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The number of Chinese IVD companies exhibiting at the 2015 American Association for Clinical Chemistry Annual Meeting (AACC) & Clinical Lab Expo (CLE) was slightly down from last year, but the breadth of diagnostic products and innovations from China appears to be on the up. Hrishi Poola and Jon Chen discuss the moves China is making to become a generator of disruptive technologies and reports on the new products and the players emerging from this market
Microbial drug resistance is a real and growing problem, but drugmakers face disincentives: a plethora of products already on the market, the difficulty of differentiating drugs, and the habit of reserving truly new drugs for emergencies. Big Pharmas are backing out, creating opportunities for small companies who feel they can play successfully. But lack of interest from large partners means biotechs can't access the assets those firms hold, so many start-ups are pairing up with peers. Some firms are building businesses around an abundance of targets derived through genomics. But others are deliberately avoiding working with novel genetic code and instead studying whole cells and physiological changes in organisms. Many firms are addressing the lack of chemical diversity against targets. Some of these are pursuing diversity through natural products like marine microbes, insisting they'll fare better than earlier firms did, in part because of technological advances. Others are trying to create diversity synthetically, by taking structural approaches to understanding targets new and old, as well as compounds. Crystallography, in silico libraries, computational models and mass spectroscopy are key tools in iterative development processes that remain unproven in the anti-infectives field. Some firms are seeking to minimize the risks of novelty, by putting their efforts into developing new versions of antibiotics that worked well before resistance grew. No matter what technological approach start-ups take to developing antibiotics, all face similar challenges external to themselves-primarily in regulatory affairs and funding, but also in hunting Big Pharma partnerships.
Bio-Rad's having a great year, thanks to its presence in the fast-growing life sciences business of protein analysis, and its surprise success with a test for bovine spongiform encephalopathy (BSE). Founder and CEO David Schwartz built the business based on a mix of eclectic product lines into an $800 million force in life sciences and clinical diagnostics. But as he nears 80, the company is grappling with succession issues, as well as a sense that it needs to better integrate its disparate businesses.
Instrumentation manufacturers have become increasingly aware that platforms can be more lucrative than tools. By entering into alliances to create value-added research platforms focused on particular applications, like toxicogenomics or proteomics, they see an opportunity to participate in markets much larger than their traditional research segments.
- Research, Analytical Equipment & Supplies
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