers, and shakers and stirrers. The total market for lab equipment grew 3.5% to more than $4.2 billion in 2014 and is forecast to grow 3.0% to nearly $4.3 billion in 2015.

The pharmaceutical and biotechnology sector represents about 43% of the total lab-equipment market. Although industry consolidation, especially in the US and European markets, has stunted growth, a growing replacement market and ongoing demand from CROs continue to buoy the sector. The public sector represents 28% of the total market and has the slowest growth forecast due to budget cutbacks, mature technology and instrument saturation. The applied and industrial sectors combine to represent the remaining 29% of the total lab-equipment market.

Thermo Fisher Scientific holds the largest vendor share in lab equipment. The firm is the leader in a number of segments, including the two largest: centrifuges and transfection. The company is also among the top vendors for many other lab-equipment segments. Overall, Thermo Scientific has a lab-equipment market share of about 19%. Merck/EMD Millipore and Beckman Coulter are the next top suppliers, with 7% and 6% market shares, respectively. EMD Millipore is the market leader in water purification, while Beckman Coulter is one of the top producers of lab centrifuges, the largest individual segment within the lab-equipment market.

With 2014 demand totaling $840 million, the market for lab centrifuges accounts for more than one-fifth of the total lab-equipment market. Segment growth is expected to be anemic at best, with 1.2% growth forecast, mostly from aftermarket segments and the slow but growing popularity of smaller centrifuges at a lower price point. Thermo Scientific and Beckman Coulter represent nearly two-thirds of the segment and continue to dominate all technology portions in the lab-centrifuge market.

Lab water-purification equipment is the second-largest lab-equipment segment, accounting for approximately 13% of the total lab-equipment market. In 2015, the market for lab-water purification is expected to grow over 3%.

The transfection market, which includes electroporation, lipofection and viral vectors, is primarily aftermarket based. The transfection segment makes up 13.5% of the overall lab-equipment market. It is the fastest-growing segment at 8.2%, due to the increased popularity of biologics in the pharmaceutical and biotech sector, relatively low cost and hypercompetitiveness among vendors.

The next-fastest–growing segment is bioreactors and fermentors, growing at 4.2%, although representing only 5.2% of the overall lab-equipment market. Gas generators follow at 6.8% of the total lab-equipment market and are expected to grow 3.9% this year. Overall, the majority of the individual segments is growing at a low-single-digit pace, primarily due to the maturity of the techniques and their widespread distribution across most industries.

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