Is the global NGS market worth billions?

13 August 2013

Two commercial reports on the global next generation sequencing (NGS) market released last month provide very different estimates of the total market value.

Next Generation Sequencing: Emerging Clinical Applications and Global Markets estimates the 2012 market value as $231.7 million for 2012 and projects that it will reach $7.6 billion by 2018. Conversely, Next Generation Sequencing (NGS) Market – Global Forecast to 2017 gives a figure of $1.3 billion for 2012 and a forecast of $2.7 billion by 2017.
 
This discrepancy may be in part due to the specific focus on clinical applications of the first report, acknowledged to be an increasingly important applied market as clinical adoption of NGS technologies for more personalised medicine increases and current governmental and academic funding for genomics research falls. Cancer, rare diseases and prenatal screening are highlighted as key growth areas for commercial applications, but not infectious diseases, a priority area for the UK 100,000 Genomes Project.
 
In more general terms, the NGS market is described as having three main segments: pre-sequencing, platforms and services, and data analysis, storage and management. The bioinformatics requirements range from bespoke commercial software through to training to use open source (free) software, and are said to represent expanding commercial opportunities.
 
Certainly, whatever the actual market values may be, they are considerable and set to increase sharply in the next few years as NGS becomes increasingly common in clinical practice. Policy-makers must plan carefully to ensure that money is spent wisely to improve disease prevention and care, using cost-effective commercial services and products but resisting commercially driven demands for less useful applications.

Both reports cost more than £3000 for single-user access. In contrast, PHG Foundation reports such as Next steps in the sequence: the implications of whole genome sequencing for health in the UK are free.

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