Analytic Separations Industry Review
In a year fraught with patent litigation, contract terminations, and accusations of insider trading, most analytic separations companies managed to ride out the storm; average stock prices more than doubled over those posted at the end of December 2002. The analytic separations industry, which is made up of diverse technologies used in related applications, often experiences greater performance diversity than other industry sectors.
Growth of the analytical and life science instrument industry in 2004 is expected to continue at the same pace as in the previous year, with both chromatography and electrophoresis sustaining relatively strong sales. Within these maturing technologies focus remains on increasing sensitivity, speed, and reproducibility. Combining both chromatography and electrophoresis with other analytic methods offers opportunities to address specific analysis problems and niche applications.
Mass spectrometry, 2-D gel electrophoresis, and other analytic technologies have been beneficiaries of the rapidly expanding field of proteomics. Automation of proteomic techniques holds promise as a way to address both biological and technical concerns. Here, speed and throughput have become of less concern than reproducibility and reduction of systematic and human error. Standardization of both hardware and software are expected to improve integration and accelerate automation.
The spectroscopy market is complex; in addition to molecular spectroscopy (IR, UV-Visible, Raman, NMR and ESR), many "hyphenated" technologies have been developed, both to create better instruments and to exploit niche markets with very specialized applications. The U.S. spectroscopy market overall is expected to continue demonstrating respectable growth. Molecular spectroscopy remains the largest segment of the total U.S. market, but the so-called "hyphenateds" may soon claim that honor.
DNA microarrays, based on chemical methods for gene analysis that have developed since the early 1960s, show great promise for the analytic separations industry. The technology is used primarily in academic and industrial research in drug development. The U.S. market for DNA microarrays and microarray peripherals is on the rise, with interest and excitement over technological breakthroughs evident.
Another area of opportunity within the analytic separations industry is materials, which enable scientists to analyze chiral products and mixtures. Growth has been less than spectacular and dominated by liquid chromatography. The increasing interest in all types of chiral products points to a new wave of investment in research and development.
This anthology is based on BCC's monthly newsletter Analytic Separations News (formerly High Tech Separations News) and keeps readers current regarding the rapid technology developments that characterize the analytic separations industry. It explores, analyzes and reports on the science, technology and of:
- Hybrid Separation Methods
- Mass Spectrometry
- Membrane Separations