The Automated Liquid Handlers Marke is estimated to grow at a CAGR of about 6% over the forecast period 2020 to 2025. Automated liquid handlers, also known as pipetting robots or pipetting workstations, perform the programmed transfer of liquid volumes between destination and source vessels. The rising demand for faster turn-around-times (TAT), higher throughput, and reduced human errors and operational costs are some of the prominent factors that are driving the adoption of automated liquid handlers across the clinical and biotechnology industries.
- Flexibility and adaptability of lab automation systems are driving the market. The increased spending on healthcare services has led to an increase in R&D activities, which involve clinical trials where lab automation becomes imperative to get error-free results achieving greater accuracy. In the United States, the region has regulatory bodies, such as the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS), that regulate and monitor all laboratory testing performed on the humans in the United States through Clinical Laboratory Improvement Amendments (CLIA) covering 260,000 laboratory entities. This represents a potential and vital opportunity for the lab automation providers, which may boost the growth for the market over the forecast period.
- Further, Hudson Robotics provides SoftLinx lab automation software that has software Plug-ins to over 200 3rd party lab instruments. It helps in gaining data tracking, traceability, and auditability using SoftLinx.
- Liquid handlers are usually employed in biochemical & chemical laboratories, for dispensing samples and other liquids used during procedures. Liquid handlers work on software, which is controlled by using an integrated system that customizes the handling procedures with large transfer volumes. Liquid handlers are enhanced with precision flow syringes to control the flow. Automated liquid handlers minimize run times and maximize accuracy.
- Further, the strong demand for automated liquid handling with sensor-integrated systems has been driven by the significant improvements in the accuracy of the experiments conducted for small volumes of liquid. Liquid handling plays a vital role in applications like genomic and proteomic research, as samples are dispensed for smoothening the workflow. In the modern era, the need for automated liquid handling has proved to be a boon for increasing the efficiency of various applications.
- However, with the outbreak of COVID-19, the automated liquid handler market will witness a significant increase in demand due to the increasing requirement of testing, tracing, and tracking in diagnostic labs globally. As the volume of incoming samples, especially related to the pandemic situation, laboratories need many capabilities to test up to thousands of samples per day.
- In March 2020, Hamilton launched two new automated assay ready workstations, based on the Company’s MicrolabSTARlet liquid handling workstation, that facilitate rapid, high-throughput diagnostic and research-based testing of the coronavirus SARS-CoV-2. Also, UC Berkeley scientists spun up a robotic COVID-19 testing lab that uses Hamilton STARlet automated liquid-handling robot to analyze swabs from patients to diagnose the COVID-1 virus.
Key Market Trends
Clinical Diagnostics to Witness Significant Growth
- Automation in medical laboratories has been witnessing an increasing trend, including both research and diagnostic laboratories, such as clinical chemistry, hematology, and molecular biology. Modular laboratory automation is widely employed in clinical diagnostics for various applications that include sample preparation, distribution, screening, and archiving. Further, year to year, growth in funding provided by NIH (National Institutes of Health) in clinical research is significantly driving the market.
- Clinical diagnostics have been proved beneficial to treat infectious and chronic disease conditions. World health organization (WHO) estimates that chronic disease conditions, like cardiovascular diseases, cancer, and respiratory diseases, are responsible for the death of about 38 million people every year, which accounts for 62% of all deaths across the world.
- Statistics from American Heart Association indicate that about 2,300 Americans die of cardiovascular diseases each day, an average of 1 death every 38 seconds, thus indicating the need to treat them and find a solution via clinical diagnostics research.
- According to Roche Holding AG, a leading pharmaceutical company, clinical diagnostics play a key role in disease prevention, detection, and management. Though they account for just 2% of healthcare spending, they influence roughly two-thirds of clinical decision making. Implementation of automation for clinical diagnostics is quite challenging as the processes need continuous, high-quality customer service. This is very important to obtain reliable test results and to provide patient safety.
- Vendors are focusing on developing liquid handlers, which are suitable for clinical diagnostics applications are also boosting the growth of the market. In January 2020, Hamilton Company has announced that its newest automated liquid handling platform, the Microlab Prep, is available through its e-commerce sites in the North American countries.
- Further, a player such as Thermo Fischer announced in October 2019, that they acquired active pharmaceutical ingredient (API) manufacturing facility from GlaxoSmithKline (GSK) for EUR 90 million. It has announced the expansion of its API manufacturing capabilities by leveraging the expertise of the team in Cork, to develop new synthetic processes and help customers scale up from clinical development to commercial supply, in order to meet the increasing demand for APIs. This significantly raises the market growth.
North America Accounts For Largest Market Share.
- Automated liquid handling solution providers in the North America are continuously innovating to integrate a maximum number of clinical equipment. For instance, Beckman Coulter, in October 2019, received 510(k) clearance from the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) for its DxA 5000 lab automation system. The solution offers highly consistent turnaround time to physicians using the solution by deploying intelligent routing algorithms to generate an automated patient-centric workflow in the laboratory.
- Besides, the United States is facing a shortfall in laboratory scientists and lab personals, which is expected to spearhead the automation in labs across the country. The Department of Labor and Statistics predicts a future shortage of more than 150,000 clinical laboratory scientists exacerbated by a wave of retirements that would see a lot of qualified personnel leave the workforce over the coming years. Around 5,000 American lab professionals are entering the labor pool each year, less than half of the approximately 12,000 workers a year that is necessary to meet the rising demand for their services.
- Due to the developments in the field of R&D, many public institutions are expected to enhance their laboratory capabilities across the country, in turn, boosting the demand for lab automation equipment. For instance, final commissioning is underway at the US Army Medical Research Institute of Infectious Diseases (USAMRIID) situated at Fort Detrick in Frederick, Maryland. The building is anticipated to be open for occupancy in 2021. This 835,000-square-foot building is expected to serve as the lead facility for the US Biological Defense Research Program.
- Furthermore, in Jan 2020, Benchling, a life sciences R&D cloud platform, announced the launch of its software for automated handlers, which is a new solution that would help the life sciences companies in maximizing their lab automation investments. Their offering provides a centralized environment for researchers to document, design, and run up to 10,000 samples in a single experiment and digitally track the result of each sample.
- Furthermore, strict regulations imposed by the US government and the FDA, along with the growing demand in the diagnostic market with the increasing emphasis on the drug discovery and research laboratories owing to the rising presence of various diseases such as cardiovascular diseases and neurological diseases in the region, fueled the demand of drug discovery and clinical diagnostics sector.
- The trend towards new software innovation solutions and expansion has translated the demand for automated liquid handlers market in the region, which leads to dominating the North American market and the global market.
The Automated Liquid Handlers Market is towards moderately fragmented owing to the presence of a few large players, and newly added startups, along with partnership innovation, are increasing the new rivalry in the market. Major players in the market include Thermo Fisher Scientific, Danaher Corporation, Hudson Robotics Inc., etc. Key Developments in the market:
- April 2020 - Thermo Fisher Scientific and Hamilton Company introduce a forensic laboratory-qualified automated nucleic acid extraction platform. Pairing the expertise of Hamilton's liquid handling capability with Thermo Fisher Scientific's nucleic acid purification strategy using KingFisher magnetic particle technology and PrepFiler extraction chemistry, the alliance has been able to reduce sample preparation time in forensic laboratories by up to 80 percent.
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