The combination of federal initiatives and a stringent peer-review process has led to greater adoption rates for preclinical imaging modalities in the United States. From anatomical to physiological to molecular processes, preclinical imaging systems can visualize and monitor intricate biological processes that were inconceivable only a few years ago. Hence, the market has a profound impact on the way science is conducted and reviewed in both academic and industry settings, and with strong growth rates well into this decade, preclinical imaging stands to shape the scientific discovery process as findings get translated to higher vertebrate systems.
New analysis from Frost & Sullivan (medicalmaging.frost.com) U.S. Preclinical Small Animal Imaging Markets, reveals that revenues in this market totaled $172.5 million in 2005, and can reach $556 million in 2012.
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“Being in the nascent stage only a few years ago, the U.S. preclinical small animal imaging markets have evolved into a competitive landscape with the same range of vendors and imaging capabilities as those found in clinical environments,” notes Frost & Sullivan Research Analyst Subha B. Basu. “Optimizing technologies from clinical medicine, preclinical imaging modalities now extend the spectrum of equipment, from computed tomography (CT) to magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) to Ultrasound, as well as several new innovations in molecular imaging.”
Instrumental in these advances are key initiatives from the National Institute of Health (NIH) and the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA), the country’s largest financier of basic research and the governing body of all clinical drugs, respectively, In 2002, the NIH roadmap prioritized the need to identify biological processes in the living animal, or in vivo, through the expanding field of molecular imaging. Following suit, the U.S. FDA further heightened interest in molecular and preclinical imaging through its 2003 Critical Path to New Medical Products initiative. Consequently, all clinical imaging modalities, from positron emission tomography (PET) to MRI, have now been replicated for specialty use in small animal models.
However, the paucity of federal and private research grants as well as general awareness about the benefits of preclinical imaging serve as the most important challenges in the industry. Besides, high purchase and operational costs continue to stand in the way of the markets further expansion, particularly among the academic segment. This segment comprises nearly 80 percent of end users in the preclinical market and unlike clinical end users, academic and government researchers are mostly dependent on federal and private grant support in order to purchase scientific equipment.
“Although preclinical systems have the same range of capabilities as their clinical counterparts, most vendors employ a technology-based sales pitch, where a system’s technical prowess gets more importance over its capabilities,” explains Basu. “Preclinical manufacturers have to raise awareness by touting the exquisite detail in diagnostic imaging that can be performed on a host of systems today.”
Targeting end users through an applications-based pitch could be particularly beneficial for market participants, as scientists are more receptive to ways the equipment will help in their experiments. Hence, approaching a customer with the depth of applications and upgrades available on a system could, in fact, prove to be a more effective sales tool.
U.S. Preclinical Small Animal Imaging Markets is part of the Medical Imaging Growth Partnership Service, which also includes research services in the following markets: U.S. radiology picture archiving and communications systems, U.S. breast imaging equipment markets, U.S. computed tomography markets, and U.S. ultrasound equipment markets. All research services included in subscriptions provide detailed market opportunities and industry trends that have been evaluated following extensive interviews with market participants. Interviews are available to the press.
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