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It’s Not About Plastics Anymore


We’ve got one word for you: biochips. According to a new Frost & Sullivan report, the global market for microarrays, microfluidic devices, and other biochips will see annual growth of 65 percent and reach $3.3 billion by 2004.

More than 100 companies have already seen the microarray light, the report says. F&S predicts that segment’s revenues will hit $2.6 billion in 2004, up from estimates of $874 million this year and $232 million in 1999. The report suggests that the microarray market will be marked by ongoing patent disputes, consolidation, a trend toward higher density arrays, and more labs investing in homemade microarrays.

The microfluidics segment, which is said to be just starting, will grow to $395 million by 2004 from $17 million in 1999 and $77 million this year, according to the report. It goes on to note the spurt of alliances emerging between companies in this sector and liquid handling companies.

Other types of chips will grow too, the report says, with estimates at $311 million by 2004, up from $81 million this year. Notable growth is forecast for biochips using bioelectric detection.

Long term, F&S predicts that the sector could eventually see even more growth. “If diagnostic tests (human or otherwise) using biochips become widespread, the market for such products could reach the tens of billions by 2010,” according to the report.

— Marian Moser Jones

The Scan

Pig Organ Transplants Considered

The Wall Street Journal reports that the US Food and Drug Administration may soon allow clinical trials that involve transplanting pig organs into humans.

'Poo-Bank' Proposal

Harvard Medical School researchers suggest people should bank stool samples when they are young to transplant when they later develop age-related diseases.

Spurred to Develop Again

New Scientist reports that researchers may have uncovered why about 60 percent of in vitro fertilization embryos stop developing.

Science Papers Examine Breast Milk Cell Populations, Cerebral Cortex Cellular Diversity, Micronesia Population History

In Science this week: unique cell populations found within breast milk, 100 transcriptionally distinct cell populations uncovered in the cerebral cortex, and more.