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With Bioinformatics out of Favor, Report Touts In Silico Simulation as Next Big Thing

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The latest study from Frost & Sullivan, “US In Silico Simulation of Biological Systems Markets,” predicts the market for simulation technologies in life science research to grow from $85 million in 2001 to over $6 billion by 2008.

Brad Peters, an analyst at Frost & Sullivan who authored the report, said the study defines the in silico simulations market as distinct from the bioinformatics market. “Simulation is really the next big thing for in silico solutions ... and offers a means of integration of bioinformatics, genomic, and proteomic insight,” he said.

In November, Frost & Sullivan estimated the 2007 bioinformatics market would reach $6.9 billion. Peters noted that current economic conditions and new research led him to believe the bioinformatics market “might fall a little short” of that prediction.

Although bioinformatics has provided “a great deal of insight into potential therapeutic targets and biomarkers,” Peters noted that “as a whole, “ it “has virtually no downstream impact.”

The study breaks the simulation market into four segments: systems for simulating biological pathways, cells, tissues, and disease. Frost & Sullivan identified a total of 15 companies that currently operate in one or more of these categories.

Firms specializing in simulation have a key advantage over bioinformatics firms, according to the report, because the technology is too complex for end-users to develop in-house, forcing them to opt for “buy” rather than “build.” Risks for the sector include competition from “major software database companies [that] have the intellectual and financial resources to enter and dominate this industry,” as well as from bioinformatics companies who move downstream into simulation.

— BT

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