Proteomics: An Assessment of Technology and Commercial Potential

Published - Jan 2002| Analyst - Valarie Natale| Code - BIO034A
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Report Highlights

  • Proteomics is an emerging field that has developed in the wake of genomics. Its goal is to understand protein expression at the cellular level, and apply this information to scientific and medical problems. For example, compared to healthy cells, how does influenza virus infection affect the total protein output? Are any of the proteins expressed only in the infected cells suitable targets for new antiviral drugs? This approach also applies to cancerous cells, and cells from patients with degenerative diseases and many other conditions. New technologies like protein chips and capillary electrophoresis are emerging to serve proteomic studies, and more mature technologies like 2-D electrophoresis, mass spectroscopy, and nuclear magnetic resonance spectroscopy are being adapted for protein studies, and in some cases, for high throughput uses. Bioinformatics applications are constantly being developed to analyze the data produced by all of these technologies.
  • This BCC study examines how proteomics technologies have affected basic research and pharmaceutical research, and how they are likely to affect research in the near future. It also analyzes how proteomics technologies are developing, and examines new companies that are likely to make substantial contributions to the field. An important part of the report analyzes instruments that are vital to proteomics studies. Sales and spending projections through 2006 are included.



New methods for protein analysis are receiving considerable attention and hype in the pharmaceutical industry and in the media. This study examines technologies for studying proteins, how they work, and how they are likely to affect biomedical research. The report also predicts which technologies are likely to succeed and how they are likely to grow in the next five years. An important part of the report analyzes patent trends and other trends that are vital to the success of these new technologies. Sales and spending projections through 2006 are included.


The exponential increase in gene sequence information has report_highlightsed the relative lack of information concerning protein expression and its relevance to disease and to physiological processes. For example, although the sequence of an individual's DNA remains relatively constant, the abundances of proteins expressed from his DNA changes constantly. Protein expression changes after eating, during sleep, as the result of an infection or other disease, during all phases of pregnancy, because of a wound - the list of conditions that cause changes in protein expression is endless.

Understanding protein expression in response to conditions like the ones mentioned in the previous paragraph is the goal of proteomics. In theory, if scientists can understand which proteins are expressed in different proportions in response, for example, to breast cancer, they will be better able to develop pharmaceutical agents to combat the disease. Likewise, they will be better able to develop diagnostic and prognostic tools. If they can increase the efficiency with which they discover disease-related proteins, they will also speed the processes of drug discovery and diagnostic development and also, in theory, they will improve the quality of these products.

Proteomics research involves examining proteins on a larger scale than was previously used. For example, 20 years ago, protein researchers generally studied individual proteins. Today, researchers can analyze protein expression in an entire cell: newer techniques allow scientists to isolate proteins and identify them much more quickly than was possible even 10 years ago.

The development of new technologies for studying proteins has led to a rapid growth in industries supplying instruments and reagents for proteomics studies, which has, in turn, made a variety of products easily available from companies eager to compete in the new market. Systems for protein separation and identification are especially important, and they have been developed at a rapid rate in the last one to five years. Mass spectroscopy, which is a technique for identifying proteins, is probably the most important technique in proteomics today. As such, it occupies the largest share of the market for proteomics-related supplies. The other essential technique is two-dimensional electrophoresis, a method for separating proteins prior to identifying them with mass spectroscopy. Mass spectroscopy, in particular, is experiencing high growth at this time, and many competitors are entering this market. This trend has challenged the traditional leaders in the mass spectroscopy field, which, in turn, will force them to develop more sophisticated instruments.


This report is directed at decision-makers in each industry segment, as well as at individuals and organizations considering investing in drug discovery or drug discovery technology. These people include, but are not limited to the following:


  • Venture capitalists
  • Merger and acquisition executives
  • Market and product management professionals
  • Chief scientists and technical officers
  • Equipment manufacturers
  • Reagent suppliers



This report is a tool whose purpose is to analyze the newly emerging industry in proteomics. The section following this introduction provides a summary of the report and its conclusions. An overview of the market and a brief discussion of relevant scientific principles follow the summary. The ensuing sections analyze current and future market trends, and the importance of each new method of research to the overall market. There is also an analysis of patents and their importance to the industry.

The study considers new technologies for research and development, as well as instruments and reagents for synthesis, purification and characterization of proteins. The appendices of the report contain directories of companies and other entities supplying tools for proteomics.


The material for this report was gathered from interviews with individuals in the industry, as well as a thorough review of technology gathered from secondary sources. These sources include company annual, 10K and 10Q reports, company literature, trade literature, trade associations, and online sources.

Projections were based on such estimates as the current number of end users, funding levels, potential end users, likely unit prices and rates of consumption. Final projections are based on the analysis of information from primary and secondary sources. All dollar projections are presented in year 2001 constant dollars.

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