58 pages 

Date published 
May 2007 

Additional info 
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Dan Miller
Marketing Associate


High-Content Analysis Overview


Cover ImageHigh-Content Analysis: Technologies, Applications, Market Analysis

By James Kling and Richard Fisler




This new Insight Pharma report from Cambridge Healthtech Institute delivers the data and the analysis you need to stay on top of this fast-changing market:

  • Quantitative survey (N=60) of the practices, plans, and views of researchers involved with HCA
  • Market segmentation and forecast ($ share by application, by company, and by IT/hardware/reagents)
  • Thorough review of HCA technologies and applications, including new developments and challenges
  • Total cost of ownership analysis
  • Main market drivers and barriers
  • Thought-leader interviews with leading researchers in industry and academia
  • Position of the dominant players such as Cellomics/Fisher, GE, MDS, BD, and Evotec; and of up-and-coming smaller players

High content analysis (HCA) is the convergence between cell-based assays, high-resolution fluorescence imaging, automation and advanced image processing and analysis software. It has been widely adopted in the pharmaceutical and biotech industries for target identification and validation and as secondary screens to reveal potential toxicities or to elucidate a drug’s mechanism of action. In particular, HCA has made inroads into R&D applications where high throughput screening (HTS) has proven inadequate, such as measuring multiple biological pathways simultaneously, or revealing off-target drug effects. HCA has stepped into this void by demonstrating how particular proteins are affected by the application of a molecule to the cell line of interest.

Overview Image

Source: Insight Pharma Reports, "High Content Analysis: Technologies, Impacts, and Market Analysis," Cambridge Healthtech Institute ©2007.

We estimate the total market for HCA systems and software at nearly $80 million in 2006, with a leveling off during 2007-2008, and a sharp rise thereafter as the pharmaceutical sector fully embraces HCA applications in secondary and primary screening. We estimate the reagent market at approximately $125 million, with growth driven by an increase in wells/study and growth in the academic sector. As of 2006, there is still strong interest in the potential of HCA applications; however, the systems have not yet fully closed the gap from attracting early adopters and technology drivers to emerging as a mainstream market. Interesting dynamics at work in the market include the emergence of a market for kits and assays, and the rise of the academic sector as a significant percentage of the application base for HCA.

HCA end users were polled for technical features they would like to see in HCA instruments. Desired technical advances were split pretty evenly across a variety of features, with automated data collection and analysis (55% of respondents) and increased speed (53%) leading the list.

Cost continues to be a key barrier to adoption of HCA, especially among smaller companies and academic institutions. Prices have decreased somewhat over the past 2 years, but cost was nevertheless the main reason cited by survey respondents (59%). Difficulty of use of the image analysis software came in a close second at 49.2%. Users report that software systems are rarely intuitive and can require extensive training to accomplish even simple procedures. It is expected that third-party software developers will play a role in improving HCA software usability, but they have only penetrated a small (approximately 10%) fraction of the market, with most researchers using the software that was shipped with the instrument. Also in the survey, 41% of respondents cited lack of flexibility of image analysis software.

High Content Analysis: Technologies, Applications, Market Analysis is a must-read for both vendors and users of HCA systems who need to understand the dynamics and the direction of this important market.

About the Authors

James Kling has been writing about biotechnology and drug discovery for more than a decade. His work has appeared in Science, Nature Biotechnology, Scientific American, and WebMD, among other publications.

Richard Fisler is a partner with Beachhead Consulting (www.beachhead.com), a firm specializing in technology evaluation, strategic planning, and market assessment in the life science industry. Prior to his work at Beachhead, he brought a wide variety of high-technology platforms to market through positions in the microarray and live-cell microscopy industries. Additionally, he has spent 11 years in management and engineering in the medical imaging field. Mr. Fisler can be contacted at rfisler@beachhead.com.