The area of microfluidics and its applications is inherently interdisciplinary and far-reaching. The field has been developing during the past 10 years, but most of that development, while intense, has been in isolated modules. Now scientists are ready to begin putting the pieces together into systems. As these systems begin to emerge, and people are starting to ask more complicated questions. The fundamental tools are there for making microfluidics work. Now engineers can provide the context and infrastructure that enables systems integration.
With regard to microfluidics, we’ve heard the most about applications in drug discovery as the pharmaceutical and biotechnology industries face challenges that clearly could be in part dealt with via instrumentation that makes use of microfluidics. The idea of lab-on-achip is to integrate all the necessary devices on a single small chip to perform complicated biological and chemical processes that are usually done with larger volumes in well-equipped laboratories. Although a great idea, there are many missing technologies for creating lab chips. Among them, the most serious need is for microfluidic devices that are functionally integrated on a chip so that they can move/deliver/mix fluids in a controlled way. In using microtechnology, active fluid-controlling devices are made with micro valves and pumps together with important microfluidic sensing capabilities.
Microfluidic devices might also be used in the future for detecting chemical and biological warfare agents, delivering precise amounts of prescription drugs, keeping tabs on blood parameters for hospital patients, and monitoring air and water quality. The demands of customers are rapidly moving, thus biochip companies have to be very flexible on their model as well as on products and services. At the same time, a number of technical and economic limiting factors exist for the first generation of biochips that were introduced on the market. Those limiting factors are the drivers of a new generation of products to be introduced on the market in the coming months.
This important and updated BCC report covers the major markets and applications for microfluidics-based products and technologies. The current state of the market as defined is assessed and projections for growth and advancements in technology along with market trends are detailed.
SCOPE OF STUDY
The BCC report:
METHODOLOGY AND INFORMATION SOURCES
The methodology used in crafting this report includes a review of how this market has been developing in order to better understand what the future holds; various discussions with key people involved in this area and examination of recent technology developments.
Maura Lane has over 14 years of experience in the chemical, pharmaceutical and biotechnology industries. Working in such functions as R&D, engineering, market development and development, she has specialized in technology licensing and new product development. She has conducted market and technology assessments as a freelancer since 1998. B.S. Chemical Engineering, University of Massachusetts/Amherst; MBA, Marketing, University of Pittsburgh.
SMC036D - January 2013