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Early Stage Drug Discovery 2004: Combi-chem & High Throughput Screening Revisited

Ten years ago, high throughput screening (HTS) was being touted as the answer to improving productivity in drug discovery. If screening thousands of compounds a week was good, screening hundreds of thousands would be even better. This led to the boom in Ultra HTS (UHTS), manufacturing-scale systems, and high-speed automation. Today, reality has begun to creep in: HTS and UHTS have not lived up to their hype. R&D productivity is not improving, in fact it may be declining.

In the past decade, a handful of scientists and developing companies kept up the cry: “Quality is more important than quantity.” This wisdom is now widely recognized. Customers want better compounds, information-rich assays, effective prediction tools, and to understand how compound structure affects properties.

This is a significant paradigm shift, which will have a profound effect on how drug discovery is done in the future. There will be a lot of interest in new products that promise to provide better information sooner. The goal over the next 10 years will be to turn the existing 70% compound failure rate into a 70% success rate.

This report starts by revisiting some of the “facts” about early discovery phases as they were viewed, and discusses how and why viewpoints have changed. Projections are made about how these changes will play out through 2008. The markets sections of the report include the four major product areas of early discovery:

  • combi-chem
  • compu-chem
  • assays
  • instrumentation

Market size and growth, leading products and suppliers, market drivers are all be discussed. The report concludes with profiles of 30 key suppliers.

The report is targeted at suppliers of tools and products for early-phase discovery, particularly in the areas of primary screening and combinatorial chemistry. It is designed to provide an understanding of where these phases of drug discovery are headed, what key customers are looking for, the nature of their market segment, and what opportunities exist for new and different products.


The report is organized into seven chapters and an appendix. The Executive Summary takes an overview of drug discovery, discusses the scope, objectives, and methodology of the study, and provides a brief summary of significant results and highlights.

Chapter Two takes a close look at combinatorial chemistry, examining what customers want from combi-chem, and the product offerings in that market. It concludes with an analysis of competitors, market size, and growth.

Chapter Three looks at primary screening in terms of expectations and reality. It introduces some expert opinions on HTS, and explores some of the new directions that primary screening is expected to take.

Chapters Four, Five, and Six focus on the three product areas important in primary screening:

  • Software
  • Assays
  • Instruments

The chapters describe the product area and examples, and looks at suppliers, market size, and growth.

Chapter 7 provides profiles of 30 companies serving the Combi-chem and Primary Screening markets, representing the four product areas covered in this report. They were selected based on market position, products offered, or uniqueness in the marketplace.

A directory of over 200 companies involved in these markets may be found in the Appendix.

Chapter One: Executive Summary

  • About Drug Discovery
  • Drug Discovery and Pharma Today
  • Expert Views on Drug Discovery
  • Report Objectives
  • Report Structure
  • Results Summary
    • Combi-Chem
    • Screening
    • Information Technology
    • Assays
    • Instruments, Consumables & Systems

  • Bottom Line
    Chapter Two: Combinatorial Chemistry
    • Where Combi-Chem Fits
    • Combi-Chem Technologies
      • Basic Methods
      • Focus on Quality

    • In-Silico Support for Combi-Chem
    • Current Approaches
      • Covered Either Way
      • Maximizing Chemical Diversity
      • Assessing Chemical Diversity
      • Pfizer Learns from Experience
      • Speaking of Outsourcing
      • Opinion Leaders’ Views
        • What is your view of the role of combinational chemistry in drug discovery today?
        • Is its use expanding or contracting?
        • Which are the most popular techniques for compound synthesis? Compare them?
        • What are the most interesting new technologies coming for combi-chem?
        • What are the most important priorities / unmet needs for combi-chem?
        • How fast do you see the market for combi-chem growing?

      • Products & Suppliers
        • Solution-Based Synthesis
        • Solid-Phase Synthesis
        • Microwave-Assisted Synthesizers
        • Centrifugal Evaporators
        • Solid-Phase Extraction & Purification
        • Automated Liquid Handling & Robotics
        • Compound Libraries

      • Market Analysis
        • Size & Growth
        • Leading Suppliers
        • Market Needs & Drivers
        • Priorities & Directions for Combi-Chem

Chapter Three: Screening in Drug Discovery

  • Promise Unfulfilled
  • Three Myths Discarded
  • New Directions
  • Issues & Opportunities
    • Assay Miniaturization Using 3456-Well Plates
    • Assay Miniaturization Using Microfluidics
    • Assay Miniaturization Using Chips.
    • Assay Miniaturization Using CDs
    • Biosensors
    • Cell-Based Assays
    • New Fluorescent Assays
    • Fluorescing Polymer Markers
    • High Content Screening (HCS)
    • Information Management

  • Big Pharma Approaches
    • Abbott
    • AstraZeneca.
    • Aventis
    • Merck
    • Pfizer
    • Wyeth

  • Expert Views
  • The Stage Is Set

Chapter Four: Information Technology Markets

  • Overview
  • Informatics Applications
  • Suppliers’ Approaches
    • Accelrys Improves Leverage Through IBM Collaboration
    • IBM Focuses on Collaboration
    • IDBS Data Management “Makes Sense of It All”
    • HP’s Approach: Product-Centered Collaboration
    • NuGenesis Manages the ‘Data Explosion’

  • Suppliers & Products
    • Combi-Chem Reagent Management
    • Drug Design
    • Bioinformatics, Computational Biology
    • Virtual Libraries
    • Virtual Screening
    • Systems Integration Software
    • Data Analysis
    • Database Management
    • Data Mining

  • Market Analysis
    • Market Size & Growth
    • Leading Suppliers
    • Market Needs & Drivers
    • Priorities & Directions

Chapter Five: Assay Markets

  • Primary Screening
  • Secondary Screening
  • Biochemical Assays
  • Cell-based Assays
  • High Content Screening
  • Suppliers & Products
    • BioImage A/S
    • DiscoveRx
    • Echelon Biosciences
    • Molecular Devices
    • Norak Biosciences
    • Pierce
    • QTL Biosystems
    • New Assay Types

  • Customer Views on Assays
    • Which assays do you perform in support of your research? Which targets?
    • Are these assays you have developed? Or do you purchase them? From whom?
    • Whom do you purchase research assays from?
    • Are they ELISA, fluorescent, or other types of assays?
    • How important is having them in microplate format? Which format?
    • How important is high throughput and automation for research assays?
    • What are the most important characteristics an assay should have?
    • Do you expect the number of tests you run to increase in 2004? By how much?

  • Market Analysis

Chapter Six: Instrument System Markets

  • Overview and Market Drivers
  • Instruments & Suppliers
    • Automated Workstations & Systems
      • Leading Suppliers & Strategies
      • Zymark Case Study
      • Packard Instruments’ History
      • Types of Systems
      • Semi-Automated Plate Transfer
      • Workstations
      • Integrated Systems

    • Automated Liquid Handling
      • Plate Washers
      • Dispensers
      • Platforms
      • Mini-volume Liquid Handling
      • Market Size & Growth

    • Readers & Detection Devices
      • Absorbance Readers
      • Fluorescent Readers
      • Luminometers
      • Scintillation Counters
      • Multi-mode Readers
      • Imaging Devices
      • Reader Market Size & Growth

    • Microplates
      • Background & Requirements
      • High Density Formats: Then & Now
      • Products and Suppliers
      • Microplate Market Leaders, Size, Growth

    • Chips, Arrays, & Other Platforms
      • Products & Suppliers
      • New Platforms
      • Market Size & Growth

  • Market Analysis

Chapter Seven: Supplier Profiles

  • Introduction
    • Combi-Chem
    • Software
    • Reagents
    • Instruments & Systems

  • Accelrys
    • Company Background
    • Financials
    • Focus on Drug Discovery
    • Drug Discovery Products and Services
    • Approaches to Market

  • Amersham Biosciences
    • Company Focus
    • Financials
    • HTS Products
    • Approach to Market

  • Beckman Coulter, Inc
    .
    • Background & History
    • Areas of Focus
    • Financials
    • HTS Products
    • Approach to Market

  • BD Biosciences
    • Background & History
    • Areas of Focus & Product Lines
    • Financials
    • Approach to Market

  • Caliper Life Sciences (formerly Zymark)
    • Background & History
    • Company Focus
    • Financials
    • Drug Discovery Products
    • Approach to the Market

  • Cellomics
    • Company Focus
    • Financials
    • Drug Discovery Products
    • Approach to Market

  • ChemBridge
    • History & Focus
    • Drug Discovery Products
    • Marketing Approach

  • Corning Life Sciences
    • Company History & Focus
    • Corporate Financials
    • Microplates for Drug Discovery
    • Approach to Market

  • DiscoverRx
    • Company Focus
    • EFC Technology
    • Products for Proteomics & Genomics
    • Approach to Market

  • Discovery Partners International
    • Company History
    • Financials
    • Drug Discovery Products
    • Approach to Market

  • GeneVac Ltd
    .
    • Background & Focus
    • Financials
    • Products for Combi-chem
    • Approach to Market

  • IBM Life Science Solutions
    • Background & History
    • Areas of Focus
    • Drug Discovery Products & Services
    • Approach to the Market

  • ID Business Solutions Ltd. (IDBS)
    • Background & History
    • Areas of Focus
    • Drug Discovery Products
    • Approach to the Market

  • Invitrogen
    • Background & History
    • Areas of Focus
    • Financials
    • Drug Discovery Products
    • Approach to the Market

  • LION Bioscience AG
    • Company History & Focus
    • Financial Picture
    • Drug Discovery Software
    • Future Viability

  • MDL Information Systems
    • Company History & Focus
    • Information Systems Product Lines
    • Approach to Market

  • Mettler-Toledo International
    • Background & History
    • Financials
    • Compound Synthesis Products

  • Molecular Devices
    • Background & History
    • Financials
    • Focus on Drug Discovery
    • Products
    • Featured Products for Drug Discovery

  • Norak Biosciences Inc
    .
    • Company History & Focus
    • Current Developments
    • Transfluor Assay
    • Future Opportunities

  • PerkinElmer
    • Background & History
    • Financials
    • Products
    • Approach to Market

  • Personal Chemistry
    • Background & History
    • Areas of Focus
    • Financials
    • Combi-Chem Products
    • Approach to the Market

  • Promega
    • Company Focus
    • Cell Research Products
    • Alliances
    • Applications Support
    • Approach to Market

  • QTL Biosystems
    • Background & History
    • Technology & Areas of Focus
    • HTS Products
    • Approach to the Market

  • R&D Systems
    • Background & History
    • Areas of Focus
    • Financials
    • Products for Drug Discovery
    • Approach to the Market

  • Sigma Aldrich
    • Company Focus
    • Financials
    • Products for Drug Discovery
    • Approach to the Market

  • Tecan Group Ltd.
    • Background & History
    • Areas of Focus
    • Financials
    • HTS Products
    • Approach to the Market

  • TekCel
    • Background & History
    • Financials
    • Company Focus
    • Plate Handling Products
    • Approach to Market

  • Thermo Electron Corp
    .
    • Background & History
    • Financials
    • Bioscience Technologies Division
    • CRS Robotics
    • Labsystems Oy
    • Financials
    • Drug Discovery Products
    • Savant Instruments
    • Combi-chem Products
    • Jouan Acquisition

  • Tripos
    • Company History & Focus
    • Financials
    • Discovery Software
    • Approach to Market

  • Upstate
    • Company Focus
    • Product Line
    • Products for Drug Discovery
    • Approach to Market

Appendix: Company Directory

List of Exhibits

Chapter One: Executive Summary

  • Exhibit 1-1: Drug Discovery Then & Now
  • Exhibit 1-2: Market Size & Growth by Product Area, 2003-2007
  • Exhibit 1-3: Market Leaders by Product Area, 2004

Chapter Two: Combinatorial Chemistry

  • Exhibit 2-1: Combi-Chem Then & Now Issues and Attitudes in 1999 and 2004
  • Exhibit 2-2: Combi-Chem Market Size by Product Area, 2003 (Product areas: Solution-phase synthesizers, Solid-phase synthesizers, Microwave- assisted synthesizers, Vacuum evaporators, SPE & purification, and Liquid handling & robotics)
  • Exhibit 2-3: Combi-Chem Market Growth and Estimated Size in 2007 by Product Area (Product areas: Solution-phase synthesizers, Solid-phase synthesizers, Microwave-assisted synthesizers, Vacuum evaporators, SPE & purification, and Liquid handling & robotics)
  • Exhibit 2-4: Market Shares of Leading Combi-Chem Suppliers 2003

Chapter Three: Screening in Drug Discovery

  • Exhibit 3-1: Screening Then & Now Issues and Attitudes in 1999 and 2004

Chapter Four: Information Technology Markets

  • Exhibit 4-1: Selected Drug Discovery Software Suppliers and Products
  • Exhibit 4-2: Informatics Market Size by Product Area 2003 (Product areas: In-silico modeling, Other bioinformatics, Cheminformatics, and Systems integration)
  • Exhibit 4-3: Informatics Market Growth and Estimated Size in 2007 by Product Area (Product areas: In-silico modeling, Other bioinformatics, Cheminformatics, and Systems integration)
  • Exhibit 4-4: Infomatics Market Shares by Leading Supplier 2003

Chapter Five: Assay Markets

  • Exhibit 5-1: Advantages and Diasadvantages by Assay Type
  • Exhibit 5-2: Selected Assay Suppliers and Products
  • Exhibit 5-3: Assay Market Size by Product Area 2003 (Product areas: Biochemical and Cell-based & HCS)
  • Exhibit 5-4: Assay Market Growth and Estimated Size in 2007 by Product Area (Product areas: Biochemical and Cell-based & HCS)
  • Exhibit 5-5: Assay Market Shares by Leading Supplier 2003

Chapter Six: Instrument System Markets

  • Exhibit 6-1: HTS Instrument Market Size by Product Area 2003 (Product areas: Systems, Liquid Handling , Readers, Microplates, and Chips & Arrays)
  • Exhibit 6-2: HTS Instrument Market Growth and Estimated Size in 2007 by Product Area (Product areas: Systems, Liquid Handling , Readers, Microplates, and Chips & Arrays)
  • Exhibit 6-3: Assay Market Shares by Leading Supplier 2003

Chapter Seven: Supplier Profiles

  • Exhibit 7-1: Summary of Companies Profiled (Location, Affiliation, Revenues, and Drug Discovery Segment)

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