Western European in vitro diagnostics market to reach $13B in 2014
The emergence of new technologies is boosting the Western European in vitro diagnostics (IVD) market, despite rising research and development costs, poor reimbursement and a decline in prices, according to a report published by market research firm Frost & Sullivan.

While the introduction of automation and integrated platforms has spurred mature segments such as clinical chemistry and immunoassay, new segments such as molecular diagnostics and point-of-care testing are driving the overall market growth.

The report revealed that the IVD market earned revenues of more than $8.54 billion in 2007 and estimates this to reach $12.65 billion in 2014.

“The aging population has led to an increase in the incidence of diseases such as respiratory and urinary tract infections,” said Frost & Sullivan Research Analyst Gayathry Ramachandran. “Together with the addition of new countries to the European Union and the implementation of diagnosis related groups, this has increased the size of the Western European IVD market.”

IVD manufacturers are being forced to invest in R&D because of these demographic changes and an increased incidence of diseases, which is important due to the hike in demand for automated laboratory analyzers, as laboratories are under pressure to generate timely results with fewer errors, he noted. The faster turn-around time delivered by automation has enabled the start of immediate treatment of many conditions, thereby fuelling market growth.

“Moreover, the decrease in the labor pool and rising performance costs are pushing laboratories toward automated solutions,” Ramachandran said. “To remain competitive, manufacturers should continue to develop integrated platforms that can accommodate multiple reagents and detection technologies.”

IVD manufacturers need to have greater clarity over market requirements to ensure better returns on investment and should focus on obtaining a broad product portfolio, offering competitive prices and introducing new technologies to gain market share.

The launch of new markers and high sensitivity and specificity tests will also increase the uptake of IVDs. Another driver for the market will be personalized healthcare, in which patients play a major role in the diagnostic process, according to the report.

“Despite market growth, increasing industry consolidation is making the market more competitive, escalating the difficulty for small participants to maintain their market shares,” noted Ramachandran. “Therefore, strategic partnerships appear vital for these participants to remain active in this market.”

The report also noted that market participants should focus on growth sectors such as molecular assays, immunoassays, cardiac tests and blood glucose measurements to succeed. Germany, Italy, Spain, France and the United Kingdom accounted for more than 80 percent of sales in the IVD market in 2006.