The Bioinformatics Market is Poised for Growth



Gerald Clarke
05/07/2013

We are living in the age of big data, from the Large Hadron Collider to Facebook; we now have access to more information than at any time in history and the story is no different in the pharma industry. Now the question is; what do we do with it? The answers range from database services to hardware and all of these answers are good for the booming global bioinformatics industry.

Information is a hot commodity and commercializing this information is driving industry growth. According to bcc Research, the global bioinformatics market is set to more than double from $3.2billion to $7.5billion between now and 2017. With a combined global compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 18.7%, this soaring growth represents a seismic shift in the scientific community towards large information driven research. North America is stealing a march in this direction on the rest of the world and is predicted the highest CAGR of 22.4% between now and 2017 which would allow it a majority $4.6billion share in the global bioinformatics market. Europe and Asia however, are not letting this trend pass them by with CAGRs in the market of 12.3% and 15.6% respectively.

For years the primary concern in most sectors was collecting enough information, but now the problem has reversed and many companies have more data than they know what to do with. In life sciences, this is especially true. In recent years the amount of data collected and available to researchers has increased almost exponentially. Since the decoding of the genome, every corner of biological sciences has produced its own –omics: epigenomics, transcriptomics, metabolomics, proteomics, interactomics among hundreds of others. What this means is that people in industry and academia are keener than ever to make use of enormous data sets to investigate molecular mechanisms with greater accuracy than ever.

Organisation, analysis and interpretation of this information is required to apply it to useful ends and create knowledge. In pharmaceuticals one of the most exciting areas that this data can be useful is in computational systems biology. Using the vast amounts of available information, it should be possible to create algorithms and computer models which accurately predict drug metabolism and toxicity, interactions between drugs and clinically relevant targets. These in silico experiments could lead to faster, cheaper, safer drug development in part by bettering in vitro/in vivo extrapolation and that is only a taste of the myriad other tantalising possibilities.

The growth in this area is likely to happen in 3 key areas: databases, analysis and hardware. Database services to allow companies to collate useful information are central to efforts of employing it in a fruitful fashion and accordingly this market is set to grow from $1.5billion to $3.4billion between now and 2017. The software required to analyse the collected information and make it accessible by means of more tractable outputs like visualisations will prove vital to this economy and as such the global market is predicted to grow from $1.1billion to $2.9billion in the next 4 years. Many researchers now do not require physical storage devices to store their gargantuan data sets; they make use of cloud computing and remote storage services. In a relatively short time people have become divorced from the notion of physical hard disks, however the reality is that somewhere there has to be a physical storage medium with the relevant information recorded on it. With the other trends in this area it may be unsurprising that the market in hardware infrastructure is poised to grow from $0.5billion to $1.2billion by 2017.

These cumulative growth trends in all areas of bioinformatics hold the exciting promise of a smarter, better informed, more knowledgeable pharma industry, better equipped to navigate oceans of data. The companies ready to provide solutions to these needs are sure to find themselves at the centre of a very promising growth market.